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What About. . ?

So, the long weekend is over and the kids went back to school today after summer holidays, which means training camp is fast-approaching for the Edmonton Oilers. Not a moment too soon, if you ask me. Several Oilers, including Connor McDavid, are already back in town and took an informal twirl on the ice today.

Before we resume debate about special teams, who fits where and with whom and whether the Oilers will throw youngsters like Evan Bouchard and Kailer Yamamoto into the mix when camp breaks for the 2018-19 season, I’ve got three questions on my mind today – all of them fall into the “what about?” category. Here goes.

WHAT ABOUT DARNELL?

Mar 13, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic (24) fights with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody knows Darnell Nurse, who was on the ice today, needs a new contract. While some people are more than a little on edge that the ink hasn’t been taken care of by now, indications from people closer to the team than I am – Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, to name two – are that agent Anton Thun and the Oilers are working away at a new deal. It looks like, and this isn’t news, it’ll be a bridge deal, likely two years.

“My understanding is there are still consistent talks happening between the two sides,” Rishaug told Dustin Nielson this morning. “They’re still working on things. I don’t think there’s a large level of concern on either side. We heard Nurse talk to the media, I think it was last week, he seemed pretty calm about things.

“My belief is the Oilers are confident as well. I think this is a virtual lock this is going to be a bridge deal. I don’t think there’s going to be a long-term deal on the table. There just isn’t the (cap) space, realistically, to try and fit him in. It’s notable right now, and it’s definitely a little eye-brow raising and we watch closely because you’re getting into that week or two before camp starts, but there are others around the league, right?”

While I’d rather have seen GM Pete Chiarelli not fritter away money on overpays here and there that have put the Oilers in a cap pinch, I’ve got no problem with a bridge deal, a longer look, before the Oilers commit to a long term and big money for Nurse. A deal will get done with time to spare before camp opens. I’m thinking we’ll see an AAV of $3.25 to $3.5 million.

WHAT ABOUT MILAN?

Mar 31, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic (27) and Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith (41) fight during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Milan Lucic needs a big bounce back season after struggling mightily in the second half of last season. There’s been plenty of debate whether we’ll see that or if the wheels have fallen off with lots of term and money left on his deal. What I want to know is what, if anything, has changed this off-season regarding a situation between Lucic and the Oilers that Frank Seravalli of TSN described in July as “almost untenable?”

The part of an Seravalli’s interview, done with TSN 1260’s Allen Mitchell, that grabbed me: “I mean, you talk about Erik Karlsson and what a mess that has been in Ottawa, and you talk about Jeff Skinner and the fact that he hasn’t been traded from Carolina, and Justin Faulk and some other guys where you feel like the can has been kicked so far down the road. I don’t think Milan Lucic is really in all that different of a category when you consider what he’s gone through and really the position the Oilers are in. It’s almost untenable.” There’s more here.

Was that, in fact, the case in July? Is it the case now with camp approaching? Lucic was on the ice today. Did Seravalli overstate? I haven’t read or heard anything more about this. We’ve gone from “almost untenable” to, well, no news. Odd.

WHAT ABOUT AL HAMILTON?

The Oilers unveiled new jerseys and a shoulder patch celebrating the team’s 40th NHL anniversary today. Sharp looking outfits, too. The patch includes likenesses of five Stanley Cups and the retired numbers of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson. The seventh retired number, the No. 3 of Al Hamilton, isn’t included.

I couldn’t reach anybody with the Oilers media relations staff this morning to get an explanation, but I can only guess the decision was made to include the numbers of the six Oilers in the HHOF rather than the retired numbers in the rafters. The way I see it, that’s a bit of a snub to a former captain (WHA) and a man who has been a first-class citizen in this city for decades.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

        • Sean17

          I just get tired of everyone on the internet being offended so quickly. Seems like it is all about who is more offended and can be the first to post that they are offended. You can have your original reaction but, maybe save it until you hear from the actual parties involved. I am sure Mr. Hamilton is not at home making a list of those who have done him wrong. However, Garth Brooks may be….

          • Hemmercules

            My sentiments exactly. Something can’t be enjoyed, appreciated, celebrated or remembered anymore without offending one group or another.

            Cant say I’m surprised in this instance though. The Oilers Org gets crapped on whenever they do anything and this is no different. Should they have included him?? Maybe. Although he has his name in the rafters I remember/know next to nothing about him with regards to the NHL team. The other 6 numbers on there won multiple cups together en route to being the one of greatest teams assembled in NHL history.

