Sunday, November 19, 2017

Take A Look In The Mirror Pete


With roughly 25% of their 2017-18 season now in the books, it is clear there is something wrong with the Edmonton Oilers and contrary to popular opinion, it is not all on the players. No question the collective could be performing better but there does appear to be a taboo topic of sorts in my neck of the woods. Like it or not but the time has come for Peter Chiarelli to take some heat for where his club currently sits. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Importance Of November


Over the course of an 82-game schedule, it is not uncommon for both experts and fans alike to go on at great length about a stretch of games being the “make or break” point of a struggling team’s campaign. Though most tend to be accurate to an extent, it is not impossible for a red-hot team to erase a slow start but it is no easy task. This is what makes the next two weeks on the Edmonton Oilers schedule so critical. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cammalleri Trade Should Help

With his team still struggling to score goals, Peter Chiarelli needed to do something to try to spark his club. Instead of trying to make a big splash via the trade market, the Edmonton Oilers general manager decided to go down the path that has served him well since arriving in the Alberta capital. In sending Jussi Jokinen to the Los Angeles Kings for Mike Cammalleri, the potential for that trend to continue is a real possibility.

Clare Drake...Hockey Hall Of Famer


When it comes to individual honours, being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame is about as good as it gets. Funny thing is, when it comes to Clare Drake, the word individual is one that does not immediately come to mind when describing the Yorkton native. Whereas words like pioneer, builder, teacher, and coach tell us everything we need to know about the 2017 inductee. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Cam Talbot Splits


Over the course of an 82-game NHL season, the numbers an individual player or team produce tends to work itself out. However, on occasion, there will be those anomalies that don’t seem to add up. Though it is still earlier in the year, Edmonton Oilers netminder Cam Talbot is building a stat line that could lead to his 2017-18 campaign finishing up with numbers that could leave many scratching their heads. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Hall Deal Remains A Headscratcher


It has been almost a year and a half since the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey pulled the trigger on the blockbuster deal that saw Taylor Hall and Adam Larsson swap organizations. At the time, the move seemed a rather puzzling one from an Oilers standpoint but after the club put together a surprising campaign in 2016-17, public opinion on the trade seemingly shifted in the minds of many across Oil Country. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Oscar Will Be Just Fine


Heading into the 2017-18 season, the Edmonton Oilers had more than a few obstacles to overcome, most notably the extended absence of defenceman Andrej Sekera due to off-season knee surgery. However, what has been a rather unpleasant surprise is the addition of fellow blueliner Oscar Klefbom to said list with what can only be described as an awful start to his campaign.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Time For A Little Accountability


Since taking over the position of general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, Peter Chiarelli has done what every man in his position is brought in to do. In his two-plus years on the job, the 53-year old has molded this roster into one he believed could help bring this once storied franchise back to relevance. Unfortunately, it appears as though his tinkering has robbed this club of its scoring depth and they are paying for it in the standings.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Time For Something Special From No. 97


When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers slow start, at the very bottom of the list of concerns is the play of Connor McDavid. With eleven points in ten games, the reigning league MVP still leads the team in scoring but when the expectation is to defend his scoring title from a season ago, things are not going according to plan. An all too familiar theme when discussing the year’s edition of the Orange and Blue.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Return Of The Nuge


When the Edmonton Oilers used the first overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the plan was for the former Red Deer Rebels standout to be the club’s top line centrefor years to come. However, that changed when the team continued to struggle to gain ground in the standings and were ultimately gifted a generational talent in Connor McDavid. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Take Whatever You Can Get


As much as the Edmonton Oilers slow start irked Todd McLellan, chances are the way his team was losing games is what bothered him most. Though they still give up their share of chances, last night’s overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins was the club’s third consecutive 2-1 outcome. Despite the loss, the head coach is likely pleased with their progression but man is it a drag to watch.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Oil Report: McDavid vs Crosby and Winning Games


As we near the three-week mark of the 2017-18 campaign, the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle to find their way. By no means is four points in seven games the end of the world but if they are not careful, this group could finish the month of October in an unwanted spot. With that said, as a hockey fan, it is hard not be excited about the coming days, as the Oilers take on Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin, and Alex Ovechkin over a span of five days. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Special Teams' Specialist


As far as fourth line players go, Edmonton Oilers centre Mark Letestu is a rare breed. Like most bottom six forwards, the Elk Point native plays a key role on the man advantage but sees minimal time at even strength. A role which is typically filled by your prototypical energy guy, in this particular case, it has nothing to do with energy and everything to do with the offensive production he delivers on the man advantage.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Coaching Blunder


