Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could be a welcome change in conversation from Oilers' injuries before too long.
It's getting closer to the home opener and Oil Country is getting excited, even those outside out Oil Country's borders as well. Not a day goes by that a Flames fan, or fan of any other team, doesn't say that the Oilers will be rushing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins if he plays this season in Edmonton. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and there is still much time to make a decision. However, Nugent-Hopkins' point streak in the pre-season, chemistry with everyone he plays with, precise passes and vision of the game should be enough to get him the first few games of the season in this writer's opinion. Even though it is only pre-season, it appears as though the Oilers could be in for more than their fair share of injuries this season, unless most of the injuries happen now, and the rest of the season goes by uneventfully?... Well, dare to dream.
This week, the Oilers played the Calgary Flames in a home and home back to back series. In Rexall Place on Saturday night, the Oilers came out on top 2-1, but Sam Gagner walked away from the game with an ankle sprain. Sunday night in Calgary, the Oilers shut-out the Flames 3-0. Tuesday night the Oilers hosted the Phoenix Coyotes, and held on to win 3-2 despite having a 3 goal lead through most of the game. Friday night, the Oilers beat division rival Minnesota Wild in a shootout 4-3, in what ended up being anything but a dull game.
Monday morning saw 12 prospects re-assigned with no real surprises. At the same time, the Oklahoma Barons' training camp started, so these players would not have missed too much by the time they got there. On Thursday, three more players were sent including Yann Danis who was placed on waivers with the intention of assignment to OKC.
On the injury front, Colten Teubert was cleared for contact, but was sent to Oklahoma City. Ryan Whitney is still experiencing pain when skating. Ben Eager is coming along and some talk around town says that he may not be too far away. Sam Gagner is listed as week to week, so is not expected back soon. Taylor Fedun has a major injury with his complex femur break, Ladislav Smid suffered a shoulder injury and Taylor Chorney suffered an knee injury. That's three more defencemen for the IR in the span of less than a week.
Wayne Gretzky was in town this past weekend for a fundraiser, and stuck around long enough to meet with the young Oilers and Oil Kings. Gretzky sees greatness in the Oilers' young players, and thinks back to the days of his youth at the start of his career when he sees these players.
The Oil Kings got their first win of the year at their first game in Prince Albert on Wednesday. Their home opener was Friday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers, which is of course the WHL team of goalie prospect Tyler Bunz. Unfortunately for Oil Kings fans, Bunz walked out with the win when the Tigers beat the Oil Kings 5-3.
On Thursday, the Oil Kings traded defenceman Braeden Laroque to the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for draft picks. Currently, the Oil Kings have an excellent looking roster full of NHL prospects. The team will be looking to restock their cupboards next year, and for their up and comers to continue their development.
The Oklahoma City Barons as mentioned opened their training camp Monday and held their first pre-season game on Friday. The roster will not be trimmed until Monday, with players likely being assigned to the Stockton Thunder. As a part of the agreement with the Thunder, the Oilers must send at least three contract forwards to the Thunder.
Friday night was a busy night for hockey fans, while the Oilers were in St. Paul, and the Oil Kings were at home, the Oklahoma City Barons opened their season against the Houston Aeros and came out victorious with a 4-0 lead.
THE RIGHT STUFF: R N-H ONE COOL CUSTOMER - Oilers Nation Brownlee
A USEFUL ENFORCER? - Oilers Nation Lowetide
MORE IMPORTANT THAN STANLEY: PARENTHOOD - Oilers Nation Gregor
Oklahoma City Reasonable Expectations 11-12 (F) - Lowetide
Oklahoma City Reasonable Expectations 11-12 (G & D) - Lowetide
"I’ll be back" says Teubert, just sent down to the minors. - Cult of Hockey Staples
Birth of The New Age-line and some random Lander-thoughts - Swedish Oil
14 Days Until Barons Hockey – "Signage" -Livingston (and the rest of the week as well)
Preventing Zone Entry On The Penalty Kill, Part 2 - Copper & Blue dawgbone98
2012 NHL Draft Top 30 Consensus List - Bob McKenzie's List Added - Copper & Blue Zona