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(Photo from the CBC)

When I first heard that Ryan Smyth was retiring, it was the hot topic of the day not just among my friends and other hockey fans alike, but a hot topic for all Edmontonians. I had been expecting it for some time, but even then, I needed some time to digest the news. The weekend was defined by Smyth’s last game and capped off by a classy move by Andrew Ference to let him truly retire as Captain Canada by giving him the captain’s “C.”

 

I didn’t feel the time was right to write – so I didn’t say anything at the time.

 

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A Reason to Be Excited

A Reason to Be Excited

As an Oilers fan, by now you must know that cheering for this team requires you to ride through some bumps and this includes a lot of highs and lows. This is sometimes pure agony and sometimes pure ecstasy.

The last decade has seen a lot of this.

From the Cup finals to years of finishing just outside of playoff contention… then finishing dead last or next to dead last for a few years in a row…

What does this year hold in store?

The Oilers have traditionally been quick starters. Last year they were near the top of the division and league for a while before injuries struck.

Injuries can still happen even with a shortened season and the established quick pace.

But it’s hard not to believe – like Yakupov does – that there’s finally a reason to be excited.

horcoff

With the Oilers’ announcement that the new assistant captains were Eberle, Hall and Schultz, there effectively was a “changing of the guard” happening.

For many years the Oilers have looked to Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky to do the heavy lifting on this team. Smyth has gone and returned. Horcoff and Hemsky have been serving this team as veterans since the summer of 2006. Hemsky and Horcoff have both seen their fair share of injuries and together with Smyth they probably aren’t the same players they used to be. But nonetheless, they have been the “go to guys” on this team for many years.

But not for much longer.

Since the 2006-07 season the Oilers have been in transition to a younger, faster team. With this rebuilding phase comes its own aches and pains and besides the high draft picks that come with the process there is also a drawn-out growth process where team has to learn how to play team defense and learn how to win again.

It is because of that I don’t see this as a slight on Hemsky, Smyth or Whitney.

These wily veterans may have given up their letters, and – eventually – so will Horcoff and his “C.”

But that’s not today or any time this season.

Rather, it is a call to duty and a challenger presented to the next wave of Oilers. These are the guys who have been the wonder kids for a few years now and Ralph Krueger is saying to them, it’s time to stop talking about the potential of the future, but rather, time to start seeing some results. Schultz is a sign that the team will value a return to team defense. Hall and Eberle represent the two biggest contracts on this team starting next year and with the letter comes the responsibility of being the impact players on the team.

It’s not too soon to do this, as some might think.

It’s about time, I would say.

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P.S. It was hilarious to read some of the criticisms and comments of hockey fans from outside of Edmonton. Apparently some people didn’t realize the assistant captain’s “A” had gone to Nick Schultz and not Justin Schultz.

We’re back…

It’s been about 2 years since we posted but we’re back.

New content coming soon. Stay tuned!

Oilersrefinery.tk

We’ve updated and moved to a new host at the same address.

Check it out at Oilersrefinery.tk

Here, let uncle Zach polish off your nose.

Here, let uncle Zach polish off your nose.

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 2009 ON OUR ORIGINAL BLOG.

THIS IS A TEST PAGE THAT WE REPOSTED.

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls.

It’s just the pre-season and I’m getting the jitters.

Just a couple of thoughts on the team right now:

  • Boy, is that Rob Schremp guy gifted or what? His perfect pass had me mistaking Tom Gilbert for Sheldon Souray
  • Jeff DesLauriers looks up to the task of starting a good chunk of the Oilers’ games this season
  • Mike Comrie could turn out to be steal of the 2009 UFA season, depending on how (McKee, Bertuzzi and Prospal turn out on their respective teams)
  • Shawn Horcoff looks healthy
  • If there ever was a reason for why Kenta’s boy was shipped out of Edmonton, his name would be Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Or Dustin Penner (but for different reasons altogether)

Check back soon for updates on CLS Re-draft developments and a link to my upcoming HockeyBarn article.

Jason Smith Tributes

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Jason Smith, former Oilers captain (and the longest one to boot) retired this week.

He will be missed.

I made that wallpaper a long time ago but now’s a better time to release it than any.

