Weekend Update: Barons Excitement Comes to Edmonton

While 8 teams in the NHL battle away in the playoffs, the Oilers cleaned out their lockers. The annual locker room sale should be announced shortly. Here fans will be able to purchase game worn and used, autographed items. 

While the players were trying to clean house, the management continues to sign prospects to entry level contracts. I did miss mentioning last week that Tyler Pitlick had been signed to an entry level contract. That just means that I am now able to tell you he was signed with a cap hit of $888, 333. His AHL salary will be $67, 500 and NHL salary $865, 000, $900,000 and $900, 000 through the 3 years of his entry level contract of course with the opportunity for bonuses. The Oilers also signed Curtis Hamilton, and Cameron Abney to 3 year entry level contracts. Hamilton was sent down to Oklahoma City to Help the Barons with their playoff run on Monday. Hamilton is a cap hit of $801, 667, an AHL salary of $67,500 and a NHL salary of $715, 000, $790, 000 and $900,000. With the difference in salary between the NHL and the AHL, you can see why there is added interest in playing in the NHL for these young players.

Really, that was it for Oilers news. Two signings, and hopefully behind the scenes, there are some Oilers that are getting closer to being healthy. 

The Oklahoma City Barons took their first ever playoff series back home to Oklahoma down by two games. The Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL farm team of the Montreal Canadiens seem unable to take the heat of the southern state. Tuesday night the Barons blanked the Bulldogs, 2-0 and Wednesday night the Barons tied the series by winning 5-2. Game 5 was still in Oklahoma City, but the Barons could not pull off a win, losing 2-0.

Many Barons fans in Oklahoma have noted that there is more coverage of the Barons and their playoffs than there is in Oklahoma. This is too bad, but not really surprising. The Oilers have sent a large staff to cover the series, and this gives many Oilers fans a taste of the post season we so desperately crave.

Oiler prospects Tyler Bunz and Tyler Pitlick both play for the Medicine Hat Tigers. They made it past the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Red Deer Rebels in the second round and are now starting the Easern Conference Finals against the Kootenay Ice. Many believe the Tigers have made it as far as they have due to the exceptional play of the Tyler Bunz. Bunz suffered a concussion in late March and missed the first round of playoffs. Bunz didn't skip a beat as soon as he returned to the net.  The Tigers lost 6-5 in overtime to the ice. Oilers prospect Drew Cherwonka scored one of the Kootenay's Ice's 6 goals. 

Several Oilers prospects were featured on the most recent and reportedly last round of Oil Change. If you missed the original airing, you can watch the most recent episode online. The thing that struck me the most from this episode (which I actually watched on the same day it aired) is that Steve Tambellini truly believes that they are doing well with their player development through watching, teaching and encouraging their prospects. Everyone will likely have their own opinions on this, but for the most part the Oilers were able to remain somewhat competitive even while icing an AHL roster. Teemu Hartikainen noted on Oil Change, that he was more tired playing this NHL schedule. It seemed odd to me as in the AHL the team rides the bus and plays a lot of back to back games, and seems to have fewer days off when on a road trip. Hartikainen basically was saying he felt the quality of competition during his minutes played made for his fatigue. 

In NHL news, the playoffs continue. The Detroit Red Wings swept the Phoenix Coyotes. Some are speculating that that was the last Coyotes game played in Glendale, but Gary Bettman certainly is not giving any indication that that was indeed the case. Goldwater itself says that they propose potential new owner Hulsizer partner up with other investors. Some of the players have indicated that they would like to remain in Arizona. The NFL lockout couldn't have come at a worse time however, while the NHL continues to look for their elusive US television deal a year without the NFL will create some free air time. Canadians remember that right? Didn't you feel a little sorry for the TSN hockey panelists who had to keep working despite the lack of NHL games? Ultimately, the Coyotes situation is still unclear. 

Shane Doan of the Winnipeg Jets and the Phoenix Coyotes was recently seen on the television show "Mantracker." The Doan brothers evaded capture. Having never seen or heard of the show until this week, I have no idea how often that happens, or really anything about the show other than a man on a horse tries to track down his prey. 

Bettman also doesn't believe the Trashers will leave Atlanta. Atlanta is also facing ownership issues and some believe that the Thrashers will move before the Coyotes.

Ex-NHLer Patick Roy, currently with the QMJHL has been fined $2000 for saying that the Cataractes' GM Martin Mondou has a "brain the size of a pea." Way to keep it classy and out of the news was the first thought I had upon seeing that headline. Roy seems to crave the public eye from time to time. At least he's not running underground betting or dog fights though, mean comments are fairly tame.

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