Sunday Scaries: Pre-season preview, Mike Babcock, and the signficance of the captains’ skates

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Kylie Salai
7 months ago
I really wanted to kick off this Sunday (get it? Because of football) with a pre-season lineup preview kind of thing, but I have no idea what those are going to look like to be quite honest with you.
I could see the McDavid – Brown – Kane line playing together for a few pre-season games to get some reps in and build/test the chemistry. With Brown being new to the team and likely playing on McDavid or Draisaitl’s line, it would make sense to me. That said, I could definitely understand waiting a few games because there are so many pre-season games to get through before the big guys get in.
It’s just hard to tell what the lineups are going to look like because we don’t know how many of our core guys will be playing in these games, but I do have a few things to watch over the course of the pre-season.
  1. Skinner vs. Campbell pre-season battle for the starters net. Obviously, Stuart Skinner is coming off of a (f*king) phenomenal season that was punctuated with a Calder Trophy nomination, but Campbell is going to want to be the starter too. Basically, there’s going to be a battle, and between the two of them and the rest of the depth chart, their pre-season action is going to be limited. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Rodrigue play two, and then Campbell and Skinner play parts of three games each just to see how they’re doing and get a better of idea who we’re going to be leaning toward on opening night.
  2. Rookies to watch. Let’s kick this off with Dylan Holloway. He had a strong camp and pre-season last year, but it didn’t translate very well in the regular season. I think that he’s going to come out strong again this year, not only to try to make the opening night roster but to also be better and more ready for the regular season this year. Next is Raphael Lavoie. A big and strong, physical forward who has been deemed Edmonton’s #1 Prospect by our own Bruce Curlock. Lavoie, I’m sure is looking to make his NHL debut on October 11th on opening night as well.
  3. Connor Brown. I already discussed this but I think him getting reps in with McDavid and the guys he’s likely going to be playing with night in and night out is going to be very important for all the players involved. It seems like he’s going to be playing a pretty big part of our team, so giving him a chance to dip his toes in and evaluate that before jumping into the deep end is going to be huge for him.
The Mike Babcock drama has settled down, but some people are suggesting that we’re all being too dramatic about the situation, and I could not disagree more. Imagine walking into your job to work, and your boss tells you to give them your phone and let them see all your photos… you’d probably feel violated and say no, right?
Well, what if you felt that if you didn’t, you’d lose your job or not get a desired position? You might do it then just to be safe.
Basically what I’m getting at is that Mike Babcock abused his (newly returned) power, and was going through players’ phones to ‘see what kind of people they are’. Paul Bissonnette was the first to report this, and it was quickly denied by both CBJ captain Boone Jenner and Babcock himself. Marty Walsh of the NHLPA said, “Our players deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace, and that was not the case in Columbus.” He also agreed that hiring a new head coach is the best solution.
This was Babcock’s first NHL position since being fired from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and based on how well it went, his time in the NHL seems to be pretty over.
Finally, going into the preseason we’re going to see the effect of Connor’s captains’ skates.
Obviously getting out and on the ice early will be good for the players’ games, but McDavid taking the initiative to get them out there early shows how badly he wants to win, and what he’s willing to do to make it happen, not just himself but as the captain of this team.
I know it’s just the pre-season, and after today there are still seven more games until the season starts on October 11th, but this off-season has felt like the longest in history, and I’m so excited for it to be over.
So happy Sunday, and welcome to the pre-season, and go Oilers go!!!

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