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. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Another Hurdle For Young Oilers To Overcome

Believe it or not, the sun did come up this morning in the city of Edmonton. After watching their beloved Oilers end up on the wrong end of a crucial video review decision for a second consecutive game, one couldn’t help but wonder if a dark cloud was making its way over the City of Champions. As if having to deal with a team as good as the Anaheim Ducks wasn’t already challenging enough for Todd McLellan and company to overcome, this extra little wrinkle wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

It's All About Learning

When it comes to the 2017 NHL Playoffs and the Edmonton Oilers, nothing appears as though it will be easy. Ten games into what has been the initial voyage into post-season hockey for much of this group and safe to say it has gone as expected. Rarely, if ever, do the playoffs follow a predictable path and this year has been no different. With that said, Todd McLellan’s side is going to learn a ton about itself before their second-round series with the Anaheim Ducks comes to a close.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Different RNH

In the near six years that have passed since being selected first overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has gone through quite the transformation. After being touted as the organization’s next great centre and putting together one heck of a rookie campaign in 2011-12, the sky seemed to be the limit on just how good the Burnaby native could be. Fast forward to the present day and my how things have changed.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Oilers Continue To Hit All The Right Notes

Hate to be the guy who said I told you so but I told you so. It may not have been pretty but thanks to a quick start, another huge goal from the power play and a stellar performance from netminder Cam Talbot, the Edmonton Oilers are heading home with a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Anaheim Ducks and have yet to play a complete 60 minutes. Isn’t playoff hockey great? 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stepping On An Opponent's Throat

Despite finding a way to sneak past the Anaheim Ducks in their second round series opener, the Edmonton Oilers were not exactly clicking on all cylinders during their Game One 5-3 victory. While they started to show signs of life on the man advantage and defenceman Adam Larsson enjoyed what was arguably the finest all-around performance of his career, the team wearing white had exactly two players deliver what would be considered a typical showing over the course of the past seven months.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ducks Are Playing A Dangerous Game

In the days leading up to last night’s second round curtain raiser between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks, much of the conversation revolved around the potential outcome of Connor McDavid being shadowed by Ryan Kesler. An interesting talking point to be sure but one many seemed to forget did not necessarily favour Randy Carlye’s side. Not surprisingly, the team wearing white ended up taking full advantage of the situation in earning a crucial 5-3 victory.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Talking Oilers Playoffs and McDavid Book With Stellick and Simmer In the Morning

This morning's segment on SiriusXM NHL Radio's "Stellick & Simmer in the Morning" ...Oilers Playoffs and Connor McDavid Book talk.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oilers History: The Game

With the current edition of the Edmonton Oilers firmly entrenched in the 2017 NHL Playoffs, I felt today would be the perfect time to take a look back at arguably the most important one game result in franchise history. The year was 1984 and the setting was the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final against the four-time defending champion New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Who Are These Edmonton Oilers?

After failing to qualify for the NHL Playoffs the previous ten seasons, it only seemed fair to keep expectations at a minimum for the Edmonton Oilers heading into the 2017 post-season. Be it an early exit, a lengthy run or anything in between, this group was in a no-lose situation. With that said, absolutely no one could have predicted how things were going to unfold during their first round match-up against the San Jose Sharks.

Talbot Proving His Worth

It may only be three games but as far as debut post-season performances go, Edmonton Oilers netminder Cam Talbot has made quite the first impression. Next to Connor McDavid, the 29-year old played the biggest part in this club’s surprising turnaround during the 2016-17 regular season. In order for the Oilers to have any hope of enjoying similar success during the playoffs, a repeat performance from their No. 1 goaltender was a must. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Welcome To The Playoffs

As good as the Edmonton Oilers looked over the final month of the season, the thought of having them open the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place was something which didn’t sit well with yours truly. Whether the masses wanted to admit it or not, unless we are talking about a team who had enjoyed at least a degree of success in recent post-season memory, the pressure that comes with opening on home-ice is quite real. And for a team with as little experience as this one, that moment can sometimes be a little much.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Better Get Used To It

With one game remaining on the Edmonton Oilers 2016-17 schedule, Connor McDavid is on the verge of completing one of the finest sophomore campaigns season in recent memory. Should the talented youngster manage to pick up a couple of points in tonight’s season finale against the Vancouver Canucks, he will not only officially win the first Art Ross Trophy of his career as the league’s top scorer but do so in style.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Playoffs and Beyond

With all of two days remaining in the 2016-17 NHL regular season, the Edmonton Oilers have all but clinched home-ice advantage in their first-round showdown with the San Jose Sharks. By this time tomorrow, there is a good chance this team will have eclipsed the 100-point mark and their star attraction will have or be on the verge of doing the same thing on an individual front. As great as this year has gone for Connor McDavid and company, expectations for this group still need to be kept in check.