Up and at ’em, Nation! The Oilers’ last pre-season game of the season is coming up in a couple of hours against the Cologne Sharks and your old pal Baggedmilk woke up extra early just to give you guys a place to waste some company time and talk puck. That’s love, people!
Before we get started, I’m going to go ahead and welcome all of you to what is likely the earliest GDB ever posted in the history of this website. Sure, the Oilers have had some morning games in the past but we’ve never had anything quite like this, and I’m legitimately excited to be able to watch the boys before even having my second coffee. It’s kinda like getting up for the World Juniors or something and I’m super into it. We watched the Devils play their game against SC Bern the other day at the office and it was fun to see how fired up the Swiss crowd was to have NHLers facing off against their hometown boys. Based on what Ryan Jones said in his interview with Oilers TV yesterday, Cologne Sharks fans are supposed to be pretty rowdy so I’m looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere is like.
Crowd aside, I’m also looking forward to seeing how the Oilers are going to perform on the big ice. In theory, you’d think that Connor would be able to pick up the puck at his own goal line, smash the turbo button, and use the extra space to absolutely fly past anyone wearing a Cologne Sharks jersey, but I know it’s not that simple. Playing on international ice will be a new flavour of hockey for most of the Oilers and the reality is that this game is probably going to be a lot closer than some Oilers fans expect. With 17 German players on the roster, it seems fair to expect that Cologne is going to move the puck up and down the ice with all of the precision and efficiency that we’ve come to expect from German engineering.
The truth is that I really don’t know what to expect from today’s matchup. The Devils only won their big-ice game in overtime, and that makes me think that underestimating this team will result in in bad news for our boys in orange. As much as this is supposed to be a fun game between the Oilers and Sharks, I still want our boys to win and anything less than that would honestly be disappointing. I know Dusty talked about the Oilers walking right through the Sharks in the last episode of Inside the Nation, but I’d bet Gregor’s money that this game is going to be a tight one. I mean, I hope the Oilers stomp these pesky Sharks but I’m not about to count my chickens, as they say.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE COLOGNE SHARKS
Since I’m guessing most of us have never watched a single minute of Cologne Sharks hockey before, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a few fun facts about the players and team to get us all up to speed.
- Did you know, the Sharks were originally formed in the summer of 1972 and were called Kölner EC before another team with a similar named forced them to add the ‘Sharks’? That was a few leagues ago, mind you. There have been relegations, new leagues formed, and a whole lot of history since then.
- Think the Oilers are the only ones with celebrated teams from the 80s? Think again, friend. The Cologne Sharks won four championships between 1983 and 1988, but I can’t confirm how often they raise banners in their honour. In total, the Sharks have won it all eight separate times.
- Leon’s dad, Peter Draisaitl, replaced former Ottawa Senators head coach, Cory Clouston, to become the Sharks main man behind the bench before the 2017-18 season. Remember Cory Clouston? That was a thing once.
- Need a reason to pull out your Ryan Jones, Corey Potter, or Steve Pinizzotto jersey? Today could be your day, friend, because all three of those guys are on the roster!
- Jeremy Roenick, Ray Whitney, and Uwe Krupp are also among the list of former NHLers to play for the franchise.
- To bring things back to our beloved Oilers, Leon Draisaitl has been close friends with Sharks’ backup goalie Hannibal Weitzman since they were kids.
- Lanxess Arena, home of the Sharks, sounds pretty awesome! Rather than having people show up at the last minute, the Henkelmännchen restaurants (I’m not sure what that is) open two hours before the game starts and stays open for another two hours after it ends.
- Thanks to our friends at Elite Prospects, I now know that the Cologne Sharks have an average age of 27 years, a height of 6’1′, and weight of 196 pounds.
- Hey Nation…do you know a goalie? Let’s help out a minor hockey team who desperately needs a goalie. The Edmonton Girls Hockey Association PeeWee Team EG704-Wolves is currently looking for a full-time GOALTENDER to join them. They have a great team of girls, coaches and parents but we are missing a key element to having a fun, successful season. They welcome anyone interested to consider coming out for a great season of hockey! As a bonus the EGHA is also currently offering free Goaltender Development, once a month, for the 2018/19 season for interested goalies. If you are interested please contact their head coach Kim Brix at [email protected].
I was texting Gregor last night to see if he had any info on the lines and he confirmed everything above to be true but did say that the fourth line could change. According to the man, he said that fourth line going to be a game-time decision. As expected, Larsson won’t be playing as a precaution for his back, and neither will Kris Russell as he was put on the IR yesterday.
I’m going to be honest with you guys. These lines are a complete fabrication based on the player names that the Oilers posted in their game day article. I know who plays forward, defence, and goal but I have no idea where any of them slot in. And frankly, there were also more names listed on the Oilers’ site than there are lineup spots so I basically put this together using my favourite names out of the bunch. I looked on the Cologne Sharks website and the translation from German to English wasn’t very helpful so I decided to give it the ol’ college try. Jonesy on the first line? Why not.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite an inspired effort and two goals from Ryan Jones, the Oilers leave Germany with a 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Even with the exchange rate, beers are cheaper at Lanxess Arena than they are at Rogers Place.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Overcome by the competitive spirit, Leon Draisaitl’s dad, Peter, taunts him from the Sharks’ bench with vivid descriptions of the night he was conceived. Leon manages to ignore the chirps and puts home a goal in from of his hometown crowd.