  • Frustrated Fan in Calgary

    The organization just seems committed to “missing the boat”. Trades, UFA signings, and now a 40th Anniversary jersey patch. Geez, get it together Oilers. This was such an easy one to get right, but they bungled it up. One additional number? Kind of reminds me of the story about Pocklington having different quality of Stanley Cup rings for different team members. Dumb.

      • Bills Bills

        Robin, I am not sure what the big deal is. They included the HHOF members that were part of the NHL Oilers. Hamilton was not and it probably doesn’t bother him in the least. Let’s be honest, who that writes on this site aside from you, ever saw AH play? He was inconsequential to the Oilers of the NHL. Seriously, he should be happy that his name is in the rafters. But paying tribute to him as an Edmonton Oilers icon until the end of time is a bit much. Personally I hope I see a day when they are paying tribute to future members, not the 80s glory days. I saw it, 30+ years ago. It is over, move on.

  • TKB2677

    I am turning 41 this month so I do not remember Al Hamilton. All I know about him was he was a very good player in the WHA. If the Oilers have a patch celebrating 40 yrs in the NHL and Hamilton wasn’t really apart of that NHL team, why are you putting his number on the patch? I am not trying to be disrespectful of him or what he accomplished for the overall Oilers organization or him as a person. The Edmonton Oilers came into existence in the 72-73 season in the WHA. They didn’t become an NHL team until the 78-79 season. Al Hamilton retired due to injury in their first NHL season. He had his number retired for what he did for the entire Edmonton Oilers organization and more specifically for what he did in the in the WHA. If this was a patch was for the Oilers entire existence, the he should be there but because it’s just for the NHL, I don’t think it’s a snub. He wasn’t there in the NHL. If you are going to make the case of Hamilton being on the patch for what he did in the WHA, then you should also make the case for Kevin Lowe’s number on that patch. He was the Oilers first ever draft pick in the NHL I believe, he scored their first ever NHL goal and had WAY MORE of an impact in the NHL which the patch is celebrating than Hamilton who didn’t ever really play in the NHL.

    • Reg Dunlop

      The Oil were still in the WHA in ’78-’79. Otherwise I completely agree. In fact, Hammy gets his due and proper respect in Edmonton because of his great Jr. career with the Oil Kings MORESO than his good WHA resume on a mostly blech team. Geezers like me will always remember him being the 1st real NHL player signed by the Oil (Jim Harrison doesn’t count, he only played for the Leafs).

  • Redbird62

    I note that this is about the 40th anniversary of the Oilers as an NHL team so it is basically ignoring their time in the WHA in general. While Hamilton’s number is retired, it is due to his WHA time with the team. He only played 31 games for the team that first season in the NHL. I can’t remember when the team moved to Rogers place and they brought back all the old Oilers, were there any WHA stars that were introduced?

  • Cowboy Bill

    It’s obvious that they want to show off the Oilers six player that were inducted into the Hall of Fame on the 40 year crest .
    Al Hamilton isn’t in the Hall….. Robin . What’s the fuss ?

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Lucic answered a lot of questions when he appeared on Spitting Chicklets. Hope he has a bounce back season but I certainly didn’t hear the words or tone of a guy who’s situation with the Oilers is “untenable “.

  • Gordoil

    Personally I think Seravalli was off side with his comments
    Like the Patch, Don’t care if Hamilton is on it or not (it’s an NHL patch)
    And Nurse will get done – not concerned

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Agreed about Seravelli. I’ve said it before I find eastern media to be so biased against the Oilers and western teams. I seriously have zero time for these analysts when they are announced on 1260. I am up for reading criticism but it better be fair and interesting. Not just rehashing the same talking points over and over again.

        • Bills Bills

          Doesn’t mean he’s wasn’t talking out his butt. Last year he was beating the same drum as half the other media and jumped on that bandwagon. When the Lucic situation arose, he jumped on that wagon too, he just showed a little too much of his ignorance and made a dumb statement. It only shows that he is riding coat tails and has nothing truly genuine to offer. 99% of the ON bloggers are in the exact same situation, big deal.

  • OilCan2

    The NHL is very ego centric. They plundered the WHA rosters. The Oilers kept Mio and some kid named Gretzky. Thats a far cry from the bloated roster of Vegas breaking into the league last year. I guess the multi hundred million buys something in the NHL. Not my money. I hope Looch shows up with something to prove & a chip on his shoulder. Nurse and Talbot should play well on a short leash. Let’s hope so.

  • Total Points

    I am so tired of the Oiler’s old boys club. Instead of looking in the past for a third jersey they should look to the future. That is why a car windshield is much larger than the rear view mirror.