Friday, September 28, 2007
Interesting article about the Oilers at TSN.ca from Canadian Press. The main focus is on the play of Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson and Brodziak but there are references to the rebuilt D and the play of Mathieu Garon as well as the fitness of the returning veterans. Horcoff is described as "tearing up the ice" in the preseason and Pitkanen also comes in for a positive mention.
Good stuff, especially seeing as its from an outside source rather then the Oilers, the Edmonton media or us (the fans) who want to put last year's debacle behind us.
TSN has the Oilers ranked 27th to start the year but they sound intrigued by the potential of the kids, the rebuilt D and the probable rebound of so many veterans who had terrible years last season.
I think that this year's club is going to be better then expected. While Adam Proteau crowed about how his prediction about the Oilers was in the ballpark last spring (although not a word from him when the Oilers were leading the division in December - frontrunner!) he also made no reference to the fact that injuries to nearly half the roster had a lot to do with the freefall - quality work , pal. In other words, a relatively healthy Oilers' squad doesn't make the playoffs last year but they don't crash and burn either if Staios, Tjarnqvist, Hejda, Moreau, Stoll, Hemsky etc etc aren't hurt.
Not likely a playoff team this season - man they would need everything to go right and a lot of teams to crash and burn, but I think we're looking at around a tenth place finish. Look at a team like the Kings who everyone is picking to finish ahead of the Oilers despite the fact that they don't have an NHL goaltender right now.
What I liked about this camp is something I touched on in August - a return to the pre Cup mentality. The veterans are hungry and they are taking nothing for granted. Some say intangibles don't matter but the fitness level of Torres, Reasoner, Stoll, Moreau, Staios, Hemsky and Horcoff is outstanding and will make a difference. It also exhibits an edge that this team lost last summer, imo.
What I loved about this camp is that it has brought hope back to Oiler fans. I am talking about this year but more about next year and the years to follow. Cogliano, Gagner, Brodziak, Nilsson, Gilbert - all have had impressive camps and could make this team on the merits of what they have shown. Grebeskov has shown flashes and will stick. Pitkanen and Hemsky are still just kids really. Stoll and Penner too. Smid has looked like he may be ready to take the next step. And then there is Trukhno who has lived up to Lowetide's expectations, O'Marra who may indeed be a player and Almtorp who may be a guy who can play a role down the road.
And we haven't mentioned Schremp who McKeen's ranks in their top 100 prospects list despite his struggles last season. Kid had a decent camp coming off an injury remember. And Jacques who may be figuring it out. (Interesting note in McKeens - I just bought it - can you tell? - about Jacques and how he is miscast as a fourth line energy guy). And Stortini who has improved his skating and strength. And Thoresen. And even poor Pouliot who looks like he may not know what has hit him as he likely heads to Springfield.
We all know that some of these kids will get derailed at some point but the fact is I don't think we'd want Lowe to trade a whole lot of these guys for Don Awrey or someone to replace Fernando Pisani. Adding an Awrey and having Pisani return doesn't get this team into the playoffs (although it would make them better obviously - these kids are going to take their lumps). We are rebuilding and I want to make sure that when Trukhno scores twenty five goals in 2011 and Cogliano is a terrific two way pivot scoring seventy points and Gilbert is quarterbacking the PP and O'Marra is a twenty goal scorer who can shut down whoever you want and Gagner and Nilsson and Brodziak and Peckham and Petry and Chorney and whomever you like is doing what they may be capable of doing that they are doing it in copper and blue. Hopefully with Hemsky and Horcoff and Pitkanen and Smid leading the way.
Posted by Black Dog at 10:05 PM