Random Thoughts: Season Opener Edition

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
I know it’s only been one game, but I have so much to say about Wednesday night’s opener that I figured I would put together a Friday edition of Random Thoughts to empty my brain out ahead of tomorrow’s Battle of Alberta.


The first thing I want to start with is the video tribute that the Oilers put together for Ben Stelter and the ‘Ben, Ben, Ben’ chant that followed.  Even though I absolutely knew that the Oilers were going to do something to honour Ben, I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like and I thought it was absolutely wonderful that they gave him a moment before the game had even started. It was a fitting tribute for a young man that captured this city’s imagination and warmed the hearts of anyone that heard him share his love for the Oilers. That’s why I want to thank the Oilers for what they put together last night, and I very much hope that the Stelter family is still feeling the love from everyone in this city and beyond. Rest easy, Ben. We miss you.


At this point, I have no idea how many times I’ve had my mind blown by Connor Andrew McDavid, but it’s a number that is steadily climbing with each passing shift. I mean, what else can you say about a guy that not only registered his 700th point in only 488 NHL games but got the job done with a come-from-behind hat trick in the opener? It was another one of those nights where the team wasn’t playing all that well and needed him to make something happen, and as he’s done so many times before, he threw the team on his back (and Leon’s) and got to work at erasing the hole they were in. Wednesday’s game was yet another instance of Connor McDavid making the NHL look like he was out taking a twirl at his younger brother’s hockey practice, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.


I love Jack Campbell already and I’m not afraid to say it. Even though the first few minutes of the season opener did not go the way Jack Campbell would have wanted, the thing that impressed me most was how he settled everything down when we needed him the most. Yeah, the two goals on four shots sucked but he didn’t get rattled, and I loved to see that sticky spot response from our new goaltender. It was like he decided that the three goals that went in after a period and change was enough, and he slammed the door shut tight enough to give his team a chance to battle back. There were breakaways, odd-man rushes, breakdowns down low, and everything you could expect to happen against an Oilers team that simply wasn’t ready to play. And if timely saves and a calm demeanour wasn’t enough to get you on his side early, Campbell threw one of the most devastating hits of the night when Dokota Joshua got caught in the trolly tracks. As far as first impressions go, I’m pretty happy on this side of the TV screen.


Not quite the season opener that Dylan Holloway probably had in mind, amirite? After giving up a ‘Welcome to the NHL’ giveaway to Elias Pettersson that opened the scoring, Holloway didn’t see the ice a whole lot and definitely not with the linemates we expected him to be playing with. From my perspective, the kid seemed nervous and that’s completely understandable given that he is looking to kick off what we all hope will be a long and successful career with the Oilers. And when you’re lined up next to Leon Draisaitl with 18,000 people expecting you to produce like you did in the pre-season then I can absolutely understand how there’d be a tonne of pressure there. Obviously, I have no idea what was running through Holloway’s mind on night one or why Woodcroft decided to play him only eight minutes, but the point I’m trying to get at here is that he’s going to be fine and I don’t think we should put too much stock into what happened against Vancouver. Our boy is a stud but sometimes it takes a few swings at the ball before you make contact, if you know what I mean. Thank you.


On this week’s podcast, I ran through my excitement for a new Oilers season, told a story about “meeting” Jack Campbell, my love of blink-182, and a whole lot more. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from! 


For the first time in three seasons, we’re throwing a Season Launch Party at SOHO and you’re all invited to join us! What’s going on? I’m glad you asked.
  • Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
  • When: 5:00pm
  • Location: SOHO YEG (11454 Jasper Ave)
  • What’s Included: Entry to the event, Swag Bag (complete with w-shirt, stickers, GCs), entry to the giveaways, after party with RIFF/RAFF
As always, we will also be including a charity component with the event where a portion of all ticket sales will be donated directly to Sport Central to help with their mission of providing equipment and bicycles to children in need.

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