The biggest hockey news is not the Oilers' visit to the EA sports labs, nor is it any major signings or trades. No, the biggest hockey news at this point of the summer has to be the NHL's CBA negotiations. Or rather, we might be able to consider it lack of news. Right now, talks seem to be going no where and a lock out seems imminent, if only for a matter of a week or two. The reason we get the impression that it will not be another full season of no hockey, the talk doesn't see as desperate, and the NHLPA is discussing putting together a series of exhibition games, they are not discussing players moving to Europe for a year. Or more. Still NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that they have until September 15th to make a deal, otherwise it's a lock out. (You should of course be picturing David Bowie saying it's a walk off, right out of Zoolander.)
For more on the possible lockout and what are the key concerns for both parties, and the outcomes for the fan, Sportsnet's Mark Spector wrote an interesting piece looking at the myths from the last lockout and what has since happened, or not happened.
There is still some hockey going on at least, even amidst all of the Olympic excitement. It may not be the 1972 Summit Series, it may not carry the same excitement, but the Canada Russia challenge may hold a special excitement for Oilers fans, this is another opportunity to watch future Oiler Nail Yakupov play.
Now the series shifts to Halifax for game three which you will be able to watch Monday night on TSN, 4:30 MST.
Of course, should the NHL season be delayed there are still the red hot Oil Kings who will look to repeat last season's success and take it another step further. Taking in Oil King games will give you the opportunity to check out a few Oiler prospects, not just on the Oil King's team itself, but also when the Vancouver Giants come to town. This year more of the WHL Oiler prospects are on the Oil Kings than any other team, and there are fewer teams with prospects now that Tyler Bunz, Martin Marincin and likely Brendan Davidson have moved on, but WHL games always hold the possibility of showcasing the next wave of Oiler prospects. You just never know who the Oilers will select at next year's NHL entry draft, but you know that they will want to keep an eye on one Curtis Lazar. Even though it would be another abismal finish to land him.
And of course, the Oklahoma Oilers, the Barons will have their season start regardless of the Oilers situation. With OKC games may not be as close for those in Edmonton, you can count on the Oilers sending crews and working with the Barons to provide coverage for the hockey rabid fans of Edmonton.
Speaking of an Oilers' finish, the Oilers have been projected to finish last every season for as long as we can remember by The Hockey News. This season, the Oilers are projected to finish 13th in the west. Is that accurate, will the Oilers make only such small gains with the clock ticking on young players such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? The smart money says that is an accurate prediction, given that only Justin Shultz has been added to the Oilers back end, and only Cam Barker has been removed, but of course we hope for more. Of course we feel the Oilers have to compete for a playoff spot this season or their rebuild is teetering on failure.