This week there was some injury news, some trade speculation and some charitable good deeds done by a few Oilers.
On the injury news front, Gilbert Brule has begun training with the Oilers again. Reports are that he was out with the flu. Brule is not going to be returning to the line-up for quite a while is the current speculation, but at least Oilers' fans are able to see that he is indeed alive and well and is not currently staying on the International Space Station or anything. Shawn Horcoff has missed two practises this week and is reportedly battling bronchitis. Awesome, that can be contagious. There were speculations Friday afternoon that Horcoff might not be in the line-up for Saturday afternoon's battle against the Ottawa Senators.
This trade speculation never seems to go away. The question of what to do with Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky rages on. This fan thinks that Tambellini will trade neither Penner nor Hemsky at trade deadline day. The interesting thing that has happened once again is that there is an extreme bottle necking in the western conference of the bottom playoff teams. I think that there will be, as per usual, far more teams thinking they are buyers than there should be. I think that Steve Tambellini will be presented with several options, will weight them out, but in the end will not react as quick as other general managers. I think that come March 1st, Penner and Hemsky will both be in the line-up.
Monday night was quite possibly the second most memorable game of the entire season and Copper and Blue new recruit Ryan Batty was lucky enough to cover the win. Devan Dubnyk not only got his first shut-out, but it was in Nashville Tennessee. This was a sight, I would never have guessed I would see this season. The Oilers went back to their losing ways on Wednesday night versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Playing an uninspired game, the Oilers lost 4-1.
Several Oilers' players shaved their heads for charity on Friday at West Edmonton Mall. Steve MacIntyre dyed his hair pink earlier in the week, to have it shaved off on Friday. Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham all shaved their heads to raise money and awareness for the cause, the Children's Hospital Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Ryan Jones would have participated in this, as it is right up his alley, but as we learned not too long ago, Jones is growing his hair for wigs for children battling cancer.
The Oklahoma City Barons were to play a game Wednesday morning for school children. A bizarre winter has altered plans for many people living in Oklahoma and made the game for the Barons versus the Phoenix Coyote's farm team the San Antonio Rampage an impossibility for most. Our very own Neal Livingston has a great write-up of how the morning's events played out.
The Edmonton Oil Kings were at home Tuesday night, but almost no one knew that it seems. The crowd was extremely small for a food drive night, listed as 3,370. The worst part is that so many hockey fans missed an extremely spirited battle. Coming back from a three goal deficit to the Prince George Cougars, the Oil Kings went on to win the game 6-5. Friday night, the Oil Kings were in Moose Jaw, taking on the Warriors and losing in the shootout, 5-4.
The Oil Kings will continue their road trip this week playing both Brandon and Swift Current on Saturday and Sunday nights. The Oil Kings next home game is next Friday night against the Brandon Wheat Kings. This affordable fun for one and all is an excellent choice for a night out, and is the best way to ensure that professional hockey in a form other than the Oilers stay in town. The Oilers are not going to make the playoffs, the Oil Kings look like they will. Why not take some time out and cheer on a winning Edmonton team?
Edmonton Oilers' optometrist Brent Saik is once again hosting his World's Longest Hockey Game, which started Friday. 40 players, 39 men and Saik's fiancée, will play hockey in shifts for ten days straight. This tremendous effort is an attempt to raise $1 million for the Cross Cancer Clinic. Saik has held this event three previous times raising funds and awareness for the disease and it's treatments. This event cannot take place without the help of volunteers, people like you and me. Volunteering can be in the form of refereeing, cheering, or anything else that needs to be done at Saiker's Acres. The magic all happens just east of Sherwood Park. Your funds are greatly needed to make this a success. I hope to be updating everyone with photos and stories as I have a connection to the game and would like nothing more than to let you know what is happening, especially if you are not in Alberta, let alone Edmonton. Several Edmonton Oilers make appearances for the cause during the ten days. If you stop by, you never know who you might see. As the game does take place 24 hours a day, you can go out whenever you have time.
In NHL news Saturday February 12th is Hockey Day in Canada. You will be able to watch each of Canada's team playing at various times of the day, and there will be coverage of hockey in communities throughout Canada. Get comfortable on your couch and be prepared to watch a lot of CBC.
Sidney Crosby is still out with his concussion and more questions are being raised about prevention and punishment for head shots.
Peter Forsberg is back in the NHL, and as a player no less. Friday night Forsberg played his first NHL game since 2008. His first game back wasn't the game he wanted I'm sure, a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
There were a few trades this week, which makes me wonder if there will be very many at all on February 28th, the NHL trade deadline day. Mike Fisher was traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Nashville Predators for a first round draft pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft and a conditional draft pick in the 2012 draft. According to TSN "The conditions of the 2012 draft pick are as follows. The Senators will receive Nashville's third rounder if the Preds win one playoff round. That pick would then turn into a second-round pick in 2012 if the team wins two or more rounds."
Joffrey Lupul was traded again, but for the first time it was a trade that did not involve Chris Pronger. The trade saw Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in the 2013 Entry Draft go to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Francois Beauchemin. The Anaheim fans seem as unsure about this trade as we would expect. Some think it's a good move, and some have the wait and see attitude. Toronto Maple Leafs fans seem overall very excited about this trade, and as most Oilers fans can sympathise with Leafs fans, many hope that Leafs fans will have something to smile about. Others, well they keep hoping that Leaf fans live in misery.
The Florida Panthers traded Michael Frolik and the rights to goaltender Alexander Salak to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman, and David Pacan. I find it interesting that the so many players were involved in this trade, but believe that at least with this trade, there was something beneficial in both the near and short term for both teams.
What is with all of the goalie fights lately? Not that I am complaining, of course not! But it seemed that a goalie fight in the NHL was an event that happened every few years. Now, it seems to be every few days. In what was possibly the best NHL game of the week ( I like that there were so many enjoyable games this week) the Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Candiens 8-6 in a game that was filled with penalties and of course a goalie fight.
Friday night had a few interesting battles too including another penalty minute filled shocker of a game. The New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 9-3. Yes, I wrote that right, NINE to THREE, for the ISLANDERS. I'm still in shock and awe. The more interesting part, there were at last count 307 individual penalty minutes assessed for the game, and doesn't include 4 minutes of bench penalties. Yes, this goalie fight was from last week, but let's watch that again shall we?
Edmonton Oilers alumni Grant Fuhr recently spoke about the recent goalie fights. It won't surprise you to learn that "Amused and entertained is how Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr would describe his reaction to seeing the recent spate of goalie fights in the NHL."
Here are some blogs you may have missed, or might enjoy again:
Mandel pushes federal government for funding Edmonton's downtown arena - Cult of Hockey Staples
Paajarvi earning his keep in the NHL - Cult of Hockey Staples
A Decision on Hemsky And Penner Can't Wait Forever - Copper & Blue Batty
CHL Update - Ryan Nugent Hopkins' Big January - Copper & Blue Sumoil
Lucky Man - Black Dog Hates Skunks
DEEP THOUGHTS XXIV: SEE NO EVIL - Oilers Nation Brownlee
12 BIGGEST DEADLINE DEALS (OILERS) - Oilers Nation Lowetide
OILER PROSPECTS STILL ROLLING - Oilers Nation Lowetide
Bourne Blog: No surprise when minor leaguers make NHL impact - Puck Daddy Bourne
Sidney Crosby injury watch enters anonymous innuendo hell - Puck Daddy Wyshynski