Weekend Update: Ups and Downs

Griffin Reinhart is ready for what may be the most important games he will play going into this year's NHL entry draft. Photo by Lisa McRitchie all rights reserved

There was little news from the Oilers this week. A concussed Taylor Hall did make the trip with the Oilers, but perhaps that is because this trip included stops in Florida and Nashville. Who would pass up a trip like that with some of your best friends?

The Oilers hosted the Phoenix Coyotes Sunday night, but lost 3-2 in a shoot out. The Yotes win helped to keep the team's playoff hopes alive, and made things a little more difficult for the Flames at the same time. So in Oil Country at least, this loss was acceptable.

Tuesday, the team travelled to Nashville where they took on the Predators in what has become an easy win for the team. Easy, despite only getting half as many shots as their opponents. But it was mainly due to a hat trick from Ales Hemsky that the Oilers won 6-3.

Thursday night was showdown of the oldie golaies as ex-Lightning Nikolai Khabibulin faced off against ex-Oiler Dwayne Roloson. In the end the Lightning would take this one 3-2, but the real winner may have been Ladislav Smid who added to his goal total once again. Smid has been invaluable to this organization this season.

Friday night was the second part of a back-to-back against the Florida Panthers in Miami and the Oilers took it down in a shootout. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins iced the game with a backhand winner in the shootout.

Oilers' prospect defenceman Taylor Fedun has been working diligently on his recovery, and remarkably, it looks as though Fedun will make a full recovery.

The Edmonton Oil Kings kicked off their first round of the playoffs Friday night in Edmonton taking on Oilers' prospect Drew Czerwonka and the Kootenay Ice. If you missed out on Friday night's game, the Oil Kings next home game is Sunday night at 5pm MST. The Oil Kings are the WHL team of three Oilers' prospects: Travis Ewanyk, Martin Gernat and Kristians Pelss and the big story line will be the battle of the Reinhart brothers. Defenceman Griffin Reinhart is an Oil King while both his older and younger brother play forward and for the Kootenay Ice.

In ECHL/AHL news, Cameron Abney was returned once again to the Thunder from the Oklahoma City Barons. Abney played a total of 12 games with the Barons this season, and now looks to aid the Thunder in their post season pursuit.

Sunday night the Thunder beat the Utah Grizzlies 4-2 but lost Wednesday night 4-1 to the Ontario Reign. The loss won't affect the standings much as the Thunder have already clinched a playoff spot, with the remaining five games will be playing for final position.

Down on the farm, the Barons have another three game weekend schedule ahead of them. Fortunately, all three are home games and so travel will not be a requirement. The Barons are still on top of their division and conference, and are 6 points behind the league leading Norfolk Admirals. Eric Rdogers has written an in depth summary of the Barons' most recent games; the Barons won three of their past four, only losing their last game in the shoot out.

Edmonton Oilers' prospect goaltender [of the future] Tyler Bunz was signed to a three year entry level contract on Monday. Bunz said the signing was nearly as exciting as being drafted. Things did get even better for Bunz this week as the crown stays the impaired driving charges against him from last May.

Making for even better press, Bunz is looking to organize a charity softball tournament this summer in St. Albert. In order to participate, Bunz asks that you send him an email stating your interest to tbunzcharitysoftball@hotmail.ca You can also check out the facebook page Bunz has put together. While most hockey players tend to organize golf tournaments, like Joffrey Lupul's Bunz's softball tournament could turn into something big.

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