Oilers fans may very well have forgotten about everything else that happened this week (including birthdays and anniversaries) besides the call ups for Linus Omark and Ryan O'Marra. Some are hopeful that this goal scoring, YouTube sensation Linus Omark will give us exciting last place hockey, or propel us into the playoffs. Of course there are some among us who are already calling this young player Rob Schremp junior. Personally I'm hoping that Omark will give us exciting hockey. As much as it would be wonderful if Omark could help the Oilers make it into the playoffs, I think that this isn't the year but I don't want to stop or hinder anyone from their playoff hopes and dreams. This is December and everyone needs to have their hopes and dreams, after all hasn't every Christmas movie out there proven to us that there is a Santa Claus and that this is the time to give up your worries and concerns? Other Omark news, I'm still confused as to whether he wants to be known as Lie-nus Omark, or Lee-nus Omark. According to an interview with Bob Stauffer this week, Omark says he doesn't care what people call him, he just seems excited to be called up. The only difference for pronunciation, as far as I can tell, will be whether or not the above picture from Doogie2K is funny or not and maybe watching how frustrated those sports commentators and radio guys will be, they have to say it out loud. Omark and O'Marra arrived in time for the team photo that was taken on Thursday at Rexall. Coaching staff and players alike were extremely excited to have the two rookies put on the Oilers jersey for the first time with big hopes for the upcoming games.
If I may, while I have reminded you of how lucky and fortunate we are as Oilers fans, can I take a moment to say that the Edmonton Christmas Bureau is in dire straights this year. This is an organization that the Oilers are very much involved with (Kevin Lowe and Oilers Ladies are the Honorary Campaign Chairpersons) I hope that you won't mind me including this in this week's updates. This year, the Bureau has only collected 1/3 of the money they require to help out your fellow Edmontonians and Oilers fans. The number they are hoping to collect this year may seem daunting, but if you are able to help out with even $10 or $20 it can really add up. This non-profit organization helps to make sure that some less fortunate families are able to have a festive hamper. If you prefer, the Oilers are hosting their annual Shirts Off Our Back online charity auction with proceeds going to the Christmas Bureau and the Oilers Community Foundation. In case you are feeling extra festive, Santa's Anonymous is also only halfway to their goal for toys for the city's less fortunate. I have some really great memories of helping this organization, and have seen first hand what these gifts can mean to the children.
Ok, thanks for your time, and now back to hockey. On Monday we learned that Taylor Hall was named the NHL's third star of the week, joining Sydney Crosby and Ryan Miller. Congratulations for Taylor Hall. I know that many Oilers fans out there are hoping that this trend will continue.
Ah, the injuries... It was announced this week that Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff will likely be out for a month, each, at least! Of course these injuries were the reason why Omark and O'Marra received the call up to Edmonton, but this is not good news for either player. Horcoff injured his knee in a collision with Anaheim Ducks's Corey Perry on Tuesday night, and Hemsky was battling a tender groin for a number of weeks now. Debate rages on whether these injuries will cause the team to win or lose more. Either way, other team leaders will need to emerge or step up. Hopefully we will see more from Sam Gagner, Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney or anyone who feels up for the part. My biggest concern will be the impact on the locker room. With the constant stream of injuries and illness last year it would have had a negative mental impact on the players. I truly hope that the excitement over the rookies, old and new, will be enough to keep a positive attitude in the locker room.
The Oilers were so close to adding to their win column with a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night in a shootout loss. On Friday the Oilers played Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning but this time won in a shootout. I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't get to watch the game live and this is the first time this season that I felt disappointed that I wasn't able to watch it in real time. Can I tell you how awesome I thought that goal by Penner and Paajarvi was? It was nice to see Paajarvi score, but maybe not surprising after the hat-trick he scored tagainst the Lightning in the pre-season. Then of course, there was the shootout. We all hoped to see Omark get selected, then we all had to wait with bated breath to see what amazing moves he would pull. In his post game interview, Paajarvi said he knew that something would happen, but that he wasn’t sure what. He said he wasn’t surprised at all. I really can’t even explain with any justice what exactly transpired last night in Rexall Place, you really have to see it for yourself. This ladies and gentlemen is what we are Oilers’ fans have been hoping to see, this is what we are hoping will be our future. What a future it might be. I was able to watch the highlights with a group of friends last night, all of whom are Flames and Canucks fans. Every single one of them stated their alliance to their team, but said it was amazing, the Flames fans all said they just don’t have players that could do that. You heard it here first, proof that Calgary is jealous.