Here’s some other stuff from the Oilogosphere:

Glimpses of Gator

And I guess the Oilers and the Oil faithful did it better and best than anyone else with this:

http://www.youtube.com/v/x3TjXLjBlIs&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6

Comrie back in Edmonton?

0-with-chara,-comrie

Check it out, it's Souray, Comrie, and Chara. Ol' buddies.

I believe Comrie to be underqualified for the third line centerman position and overqualified for the fourth line center position. But a guy who produces offense like he does comes relatively cheap at 1.3 million, and produces offense even on bad teams playing tough opposition.

Is he a better option than any of the current centermen?

It’s sad but he’s definitely better than either Pouliot or Brule, but whether or not he’s good enough to supplant Sam Gagner at the 2C position is up for debate. I certainly wouldn’t delay Gagner’s development by bringing back a relic of Oilers history. He’s certainly more experienced, but Gagner’s ceiling is much, much higher.

As for supplanting Horcoff, if he replaced Horcoff on the first line, I would seriously reconsider being a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, because that would be plain stupid.

The only reason Gagner should be supplanted as second line center is if Pat Quinn wants to roll four lines and protect the kid line from tougher competition. This can only be achieved if one or more of the current small skilled forwards are moved A.S.A.P. This would mean one or more of Nilsson, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, or Brule would be gone (not Gagner, of course).

Is it worth it?

Oilers Have Something to Prove

visnovsky09as

It’s been a long off-season and I can’t wait to see what the healthy Oilers squad can do.

There’s a lot of cynicism online as to the inactivity of the Oilers GM, and to a certain extent I share some of their views (specifically when it comes to the Center position). But in the end, a lot of players are due for their chance to show the Oilers what they can do.

The only bass ackwards thing about it is that it seems they’ve been handed the job without even having to tryout.

Why have training camp if Pouliot and Brule are slotted in for those positions?

Competition is the only way to push players to perform.

We need an established checking center.

#244 – Todd Bertuzzi to the Edmonton Oilers

bertuzzi_todd_031004

Guys, he’s really, really sorry, OK?!?!

Cap Hit: $1,500,000

#272 – Jay McKee to the Edmonton Oilers

Dallas_Stars_vs_St_Louis_Blues
Jay McKee spells it “Mark Perish.”
mckee

Cap Hit: $800,000

I wanted to add some size to my wing and to my defense without paying the big dollars.

Looking at the stats, I couldn’t let these two slip away.

Jay McKee is a shot-blocking machine who destroys people who enter his zone. Last year, he was more defensively reliable (though offensively challenged) than his wealthier counterpart, Barrett Jackman. Though Jackman faced some pretty high competition, McKee was not exactly sleeping either when he waltzed to a +11 rating. His Corsi could be much better but he’s not the same young buck he was in his Buffalo days. Paired with the right offensive blueliner, McKee could be rather useful and could become my favourite sleeper pick so far this draft.

At the time, it was between picking Todd Bertuzzday and Curtis Glencross. I love Glencross’ speed and style of play, but at the end of the day I needed to choose the player who would better settle into a 2nd line role. Plus, Glencross left the Oilers to play in Cow Town and that’s a big no-no. Bertuzzi has size and skill, and past experience in a 1st line role. This may not factor much into the video game itself, but for now, he’s cheaper than drafting Dustin Penner.

However, many people say Bertuzzi doesn’t have enough character.

In my opinion, Bertuzzi has paid his dues for  what he did to Steve Moore. What he did, in some ways, is more justified (yeah, I can’t believe that I’m saying this) than what Dale Hunter did to Pierre Turgeon or what Claude Lemieux did to Kris Draper. Because face it, the argument about pre-meditation is less relevant to me when you consider Moore is not exactly John Grisham’s the “Innocent Man” as he made his own dirty hit on Naslund and he had retribution coming to him.

Bertuzzi took it overboard with the punishment, but it was beckoning like the second coming of Christ. And that’s the last time I side with the Canucks on any issue.

CLS Re-draft

Cycle Like The Sedins is doing a Fantasy Draft of the NHL and all the teams’ GMs are represented by a blogger(s) from each city. Yours truly is representing the Edmonton Oilers. I plan to draft a checking center and a #1 goalie next.

The winner is determined on a full season and playoffs simulation of the new EA Sports game NHL 10 coming out in September.

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