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All the things I'm missin'… Are waiting at the end of my ride

Reading Matt’s post over at Battle of Alberta the other day, I was remiss in not mentioning the country bar scene from Blues Brothers as one of the best scenes in film. That rendition of Rawhide is just great, and in a really round about way, brings me to my topic today.

Lowetide often uses song lyrics as a starter for various posts, and I think the general theme in Rawhide fits what the Oilers need to do this year with their young players. Keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, keep them doggies rollin’ (Rawhide!)

There is a great big hole when it comes to veteran centres in this lineup. Behind Shawn Horcoff, second year NHL’ers Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Kyle Brodziak will likely be joined by no longer a girl, yet not quite a woman perennial prospect Marc Pouliot. The cautious, safe decision would be to acquire one of the veteran free agents (Brian Smolinski comes to mind) to fill a spot, take faceoffs and PK duty, and otherwise just help shelter some still-developing players. It would also be the wrong choice.

This is a pivotal year. It’s the year where the Oilers can throw the youngsters into a less sheltered role (add Robert Nilsson, Zach Stortini, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and Ladislav Smid to the above list) and make final decisions on bubble players (Rob Schremp, J-F Jacques, and recently acquired Ryan Potulny). It’s the final year to decide who to keep and who to get rid of, because it’s almost time for this team to make some real noise.