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Weekend Update: Shootouts Galore

The Oilers aren't off to the best start, not because of wins and losses, but rather the health of the players. Again.
The Oilers aren't off to the best start, not because of wins and losses, but rather the health of the players. Again.

The Edmonton Oilers are about to complete their first week of the 2011-12 NHL season. In that first week, 2 games played, and one player out due to injury. This is not exactly the start that the team or the fans would like to see. Some things are getting better, some things need more time, and it seems that some things never change. One thing that has changed, at least temporarily is the standings. Would you look at that? The Oilers are above the Calgary Flames. The Flames are so unhappy with their start, that the team had a players only, closed door meeting this year. Yikes! That seems to be a little premature doesn't it?

Yes, the Oilers won their opening night game in spectacular fashion. The fanfare for opening night inside the arena wasn’t as big as other years, but the excitement was still palpable. Is this the year that the Oilers don’t finish dead last? Most fans would say yes, and can’t wait to get to some exciting hockey.

In the first game, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got his first penalty, but was able to follow that up with his first NHL goal and it was after this game that people really seemed to appreciate what Nugent-Hopkins brings to the ice.

Devan Dubnyk got the starting job, and was spectacular. He let in the first goal, but then was lights out through the rest of the night. To many, Dubnyk’s start hinted at a change in philosophy in the team, but perhaps this indicated Dubnyk’s development and readiness more.

The Oilers would have to wait several days before their second game in Minnesota, and there was hope that perhaps one of the injured, day to day players like Ryan Whitney may return in time for this game, but alas, that was not to be.

The first period was good hockey; it looked as though the Oilers may beat the losing streak they have had in Minnesota, especially when Ryan Smyth scored his first goal as an Oiler (again) in the first and the Oilers seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Sadly, Ales Hemsky left the game after the first period, and would not return. Friday, we learned that the perhaps fragile winger would be getting an MRI and may be missing games due to his sore shoulder. And the Oilers did lose this game in a shootout, despite a good performance by Nikolai Khabibulin

The Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be a guest on after hours. As the Oilers do not play many CBC games, might as well enjoy the ones we get.

Monday night at

Rexall Place
is Smytty bobblehead night. The first 10,000 fans in the building will receive this coveted item, and I suspect there will be lineups to get into the building. The game is of course against the Zack Stortini-less Nashville Predators. The Predators assigned Stortini to their AHL affiliates the Milwaukee Admirals.

Oilers' prospect Ryan Martindale has earned and signed his 3 year entry level contract. After Martindale's training camp, this came as little surprise. So long as Martindale can maintain his effort level, Martindale can bring a lot to the team. 

Edmonton mayor Steve Mandel and Daryl Katz were invited to New York to meet with Daryl Katz. Upon their return city council had another meeting with what seems to be positive results. The Katz group has withdrawn their non-compete clause. There is still much to do, much to be decided, but it looks as though the ball is once again rollingwhen it comes to a new downtown arena. 

On Monday, Oilers’ defenceman Taylor Chorney was placed on waivers for the purpose of re-assignment to the Oklahoma Barons. Shockingly, Chorney never made it and was picked up by the St. Louis Blues. The Blues do have Carlo Colaiacovo on IR, but still the move didn’t seem as logical as it must have to the Blues. Chorney will have to play in the NHL, or the Oilers can claim him back should the Blues try to send him down. Through all of this, it is the Barons who will be most affected. The team needs another defenceman, especially now.

Speaking of Chorney, Aquila Productions has released a promo for the highly anticipated Oil Change Season 2. The first episode will air on Edmonton Citytv on October 21st, Rogers on the 22nd, and will most likely be available on the Oilers website for viewing after that. Unfortunately after contacting Aquila, I can tell you that they do not have any plans to sell season one on DVD… yet. 

The Oklahoma City Barons did not have the best start to their season, losing 7-0 to the Texas Stars. But Friday night against the San Antonio Rampage, the Barons found a 3-2 victory.  The Barons play several weekend games this season and play again Saturday night against the Texas Stars once again.

The Edmonton Oil Kings are off to a fantastic start this season and in fact were in first place after their roadtrip. Sunday night was a 4-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos. Tuesday a 5-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Wednesday was a 6-1 win over the Kootenay Ice, but Friday was a 6-3 loss to the Regina Pats. 

The Oil Kings will have a much lighter schedule next week, and don't play again until Wednesday night in what will be another Weiner Wednesday and another game on Friday when the Oil Kings host the Portland Winterhawks a team who had the most players at NHL training camps this season and looked to be in trouble, starting their season short of players. 

Oilers' prospect left winger Drew Czerwonka this week was named the captain of his Kootenay Ice. Last year, the Ice went all of the way to the Memorial Cup, and Czerwonka hopes to see his team get there again this year. 


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