It’s no secret Cam Talbot hasn’t been good out of the gate for the Edmonton Oilers. Despite being pulled from two of his first four appearances, the hope was Todd McLellan wouldn’t hit the panic button and sit his starter against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, he did just that and likely cost his team two points in the process and sent the wrong message to his No. 1 goalie.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Oil Report: Leon Concussed, Talbot Cold, Malone Recalled


As far as early disappointments in the new NHL season go, the Edmonton Oilers currently sit in a class all their own. While far from the only club to get off to a slow start, just ask any fan of the Montreal Canadiens, expectations for this group were on an entirely different level heading into 2017-18. Be that right or wrong, it is the hand they have been dealt and as of this moment, it no longer matters. Righting the ship in the here and now is priority one. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Yamamoto Timetable


In the span of just under four months, Kailer Yamamoto has gone from a potential first-round pick in the 2017 Entry Draft, to turning heads at his first pro training camp, to making the Edmonton Oilers’ opening night roster. Not too shabby for a kid who had been told for years he had next to no chance of making the NHL due to his lack of size but still managed to do so at 19-years of age.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Far From An Ideal Start


The key to the Edmonton Oilers 2016-17 campaign was the month of October. They used a pillow soft schedule to go 7-2 and used it to help propel them to a great season. Fast forward to the present day and while their schedule isn’t quite as cushy as a year ago, there was every reason to believe this year’s edition of the Orange and Blue would get off to another strong start in 2017-18.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bring On The Jets


It is not often that we get a chance to see two teams go head-to-head in a so-called response game this early in an NHL season. In most cases, that kind of scenario has traditionally revolved around sending a message to the opponent at the other end of the rink. However, in this case, that applies to neither the Edmonton Oilers nor Winnipeg Jets. This is strictly about ensuring the rest of the league takes notice and hopefully in a good way.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Hunter To The Hunted


It was bound to happen. After starting the 2017-18 campaign with a shutout win over their provincial rivals and media across the league singing their praises, the Edmonton Oilers showed they still have a ways to go in order to reach the lofty expectations of their recent press clippings. Make no mistake, this team is good but it is one that has gone from being the hunter to the hunted overnight and now has to figure out how to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Encore Presentation


Expectations can be a funny thing. Heading into 2016-17, it was apparent to anyone paying attention that Cam Talbot would play a key role in the Edmonton Oilers success or failure. If the former New York Rangers backup could come close to repeating his performance from the final four months of the previous year, it appeared as though things might finally take a turn for the better in the Alberta capital.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Little Change Is A Good Sign


Coming off a season that both re-energized and restored faith among their fan base, the Edmonton Oilers could not have asked for a better start to their 2017 pre-season schedule. As inconsequential as a 5-0 exhibition record is, keeping the core of this group intact from a year ago has greatly helped with the inevitable shift in expectation. Transitioning from a conference bottom feeder to one of its favourites is rarely an easy step to take but doing so in such a short period of time is even more difficult.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Take Two For Jesse Puljujarvi


Though his first year playing in North America didn’t go the way Jesse Puljujarvi had hoped, being forced to take the extra time to adjust to his new surroundings will likely serve both he and the Edmonton Oilers well in the not too distant future. You can bet on more growing pains during the 2017-18 campaign but the future for the third overall pick of the 2016 Entry Draft still appears quite bright. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's Matt Benning Time


When the Edmonton Oilers announced the signing of Matt Benning to a two-year deal in August of 2016, many felt the club had lucked out and stumbled upon a player with the potential of eventually developing into a second pairing NHL defenceman. Isn’t it funny how expectations can change over the course of a calendar year?

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Difference Between Draisaitl And Pastrnak Deals


From the moment the Boston Bruins announced the signing of David Pastrnak to a six-year/ $40 million deal, it was only a matter of time before the comparisons started to make the rounds on the recently inked eight-year/ $68 million pact of Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. On the surface, it may look as though Peter Chiarelli had once again overplayed his hand but in this case, the two situations are similar but not exactly alike.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Getting More Out Of Milan


From a boxcar statistics standpoint, it is next to impossible to have been disappointed with what Milan Lucic delivered during his first season with the Edmonton Oilers. While his lack of success at even strength was essentially canceled out by his surprising production on the power play, expecting much more than 23 goals and 50 points from the veteran winger would seem to be both disingenuous and rather unrealistic.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It's Money Time For Patrick Maroon


With the 2017-18 NHL season just around the corner, Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick Maroon is about to embark on the most important campaign of his career. After being relegated to the role of nothing more than a spare part during his final season with the Anaheim Ducks, the hulking winger has managed to turn things around since arriving in the Alberta capital.

