With one exception I hate the fall. It doesn’t last very long as is quickly replaced by winter:( I used to like winter, with the snow and everything, but then I spent two years in the deserts of south western USA and now I hate winter, especially in northern Canada. The insufferable cold, never ending snowfall to shovel, icy roads (complete with moronic drivers that either drive way too fast, or way too slow), never seeing the sun, and the fact that it seems to go on forever. When I was a graduate student I also hated the fall, but because the university campus would get insanely busy with undergrads, who as a whole are not very bright (no offence to any individual). These undergrads also seemed to get younger every year which, when combined with a September birthday, just serves to make me feel old. Mainly though, it is the coming winter that makes me dread the fall, and of course the one exception to my hatred of the fall is the start of hockey season.
I love hockey season, and have said for years that hockey (and curling to a much lesser extent) is the only good thing about winter. I have since revised that statement. The only good thing about winter in Canada is hockey. Winter is California has many good things about it, and they have hockey too. I think that is the only reason I would even partially consider supporting having a team in Phoenix; If I can ever afford it I wouldn’t mind wintering there and having a hockey team to watch would be nice. That said they should never have had a team there, and I would rather winter in California, though I’ll likely never be able to afford it so it doesn’t really matter…
Anyway, back to the fall. As the new guy I figured that with the coming fall I would share my opinion of the Oiler’s summer. First up, who’s out: Andrew Cogliano, Colin Fraser, Zach Stortini, JF Jaques, Steve Macintyre, Liam Reddox, Alexandre Giroux, Jason Strudwick, Jim Vandermeer, Kurtis Foster, and Martin Gerber. I was sad to see Cogs, Strudwick, Vandermeer and Gerber go. I’ve always liked Cogs, and when you only get a second rounder two years from now it stings a bit. Strudwick I can understand not resigning, but I think it would have been great to move him into a coaching/mentoring role of some type (of course that still may happen). Vandermeer may have started poorly last fall, but he was a reliable defender down the stretch. And Gerber, well, he could probably outplay Khabibulin blindfolded. Except for Macintyre I was mostly indifferent to the other departures. As much as I liked Macintyre (who didn’t like his knockout of Ivanans), he is not a hockey player, and he’s not mean enough to be a goon.
That brings us to who’s in: Lennart Petrell, Antti Tyrvainen, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Cam Barker, Eric Belanger, Andy Sutton, Corey Potter, Josh Green, Yann Danis, and Ryan Keller. In terms of additions I liked most of them, and the others I’m mostly indifferent to. I’ll start with the AHL players. Ryan Keller looks to have been brought in to replace Alexandre Giroux, who seems to light it up in the AHL, and then do nothing in the NHL. My feelings: mostly indifferent, if the Oilers feel Keller will be better for the organization, fine, if Giroux didn’t want to resign, well that’s just life. Green and the Finns will most likely fill the Reddox and others role of AHL player who gets called up when injuries strike. I’m not a big fan of Green, but I do like the signings of the two Finns. Hopefully at least one of them works out and stays for a long while… I do like the signing of Danis, but I would much rather see Gerber with the team, although after he was kept in OK city despite playing better than every other goalie in they system, I don’t think that was an option. The only other player to most likely start in the AHL is Potter, although he may turn out to be a useful player for the Oilers, so I’m indifferent bordering on happy with this addition. There were more changes to the farm team, but these are the ones most likely to impact the Oilers this season.
Next up I talk about the changes to the Oilers themselves