This is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. If you’re an Edmontonian and you’ve never been, get in your vehicle and drive around our city: It’s very much the same. Saskatoon is by far Saskatchewan’s prettiest city, owing to actual water running through it (Regina Regina Regina: What WHERE you thinking?).
Like Edmonton, Saskatoon has a wonderful history and love affair with hockey.
Gordie Howe was born in Floral, Saskatchewan and that’s a stone’s throw from Saskatoon (actually I think it IS Saskatoon today). Harry Watson was from there, Bobby Schmautz too, Brent Ashton, Keith Magnuson and many others over the years. Hockey-reference tells us that 80 NHL players (including Howe) were born in Saskatoon—impressive total, and compares to Edmonton’s number (more than 175) if you consider population differences between the two cities over the years.
- Perron— Draisaitl—Yakupov
- C Hamilton—Williams—Joensuu
- Bachman (Brossoit)
The key item today is that top line, we might see it opening night. Dallas Eakins has Yakupov on his natural side and Perron serves as mentor. In this scenario, it is likely we’d see Pouliot and Purcell on a 3line opening night with Arcobello the probable center. Happy with that? I like Yakupov on the right side with skill, and that would in fact be the ‘soft minutes’ line for the Oilers in 2014-15. We’ll see, but it’s an exciting line.
Iiro Pakarinen is not famous with Oilers’ fans, but it may only be a matter of time before we adore him. He’s a Finn (Finland has been delivering their wonderful hockey players to us for over 30 years now) and we have seen him (although we may not remember the moment fondly):
Pakarinen gets a real shot today and I think he has a chance to make this team. He appears to have agitating qualities (Finns who play hockey apparently have a special ability to piss off people, God love ’em) and a terrific shot. He’s definitely a player to watch today.
Others I’ll be watching: Kale Kessy, who we talked about last night, and Dillon Simpson, getting another opportunity to impress.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers win this one walking away in jean shorts. Although the ‘Hawks lineup isn’t known yet, I’m comfortable they’ll have a large group of suspects as teams do each year at this game.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Among the gifs I run, this photo is the second most popular (behind The Hurdler). Many ask ‘who is that’? and the anser is Gemma Arterton.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Iiro Pakarinen has a big game and moves himself up the depth chart in the race for a roster spot.