Paajarvi watches the scoreboard in Raleigh North Carolina, just one of the many players to score their first NHL goal this year. Photo by Lisa McRitchie all rights reserved.
Let's face it, there has been a lot to complain about this season. As such, it really seems to bring people down, which starts to bring me down. We can't have that, so I've decided to bring up something that we can and should be celebrating even now. Let's have a look at the players that have scored their first NHL goals while wearing the Oilers logo!
There have been steps that I think make this team a more exciting team than last year. This team is more skilled even if they are less experienced and have the same struggles that the team had last season, and it doesn't look like the rookie scoring will end. With one of the most recent call-ups, Oiler fans look forward to seeing Teemu Hartikainen score any time already, even his first game in the NHL.
The first game of the year gave us so much hope, so much excitement. Jordan Eberle, in his first game as an Oiler October 7, 2010, his first NHL game scored a glorious goal against the Calgary Flames and shorthanded no less. Maybe that was a sign that the Oilers would be shorthanded for a portion of the season?
The second first NHL goal came from Magnus Paajarvi in Calgary on October 16th. This goal was not nearly as glorious as Eberle's, in fact, some people even called it a garbage goal or a greasy goal. I was there, I remember standing and cheering and going home from the loss, but happy none the less. It was Paajarvi's fourth game when he scored this goal, not bad at all as the media was still hounding Taylor Hall about his lack of goal scoring.
Taylor Hall was the next to score, but it took him 8 games to get to that momentous event. His first goal was in Columbus Ohio on October 28th and was a tying goal on a delayed penalty call. There was a collective sigh all across Edmonton, maybe even Canada as everyone was waiting with baited breathe for the first overall selected draft pick of the 2010 NHL entry draft to light the lamp. It was less spectacular than Eberle's goal, but I don't think that it gets more spectacular than that.
Ryan O'Marra was with the Oilers for the second season in a row. Last season, O'Marra played 3 games with Oilers but went without a goal. Fortune would be on O'Marra's side his second chance in the NHL however. As a late Christmas present to Oilers' fans, the draft pick from the Ryan Smyth trade scored his first NHL goal in Vancouver on Boxing Day, December 26th.
It seemed the fourth time was a charm for Theo Peckham. Peckham had played 1 game in the memorable 2007-08 season, 15 in each of 2008-09 and 2009-10 but it wasn't until this season that Peckham scored in his 11th game of the season with the Oilers. On November 11th Peckham scored in Detroit allowing me to be present for a second first NHL goal in one season. Pecks or Wreckham has scored twice more since.
The excitement for Linus Omark to be called up to the Oilers and the NHL seemed unanimous. The YouTube shootout goal sensation is an integral part of the H.O.P.E. process going forward. Omark scored his first unofficial NHL goal in the shootout against the Tampa Bay Lighting, which was also his first game in the NHL, winning the game for the Oilers on December 10th.
In his 4th game as an Oiler, Omark scored in Edmonton against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The first NHL goal was not as exciting as the shootout goal, but it is still exciting to see any rookie score, especially when that player has been much anticipated.
Jeff Petry played his first game in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers this season, despite ups and downs with the Oklahoma City Barons. On January 20th, Petry played his 10th game as an Oiler against Dallas in Edmonton. Petry has yet to score since, but since he is a defenceman, I think that the Oilers' fans will survive.
The final player on the list SO FAR is Taylor Chorney who is playing games with the Oilers for his third season. Chorney played 2 games in 2008-09 and 42 in 2009-10. In his 7th game with the Oilers on February 15th in Edmonton against Dallas Chorney scored his first NHL goal.
So there you have it folks, 8 reasons to be happy, or less disappointed with the season. These will hopefully be the first of many and for some of these players, hopefully for years to come with the Oilers.