The Edmonton Oilers had a schedule that kept them fairly close to home, but also had them close out the season against NW division rivals. Saturday night, the Oilers were hosted by the league leading Vancouver Canucks and boy did the Oilers pull off an upset. True the Canucks may not have been giving it their all, but this was a win, it broke the winnless streak. Tuesday the winning continued as the Canucks once again lost to the Oilers. Thursday night was a painful loss in Calgary as the team seemingly didn't even show up. Friday night is a mystery to me, as I am away from technology for a while.
Sunday afternoon is the end of the season for the Oilers, the final game and against the Colorado Avalanche. The Oilers have secured the 30th place, and the best chance at drafting first overall. The lottery will happen Tuesday April 12th. Will you be as excited as last year? I know I'm not as excited. It's not that it's not as important, it's just that we've been here before. Maybe the next Oilers top draft pick will feel slightly less pressure than Taylor Hall felt. The Oilers have a lotto simulator on their website. I have run it at least ten times so far this week, and the Oilers drafted first overall every time. Of course this is not a lock, but it helped me sleep at night.
On the injury front, Ladislav Smid was reported to be in a walking cast, as is Colin Fraser after Saturday's game in Vancouver. Smid didn't end up missing any games, but Fraser is still out. Shawn Horcoff hopes to play a game before the end of the season, but we'll just have to see how that story plays out.
On Tuesday, Jordan Eberle received the sort of head shot the league is hoping to do away with, from ex-Oiler and Oiler killer Raffi Torres. I say Oiler killer because of the hat-trick he got against the Oilers earlier in the season and for no other reason! Eberle jumped up and didn't miss a shift. Torres received a five minute major and a game. Reports were not good on what Torres had said, but Eberle did admit to putting himself in a dangerous situation. Torres had a phone call meeting with the league and received a four game suspension. This means that he will miss the remaining two Canucks regular season game and the first two playoff games. Of course Canucks' GM Mike Gillis disagrees with the suspension, but the league needs to put their foot down at some point if they want to make any meaningful changes. From my view of Eberle at the game on Wednesday, he just didn't look himself. He looked slightly slower and less confident. I'm certainly not a doctor, although I do hope he was checked out by one.
Edmonton Oilers' long time anthem singer, Paul Lorieau sang his last anthem on Friday night. Who the Oilers will use to replace him will likely be announced during the off-season or we will be introduced to the new person at the beginining of the next season.
Ex-NHLer and ex-Oilers Georges Laraque is getting into politics and also figure skating. Laraque is hoping to prove that figure skating is harder than it seems. Apparently Laraque will go on a 50 show tour across Canada at amateur clubs.
The Edmonton city council has approved the arena project. Sorta. You see, the council is now ready to begin negotiations with the Katz group to plan and build the arena. The vote was 10-3 in favour. The city councillor that represents the riding where Rexall Place stands, and who is on the board for Northlands obviously voted against the project, both overall, the city seems to be in favour. Of course the new arena is planned to be an arena complex, and really only one third to one quarter of the events held at the arena will be Oilers games.
The second round of the WHL playoffs is about to begin Oilers fans have a few reasons to be excited about this. Ryan Nugent Hopkins is exceeding expectations and may be an Oiler by the end of the season. His team, the Red Deer Rebels will face the Medicine Hat Tigers/Tylers with Oilers prospects Tyler Bunz and Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick unfortunately is just out of his cast and not quite walking yet. So, Pitlick may not get to play even the second round. Bunz however could start any of the games. No matter who you cheer for, there's something in there for you.
Commemorating the life of the late Bob Probert, will be a motorcycle ride led by Proberts teammate Chris Chelios. The ride will start at Joe Louis arena in Detroit and will continue into southern Ontario. I have little doubt that there will be much more news on this, and that more NHLers and teammates will get involved.
My condolences to my Leaf friends out there. Yes, neither of your teams are in the playoffs, but life still goes on. Hang in there. One day soon you won't be able to contain your joy at the Oilers success.
The Oklahoma City Barons are masters of their own fate, playing their final three regular season games this weekend. It is still amazing that the Barons have done as well as they have with so many from their roster playing in Edmonton. On Thursday, I posted an interview with the voice of the Barons, Jim Byers. Byers has always been a sports guy, and is a great member of the extended Oilers' family.
Should Oilers draft by organizational need or best player available? - Cult of Hockey McCurdy
Just The Game Please, No More Infomercials - Copper & Blue Batty
Random - Black Dog Hates Skunks
The Goaltending Plan - Oilers Nation Willis
NHL'S DRAFT GURU PASSES - Oilers Nation Lowetide
HINDSIGHT: THE UNDONE COREY PERRY DEAL - Oilers Nation Brownlee
Taylor Hall made every fantasy hockey GM’s dream come true - Puck Daddy
Marty Turco bets fan during Blackhawks/Habs game, gets last laugh -Puck Daddy