Former Oiler Bill Guerin announced his retirement on Monday. Oilers fans remember him fondly from his Oilers days as was evidenced in some of the "HHOF!" talk. While I don't think that he will make the hall of fame, it was interesting to read some of the memories and stories. Myself, I was glad that he won two cups, even if one was with Pittsburgh.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are trying to gear up and garner public knowledge that the annual teddy bear toss will be next Friday Dec 17th. Tickets are very economical, all tickets are $10. Why not take the friends, family whoever and a couple of teddy bears and check out some great hockey. The Oil Kings beat the Hitmen Wednesday night, which involved a "historic" hat-trick from St. Croix. Hrbas has earned a tryout with the Czech world junior team, which is exciting for the team and this young player.
On a fun note, I made puck daddy's jersey fouls! Ok, not me specifically, but a photo I was able to grab. Keep your eyes open, there are some interesting selections out there.
In NHL news, Lemieux, Coffey and Francis we just announced to be playing in the morning outdoor alumni game in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day. According to TSN, recently retired Bill Guerin will also join these hall of famers.
Steve Stamkos is all over the news right now. Has the kid made it into the group of elite players, is he still outside trying to break in? No matter which side you stand on, Stamkos is another exciting player who will have another amazing year whether or not he reaches his goals scored level he had last year. Currently there is some alarm for Stamkos because he appears to be in a scoring dry spell, but he is still changing the scope of each game he plays in. Not only that, but he did break the goal droubt in the game last night against the Oilers, I think he'll be just fine in terms of scoring this year.
Sidney Crosby is also right there in the NHL headlines. The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping to reach or surpass their record string of wins which is actually an NHL record for longest winning streak. The record belongs to the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins who won 17 straight games. Currently, the Penguins are currently sitting at 11 straight wins, and Crosby has scored 22 of the 37 goals it has taken to reach this streak.
Funny NHL news, well do I have a story for you in case you missed it. Disgruntled Leafs fans at the Air Canada Centre have moved beyond booing, chanting for coach Ron Wilson's head and holding various signs saying the same message to throwing things on the ice. What are fans throwing? Waffles. Yup, some fan(s) actually brought waffles to the game and threw them onto the ice following the loss. Thankfully Oilers' fans are trying a little harder to keep their wits about them. I only hope going forward that we can continue to maintain a certain level of respectability and integrity.
Here are some blogs you may have missed but enjoy:
Northlands standing in the way of Edmonton's downtown arena project - Cult of Hockey Staples
Sam Gagner: a different and effective kind of physical player - Cult of Hockey Staples
billy guerin was a very good Oiler - Oil Spills Matheson
Brule gets another message - Oil Spills Ireland
Early Returns? Well Pretty Good, Thank You - Black Dog Hates Skunks
Will a Leader Emerge? - Oilers Nation Brownlee
The Black Art of Drawing Penalties - Oilers Edition - Copper & Blue McCurdy
Dustin Penner Must Carry The Oilers And Everything Old Is New Again - Copper & Blue Zona
Decrypting the 2005 NHL CBA: NHL Waivers – The Ultimate Waiver Bible - Puttin' On the Foil Racki
Video: Massive bench-clearing hockey brawl is anarchy in the U.K. - Puck Daddy Leahy
Video: Junior league hockey player dazzles with shootout trick - Puck Daddy Wyshynski
Farewell to Bill Guerin, one of the NHL's most talented goofballs - Puck Daddy Wyshynski