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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woo! Opening Night!

A very BIG shoutout to all my fellow Oilers fans out there reading this right now!

Well... This is it... OPENING NIGHT is HERE! I'm so excited, I've got my beers chilling in my fridge and my snacks at the ready!

I guarantee this will be a better season than the last. I don't think my boys in blue & Orange can't sink as low as 2009-10 ever again, but I'm a realist... I'm not expecting us to take the Western Conference or Northwest Division by storm... Let's remember... This is what Lowe, Tambo and Katz would call "Rebuild: Year One", so let us treat it as such - Taylor Hall isn't going to score 106 points in the NHL like he could in the OHL.

Now that training camp has come and gone, I'm going to mention some names I've been happy and unhappy with:


Magnus Paajarvi
Jordan Eberle
Richard Petiot
Shawn Horcoff
Kurtis Foster
Jeff Deslauriers
Devan Dubnyk
Ales Hemsky
Sam Gagner


Linus Omark
Nikolai Khabibulin
Steve MacIntyre
Theo Peckham
Taylor Hall

The guys in the "happy" list are guys I've expected to perform as well, or better than my personal expectations.

I'm very pleased that Hemsky, Horcoff and Gagner have had a good training camp. Gagner's been banging on about this weight he's lost, but it doesn't show, to be honest. However, his workrate's been impressive, as is the case with Ales Hemsky, who's finding his way back to form after a long lay-off. Horcoff has been the more exceptional in carrying the load for this team, and after what I've seen from this preseason, he's thoroughly deserving of that "C" that he'll now wear on his jersey.

Magnus Paajarvi... WOW, what a guy! I think some might have expected his preseason performance, and there are those who might have underestimated him, somewhat, and turned their attentions towards buddies Eberle and Hall.

Kurtis Foster has that wicked shot and has used it very well thus far, I can't wait to see and learn more about this guy as the season develops...

Richard Petiot... Well, what can I say about him? He went out there and fought tooth and nail for that much coveted 6/7th D-Man spot and lost out, to a younger Theo Peckham, who, in my mind, did nothing to solidify his claim for the position. The best man wasn't the better man and I'm sorry Petiot will ply his trade in the AHL, but I'm sure the Barons will use him very wisely, even if the Oilers didn't take the chance on him.

The goaltending situation is unclear, as there's a 3 ring circus, with Dubey, JD, and Khabibulin still on the books... My opinion? We have to send one down to the minors or trade them away... And my choice is...

Devan Dubnyk

I'm a Jeff Deslauriers fan, and I like what he's capable of. I admire Devan Dubnyk too, but Martin Gerber needs a decent backup in Oklahoma City, as Bryan Pitton certainly doesn't cut it, and I think Dubey would benefit more from another season in the AHL than Deslauriers would. I don't think Dubnyk would be picked up on waivers, if he were assigned - the one-way contract might frighten teams away, especially so in Deslauriers' case, as he's making more money. Both goaltenders have been decent this preseason too, and it's still very hard for management to seperate them.

My "unhappy" list are guys I've been thoroughly unimpressed with throughout preseason.

I'm going to start with Linus "No Comment" Omark... OK, here goes... I don't care if he's got all this hype behind him, I don't care if he's a "Swedish YouTube sensation", I don't care if we try and blame his linemates for his poor performances, I don't care if he thinks he deserves he deserves to play in the NHL. The guy came across in the media after being cut in a VERY bad way... Bottom line is this: He got cut because management thinks he needs work, and in this case, they were right. Omark's played SEL and KHL in his career, and this isn't the SEL or KHL... This is the National Hockey League... This is the NHL! His game needs refinement. He might be able to deke the hell out of a puck, but it doesn't mean anything unless he really pushes the envelope - regardless of who your linemates are. There's only two ways Omark will play for the Oilers this season, and they are by praying Cogliano is injured or traded away. Have fun in the AHL, Linus! Hope it kicks your shitty attitude into touch.

Nikolai "it is what it is" Khabibulin looks very rusty and it's showed in the second Vancouver and in the first Calgary games. I think our coaching staff have been too easy on him. I'm hoping he gets himself back into form rather quickly. If you ask me, out of all the goalie training camp trainees, he was the second-worst goalie on the books - because no-one's a worse netminder than Bryan "Red Light" Pitton (sorry Pitton fans). Again, a severe injustice was dealt to Martin Gerber, who only allowed 1 goal in all the games he was a part of. If I could, I'd have sent Khabibulin to OKC for conditioning and having Gerber as our starter until Re-Khab found some form.

Big Mac... I love this guy, but he's a fighter and how many fights has he had? Apart from the awesome Ivanans fight, that's it... I hear Renney wants to help develop Mac to be an overall better player. Until that happens, I expect to see him fight in every game he plays.

Theo Peckham has been thoroughly average and did nothing in his cause to win the last spot for D. I must remember to try to get an invite to training camp and do absolutely nothing, so I win a job. Richard Petiot was screwed, and we all know why... Because he's 28, and Peckham is 22.

Taylor Hall... Well, I suppose there's a lot of pressure on Hall to "save us" as it were... But let's not expect miracles. However, I did expect a little more from a #1 overall pick this preseason. I suppose we can re-evaluate him after 9 games. But sending him back to junior is a waste of his and our time.

I forgot to mention somebody, I'm sure... Oh yes... Sheldon Souray:

HIP-HIP, SOURAY! He's gone (for now)!

Now, that's out of the way, I'm looking at evaluating tonight's Battle of Alberta, when the Flames visit Rexall tonight...

After two preseason losses, (one at home, one on the road) I'm expecting that we've learned something from them by now. Our last win against CGY was September 15, 2009, after all...

My prediction for tonight's game:


Hall - Horcoff (C) - Eberle
Penner - Gagner - Hemsky (A)
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Brule
Jones - Fraser - Stortini

Whitney (A) - Gilbert
Smid - Strudwick
Vandermeer - Foster



Edmonton win 4-3 in overtime. Don't ask me why, but "I got a feeling... (that tonight's gonna be a good night)"

Thanks for reading, guys!


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