Oilers Need More From Brossoit


As great as Cam Talbot was for the Edmonton Oilers in 2016-17, expecting a repeat performance in 2017-18 would be quite the ask. In my mind, there is an extremely good chance the 30-year old will once again be among the best goaltenders in the league but to think he will do it by appearing in another 70 plus games and play over 4,000 minutes isn’t practical. So the question then becomes, is Laurent Brossoit ready to take on a bigger role?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Remember It Like It Happened Yesterday


It was the summer of 1988, I was in the midst of enjoying my summer holidays and playing sports with my friends on a daily basis. Be it soccer, baseball, tennis, football or a game of summer street hockey, we were all out and about and enjoying our time away from the classroom. Back then, it was a near impossible task to get me back into the house during the summer, never mind not leaving it all. However, that changed on August 9th…the day the Edmonton Oilers traded/sold Wayne Gretzky.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Hockey History: Top 5 Goalies of the 70's


Ranking all-time greats, no matter the sport, is a near impossible task. Almost every era is drastically different from the next and the game of hockey is no different. With that in mind, we decided to break down our look at the greatest goaltenders to have played the game by decade and see how each one fared against their contemporaries.

Monday, July 31, 2017

It's On Connor...Not Peter



To suggest the 2000’s haven’t been kind to the Edmonton Oilers is what we would call an understatement. Four playoff appearances in sixteen years doesn’t leave much to get excited about and yet the masses could not be happier across Oil Country. In a blink of an eye, this club has transformed from perennial Western Conference bottom-feeder to one of the best young teams in the NHL and it has coincided with the arrival of one Connor McDavid.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Battle of Alberta - Round Two


For hockey fans of a certain vintage, the phrase “Battle of Alberta” jogs up glorious memories from the past. Unfortunately, it has been so long since both teams have been good at the same time, most fans have no idea at just how intense the rivalry between the organizations and their fan bases used to be. No question the game has changed quite a bit in the 25 years since this matchup meant something but it appears as though we are about to be treated to the modern-day version of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames going head-to-head when it matters most.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Oilers History: Captain Lee

As we all saw during this summer’s NHL Expansion Draft, there is no guarantee a club will net a player or players who are likely to make a meaningful impact on the franchise. Though we will have to wait and see how things play out for the Vegas Golden Knights, history tells us the Edmonton Oilers picked up such a player back in 1979, when they used their second pick to select defenceman Lee Fogolin from the Buffalo Sabres.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

What To Do With Mark Fayne?


It was a signing that was supposed to be a turning point of sorts for the Edmonton Oilers. After years of struggling to get their hands on legitimate veteran NHL talent to play on the backend, the club signed defenceman Mark Fayne to 4-year/$14.5 million deal on July 1, 2014. Fast forward three years and unfortunately things have not played out in the fashion either the club or player had hoped.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oilers Banking On Jokinen Making An Impact


It was the sort of signing many Edmonton Oilers fans were hoping Peter Chiarelli would pull off during the summer but were not sold on the idea it would actually come to fruition. By inking veteran Jussi Jokinen to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million late last week, the club decided to finally dip its toe into the unrestricted free agent “value contract” pool. It was nice to see and it was the kind of move Oil Country should get used to seeing.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

How To Deal With Leon?


With the Edmonton Oilers officially announcing the signing of Connor McDavid to an eight-year extension yesterday afternoon, the sole focus of Oil Country has now shifted to the immediate future of one Leon Draisaitl. At 21-years of age and coming off a season in which he became a top ten scorer and outperformed his aforementioned linemate during the NHL playoffs, the youngster could not have picked a better time to become a restricted free agent. The question now becomes how can the player and organization make this work? 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

$13.25M Is A Steal Of A Deal


From the moment news broke of the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid negotiating an apparent eight-year/ $106 million deal, there have been those scratching their heads and wondering why. If the plan was to have this group try to emerge as the league’s next great team, how could the league’s MVP ask for such a deal if he really wanted to win? Perhaps the fact he is the best player in the game and all of 20 years of age might have something to do with it. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

RIP Dave Semenko


For a certain vintage of Edmonton Oilers fan, the name Dave Semenko has and always will hold a special place in their hearts.  With that said, no one held the former second-round pick in higher regard than the men who played with him during his time in the Alberta capital. Not surprisingly, all of Oil Country was taken aback by Thursday morning’s stunning announcement of his sudden passing, after he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 59.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Staying Away From UFA Market


