The Edmonton Oilers have not seen so many suspensions in over a decade. How sad that "so many suspensions" is two in two months. Andy Sutton was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kurtis Foster, and although at the time it seemed like a lateral move, I have been happier with the play of Sutton than I was with Foster. Although Sutton has now received two suspensions in the year, I think that in some ways that is a good thing. How long have the Oilers been a soft team that never seemed to hit or inflict damage and instead was only ever on the receiving end? Too long, the only trouble is that while Sutton is suspended those he has been trying to protect are now vulnerable. The interesting part about Sutton's suspension last month is that he was considered by Brendan Shanahan to be a repeat offender, but according to this article that I only just now discovered, according the the CBA, he shouldn't have been. This time around, Sutton was clearly a repeat offender. Sutton waived his option to an in person meeting and while awaiting the final verdict has been suspended indefinitely.
Other Oilers' news focuses on health, as per usual. Anton Lander has recovered from the infection in his hand and returned to the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Hurricanes. Ben Eager was able to return to the lineup after missing 3 games due to a sore back. Eager even scored his first goal as an Oiler Wednesday night.
So, that just leaves Cam Barker (3 months), Corey Potter (2 weeks) and Taylor Hall out of the Oilers' lineup due to injuries. Hall and Potter were practising with the team on Friday in full equipment, and all indications are that Hall will be back much sooner than was originally thought, but that is of course quite concerning to many. I worry that Hall's sense of competitiveness may be getting the better of him. Because the team is losing, Hall will want to get back onto the ice and help his team as soon as he can. There is of course the argument that Hall is young, healthy and athletic and so could just have been a quick healer from this injury. Either way, Hall gave an update on his injury on Thursday.
The NHL Board of Governor's meeting about realignment was held earlier this week in Pebble Beach. This restructuring of the NHL will see four all new conferences, and a new playoff schedule. The Edmonton Oilers and the players featured are all in favour of at least a few of the changes that will be seen, should this plan be accepted. For me the biggest and brightest change will be each team playing each other twice a year. That means that instead of seeing most Eastern teams every other year, the Oilers will host each Eastern team as well as play a game in the east. This should make it easier for me to get through the cities remaining on my list.
The Oilers hosted their provincial rivals last Saturday night to disappointing results. After taking an early lead, the Oilers fell 5-3 to the Calgary Flames. After three days of rest and recuperation, the Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in convincing fashion, 5-3. Friday night, the Oilers hosted the Colorado Avalanche and earning a 4-1 victory.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are not only the other oil in town, but are also the HOTTEST Oil in town, and most people are still missing it. The Oil Kings have now won their last 8 games in a row. This is of course due to the plethora of talent on the team. For example Michael St. Croix was named the WHL player of the week ending December 4th.
Sunday, the Oil Kings beat the Saskatoon Blades 8-3. Tuesday was a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen and Thursday was a 7-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings to set the winning streak at 8 games.
Next Friday is the Oil Kings annual Teddy Bear toss. Tickets are extremely affordable, especially given the entertainment value of the game. This game will be a WHL battle of Alberta. Following the Oil Kings' first goal, stuffed toys tied up in plastic bags will rain down on the ice. All donations collected will be donated to Santa's Anonymous. Because the Hitmen have been running their teddy bear toss for 17 years, it has built up a lot of excitement and press. For the Oil Kings, they are still a relatively new team and so lesser numbers for donations have to be expected. At the same time however, it would be nice to hear that the Oil Kings have started to close the gap. Last year, the Oil Kings collected 4,200 teddy bears in Edmonton, while down the road in Calgary the number totalled 23,096. This year, the Hitmen crushed their 2010 collection total with 25, 303. I can't wait to see what Edmonton can do this year.
Team Canada has added two new players to the team's development camp roster. Camp kicks off today in Calgary. The added players are Brett Connolly (Prince George, B.C./Tampa Bay, NHL) and Devante Smith-Pelly (Scarborough, Ont./Anaheim, NHL). This is great news for Team Canada as during the August Team Canada camp, Smith-Pelly made quite the impression on everyone, but especially the head coach, Vancouver Giant's Don Hay. "I thought Smith-Pelly was the best player on the ice. Physically, he went after people and was a force. You knew he was on the ice every time. Every shift he had, he made an impression. He took pucks hard to the net, scored a goal and had an assist and made several big hits."
The Oklahoma City Barons continue winning more games that they lose, remember that Oil fans? At the same time, the Barons have worked with their community to donate 3,500 stuffed animals to EMSA.
The Barons have also spent more time with the Habitat for Humanity project they had worked on framing. This time, they have moved inside. I'm not sure I have seen anyone look as uncomfortable painting as Tyler Pitlick. I can't help but wonder if this may be the first and last house he paints himself.
Kirill Tulupov's Long Journey To The Show - Copper & Blue Zona
Snapping The Minors in Oklahoma City - Copper & Blue Livingston
Cycling the Puck - Copper & Blue dawgbone98
Smyth's Return Has Been Great, Lets Keep It Going - Copper & Blue Batty
The OKC Barons Are (Almost) On A Rampage - Copper & Blue Rodgers
Who knew? Discarded parts of terrible Oilers teams doing poorly elsewhere - Cult of Hockey Staples
NHL returns to its post-merger roots with realignment - Cult of Hockey McCurdy
RYAN SMYTH: ALL HAIL THE MULLET - Oilers Nation Brownlee
Reshuffle Please - Oilers Nation Strudwick
NW IS KEY... AND A GREAT START - Oilers Nation Gregor
Questions Questions - Black Dog Hates Skunks
Another Comrie kid on way to NHL? - Times Colonist
Is Omark Considering a Return to Sweden? - Oil Patch
Omark haven't even thought about heading back to Europe - Swedish Oil
2011 Teddy Bear Tosses - Oil Patch