The biggest story this week had to have been the back and forth of what the Edmonton Oilers should do with Ales Hemsky. Rumours and stories abounded that Hemsky was looking for for a long, secure, 5-6 year deal and that the Oilers were looking to sign the winger to only a two year deal. By Thursday however, the story had changed to indicate that Hemsky was willing to consider a two year deal. Friday morning the reports were that the Oilers had a two year deal on the table and that the decision was now up to Hemsky. By Friday afternoon, we learned that Hemsky had signed.
Trading Hemsky would have meant trading a proven NHL player who is fast, skilled and competitive and from all accounts likes the city of Edmonton and would like to stay. Keeping Hemsky, and especially to a long term deal, means taking a risk on a player who may not be able to play an entire season, and it potentially means that there will be less money for the up and coming kids. However, we don't know what the next CBA will look like and because the Oilers signed Hemsky to a 2 year deal money and contracts for the youth may not be as much of an issue.
Other Oilers contract talk has focused on Ryan Smyth. Pierre LeBrun tweeted Friday night "Am told Oilers and pending UFA Ryan Smyth are talking contract extension." It doesn't look as though there will be a second trade deadline day heartbreaking Smyth trade.
The Oilers had a very successful week on the ice, if you forget about their Sunday evening 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers have still been without head coach Tom Renney running the bench, but Ralph Kruger has been filling in well. The Oilers lost not only the game to the Vancouver Canucks, but also Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabi injured his groin while stretching to cover the net, sending Devan Dubnyk to finish the game. Because of the injury, Yann Danis has been called up from the Oklahoma City Barons to ride the pine while the Oilers see what Dubnyk can do. Danis' play in the AHL has been nothing short of incredible, but it is Dubnyk who may or may not be the Oilers future goaltender.
Tuesday night was the best night in years for Oilers fans living in Calgary and to a lesser extent to Oilers fans all over the world. Nearly three and a half years since the last victory, the Oilers extinguished the Calgary Flames 6-1. The only Flame who seemed to have showed up to play was Mikka Kiprusoff. Without Kipper, the Oilers could have walked away with the 10 goals the crowd called for.
In an extremely rare visit by the Philadelphia Flyers, it was another battle of the netminders and Dubnyk once again won, this time shutting out the likes of Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr and at the same time showing the weaknesses of Ilya Bryzgalav. The Oilers would take the two points with a score of 2-0.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been skating without a non-contact jersey, and so we can only hope that his return is imminent. There is no rush to get Nugent-Hopkins back into the lineup, but it would be great for him to win the rookie of the year honours, and he still has a chance at that.
The Oklahoma City Barons are still at the top of their conference despite dropping two games this week and winning only one. The Barons have a second game against the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night.
One day after receiving the call to the Oklahoma City Barons, Stockton Thunder goaltender Olivier Roy was named goalie of the week runner up. This is a big award for the ECHL rookie.
The Stockton Thunder beat the Colorado Eagles by a score of 3-1 Monday, and the Bakersfield Condors 4-3 on Friday night. Currently, the Thunder at 5th in the Western Conference.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are home from a somewhat disappointing BC road trip. The Oil Kings played their first game at home Monday against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Oil Kings came back from a three goal deficit to earn a 5-4 victory. Wednesday was another disappointing loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. Oilers' prospect Kristians Pelss scored twice, but the Oil Kings still lost 6-4. Friday night was another victory for Edmonton over Calgary. The Oil Kings travelled to Calgary and in Oilers' prospect Travis Ewanyk's first game back since shoulder surgery beat the Hitmen 4-1. Pelss would earn another 2 points; a goal and an assist. This is still a player who was selected in the 7th round and hails from Latvia.
Of course the real excitement will be Monday, trade deadline day. It looks as though the Oilers may be silent on Monday, they're signing all of their players beforehand, well the ones who may have otherwise moved.
The Oilers' Top 25 Under 25: The Longshots - Copper & Blue
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - #2 in Copper & Blue's Top 25 Under 25 - Copper & Blue Reynolds
Top 25 Under 25 - Winter 2012 - Final Rankings - Copper & Blue Reynolds
Skulls And Bulls Invade The Cox Center Against The OKC Barons - Copper & Blue Rodgers
Ponder The Barons Postseason Roster - Copper & Blue Livingston
Top need for the Edmonton Oilers? Dubnyk/Khabi not cutting it, so a new starting goalie. - Cult of Hockey Staples
TAKE THIS AND THAT, TOO - Oilers Nation Brownlee
THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEFENSEMEN - Oilers Nation Strudwick
Tyler Bunz Leads WHL in Goaltender Wins and Assists - Oil Patch
Colten Teubert: ‘It’s Been a Bit of a Roller Coaster’ - Oil Patch