An Edmonton Oilers Fan In Spring


It is a beautiful May evening in Alberta, the post-election “hell” talked about by so many not so much in evidence tonight. And like many other people in Edmonton, this time of year, my thoughts soon begin to wander…to hockey season. And no, not to the Montreal-Tampa Bay game.

Yes, I am a hockey fan, but every other team in the NHL is 3rd, next to my Edmonton Oilers. And so when that 1st Period shot flew over Ben Bishop‘s shoulder, my 1st thought was: Huh! So that DOES happen to goalies other than ours!

Bam! Just like that, while I’m still watching the Habs and Bolts, I’m thinking…Oilers. 9 Things:

9. Yes, it would have been nice to have FA goaltender Matt O’Connor. But lets be clear: O’Connor was not going to help the Edmonton Oilers this season. Laurent Brossoit is ahead of him, and Brossoit is unlikely to get more than a cup of coffee next season either. We WILL have a “real” #1 goaltender next year.

8. Todd McLelland is a professional. He is focused on coaching Canada at Worlds. But don’t tell me for a moment that he isn’t watching Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle light up the opposition, and going “Hmmmmm”. I think it’s a tell that he has 4 & 14 playing with Sidney Crosby. He will be the next Oilers coach. They will NOT wait for Babcock.

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7. Having said that, even if the seas part and Mike Babcock accepts a $5,000,000 pay-day from Darryl Katz, acquiring a new coach is NOT Job #1 for Peter Chiarelli. It’s getting a goaltender. And next on the list, a top-pairing D-man. Both of those things are more urgent than replacing Todd Nelson.

6. Yes, Craig MacTavish should have handled the Jeff Petry situation differently. But as I watch Petry this Spring, I think “He is not as bad as many claimed, but also not as good as some thought”. Jeff Petry is what he is: A good, 2nd pairing NHL defenceman. Period.

5. As I watch the physically punishing ordeal that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I think to myself: “Self…why on earth do some people want to trade away the hulking Leon Draisaitl”?? The 4-some of McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Lander and Gordon is smaller than what is normally required to win a cup.

4. I don’t hate Martin Marincin. I merely believe that he is overrated by many. Exhibit “A” is the AHL playoffs, where Marincin is struggling. He is being out-played by AHL players by AHL defencemen, in Brandon Davidson and and Brad Hunt. If he cannot dominate at that level, with his experience? I don’t like his chances.

3. Besides, Darnell Nurse is in OKC now. And if Nurse continues to play in the AHL as he did against Connor McDavid and at World Juniors, Marincin will fall one more peg on the old depth chart. I fully expect Marincin to be dealt this Spring. And if he comes out of camp in the Top 6, Nurse will begin the season in Edmonton.

2. I’m pleased to see Jordan Eberle play well at World’s, but he was the Edmonton Oilers best player the last half of the season, so I am not surprised. Who I am THRILLED to see dominating against very good competition is Taylor Hall. He is proving what I believe: He is an elite NHL player. And if you don’t see that, too, then we agree to disagree…to say the least.

1. I popped out of the office earlier this week, to grab a Starbucks. There’s one on practically every street corner these days, so there was really no need for me to drive from 99th & The Whitemud all the way downtown, for my low-fat Venti Mocha. But if I don’t, then I miss an opportunity to drive by the rapidly evolving Rogers Place. Which future banners might those steel girders bear, now that a new day has apparently arrived in our amazing city?

Which, indeed.

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