The biggest news of the week in Oil Country was of course the trade of defenceman Tom Gilbert to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenceman Nick Schultz in what can only be referred to as a hockey trade. The two are of similar age and pay and with Schultz being the the slightly more defensive player and Gilbert being the slightly more offensive player. Of course because Gilbert polarized players throughout his time with the Oilers, the divide only seemed to grow larger once he was moved.
Gilbert did get better defensively this season, and was playing top minutes with the Oilers, but on this Oilers team who were struggling with their defence rather than their goal scoring, something had to be done. Schultz is not a player that is going to stand out to you on any given night, so long as he is doing his job, but he grew up an Oilers fan and put up an assist his first night. There is something to be said about living your childhood dream, perhaps Schultz, like Smyth will play better with the Oilers than any other team.
Schultz was unable to wear 55, as that is Ben Eager's number and 5 was also already taken. Schultz then chose to wear 15, a number once worn by Joffrey Lupul, Marty Reasoner, and Kelly Buchberger among others.
The Oilers lost their Saturday matinee game against the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1, a game in which Tom Renney was finally healthy enough to coach again. Renney needed several weeks to recover from a concussion suffered during a team skating in Toronto. Ladislav Smid, the man whose errant puck struck the coach in the head is surely still hearing about the incident in the dressing room, but Renney was just the first to suffer a concussion this season. San Jose Sharks' coach Todd McLellan suffered a concussion Tuesday and will not return until he has been cleared by doctors.
Tuesday night hours aft the NHL trade deadline had come and gone the Oilers played for the first time in the modern Jets era in Winnipeg. The crowd the was loud and proud, but it was the Oilers would who would leave with a 5-3 victory that included points for rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in his healthy return to the ice. Nugent-Hopkins is back to his scoring ways and is still in the running for the Calder Trophy this year.
Wednesday night was less festive for the Oilers as they hosted the red hot St. Louis Blues and lost to the stingy defensive team. The Oilers would lose 5-2 and have only a single off day to lick their wounds. The time off was enough to give the team some life going into Friday night's game, but not enough to help them find a win in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
With the injury to Nikolai Khabibulin, this has been an excellent opportunity for the Oilers to see just what they have in Devan Dubnyk. Overall, Dubnyk has faired well, but he will need to play with more consistency.
The Oklahoma City Barons saw the addition of Anton Lander and Magnus Paajarvi this week. This of course opens up the possibility that there will be a tre kronor (three crowns) line, much like the Swedish national hockey jersey. Barons' assistant coach talk Team 1260's Jason Gregor Thursday afternoon that there was a strong possibility that that would indeed be a line during Friday night's game. The Barons will have a long string of bus trips ahead of them this weekend, giving the Swedes ample opportunity to spend together.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have guaranteed their playoff spot, and tickets are already on sale. The modern Oil Kings are having the best season and feature several players who are likely to be drafted this summer including fierce and mustachless Mitch Moroz.
Sunday afternoon, the Oil Kings stormed the Lethbridge Hurricanes by a score of 4-1. Wednesday, the team travelled to Cranbrook to play Drew Czerwonka and the Kootenay Ice. The Oil Kings would take this game by a score of 3-1 and will play two home games this weekend; Saturday and Sunday.
The Stockton Thunder saw the return of netminder Olivier Roy when Khabibulin returned to game shape Thursday, triggering the domino effect of return goalies. Jann Danis returned to the Barons, sending Roy back to Stockton.
Sunday, the Thunder lost 5-2 to the Bakersfield Condors and this weekend will play three games against the Alaska Aces. With as much travelling as is involved for these teams to face each other, three games doesn't sound as odd as it could.
OKC Barons Take On Texas At Home, Begin A Road Trip In Charlotte - Copper & Blue Rodgers
Meet Antti Tyrvainen - Agitator, Cook & Zamboni Crusher - Copper & Blue Livingston
The Oilers Through Three Quarters - Copper & Blue Reynolds
SHELDON SOURAY: BYGONES - Oilers Nation Brownlee
MAKING A DECISION ON LINUS OMARK - Oilers Nation Willis
Good bye Gibby - Oilers Nation Strudwick
Rock Steady - Oilers Nation Lowetide
Top of the Pops: Golden Bears Wall of Famer Ted Poplawski interviews with the Cult of Hockey - McCurdy
Bunz battles concussion issues - Cult of Hockey McCurdy
"Galchenyuk a Consideration at 2012 NHL Draft?" - Oilers Jambalaya
Another Day Older and Closer To Death - Black Dog Hates Skunks
Nugent-Hopkins and the Calder - Oilers Addict swin
Change is Good -Oilers Addict Brody
Fall Apart for Reinhart - Oil Patch