When the Edmonton Oilers decided to bring on Peter Chiarelli as the club’s general manager following what was a disappointing but rather productive 2014-15 campaign, aka “The McDavid Lottery”, everyone knew the former Boston Bruins front man would be looking to add veteran reinforcements via unrestricted free agency. The Ontario native did exactly that during his first two off-seasons in charge of the organization but expecting that trend to continue over the coming weeks would be a mistake. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oilers Hoping Skinner Can Pan Out

In the eyes of most, the Edmonton Oilers knocked it out of the park when they decided to use their first-round pick to take the diminutive and highly-skilled Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs. With no second round at their disposal, it was a foregone conclusion that Peter Chiarelli and company would be drafting from a standpoint of organizational need with their remaining picks in the 2017 Entry Draft.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kailer Yamamoto


For an organization that seems to have become almost obsessively focused on acquiring players with size, it was rather refreshing to hear Peter Chiarelli call the name of Kailer Yamamoto as the Edmonton Oilers first round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Despite being the smallest player ever selected in the first round, the Spokane Chiefs standout is oozing with talent and carries himself in such a manner it is next to impossible to take your eyes off him.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Curious Decision Peter


After watching the Edmonton Oilers reach the second round of the NHL Playoffs for the first time in eleven years, one would have thought Peter Chiarelli would be looking to make a move to help his team get over that next hurdle in their development. If the last few days are any indication of what we can expect between now and the start of next season, it appears as though no such move is on the horizon.

You're Up Ryan Strome


In the six years that have passed since the New York Islanders used the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to select Ryan Strome, the Mississauga native has yet to live up to expectation. However, after being sent to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for veteran forward Jordan Eberle, the soon-to-be 24-year old could not have dreamed of a better landing spot.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kris Russell Noise


No matter what side of the Kris Russell discussion one is on, there is no debating as to whether or not he is a viable NHL defenceman. Despite the shortcomings in his game, the 30-year old showed once again he could help a team as a depth piece during the 2016-17 campaign. However, this notion that the Edmonton Oilers are in some kind of dire need of re-signing the Red Deer native is not only confusing but flat-out untrue.

Oilers History: The Dave Brown Years


When the Edmonton Oilers decided to trade away an aging Dave Semenko during the 1986-87 season they parted ways with one of the most popular players in club history and best enforcers to ever play the game. For those who didn’t get the chance to watch him play, No. 27 could strike the fear of god into opponents without the use his fists. More often than not, all it took was one glare to keep opposing players in check.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar


Barring another injury-riddled campaign, the 2016-17 season was always going to be a campaign in which the Edmonton Oilers made substantial gains in the overall standings. The question was whether or not the improvement would be great enough to allow them to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Considering the club finished the year as a top ten team, the answer to the question was a resounding a yes.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Time's Up Tyler Pitlick



The 2016-17 season was certainly an interesting one for Edmonton Oilers forward Tyler Pitlick. After years of seeing nothing more than the occasional cup of coffee in the NHL, the 31st pick of the 2010 Entry Draft finally earned himself a shot at proving he belonged at this level. To his credit, the youngster made the most of the opportunity but was once again derailed by injury.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Oilers History: The Rat Years



After the Edmonton Oilers suffered a shocking first-round loss to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1982 playoffs, it was clear the team was missing something. The need for that “pain-in-the-ass” player who would not only willingly get his nose dirty but also be able to contribute on the score sheet was obvious. Before the 1982 -83 campaign got under way, the Oilers were able to acquire just that type of player in Ken Linseman.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Interesting Times In Oil Country


The Edmonton Oilers will be in an interesting position heading into the 2017-18 NHL season. After exceeding expectations during the 2016-17 campaign and pushing the Anaheim Ducks to a seventh game in their second playoff series, simply qualifying for the post-season will no longer be good enough. With that being the case, Peter Chiarelli will need to ensure he doesn’t allow the moment to cloud his better judgment.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Passion Returns


It was a result that was far from easy to swallow but certainly not one that should have been unexpected. As much as the fans were hoping their Edmonton Oilers could find a way to sneak past the Anaheim Ducks in the seventh game of their second-round series, the clock finally struck midnight on a year all of Oil Country won’t soon forget. After suffering through a decade of pain, the lover affair between this organization and their fans has been rekindled and it is long overdue. 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Time For McDavid To Shine


For the first time during the 2017 playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers officially find themselves in a must-win situation. Starting with tonight’s showdown over at Rogers Place and Wednesday’s potential "winner take all" return engagement in Anaheim, losing to the Ducks is something this team can no longer afford to do. With their margin for error now a thing of the past, it will be up to Connor McDavid to lead the charge and ensure this group finds its way back to the Western Conference Final for the first time in a decade.