This afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers will finally put to rest another dismal season as they play their final game versus the Colorado Avalanche at 12 pm pacific.
As soon as the game ends at roughly 2pm pacific time, the entire Oilers organization will immediately make the necessary preparations in time for next fall, spear-headed by Head Coach Tom Renney.
"We want to put ourselves in a position, and you hear this from teams like ours, where we're playing games of meaning in April," said Tom Renney. "You want to win now, you really do.
"We understand that. But you have to have the right people in place that have the ability to cope with this process and that is the operative word."
"We have to put as many great young players in this lineup, with due process, as we can. That does take time. Turnarounds take a lot of patience, but they also take perseverance and a little bit of luck."
There has been ample amount of room for the young kids to step in and create a name for themselves. However, there are questions which need to be answered rather quickly about a few bodies who appear to be propped upon the picket fence.
One example is Jason Strudwick who after 14 years in the NHL is uncertain about his future as player, nevermind an Oiler.
"It's something I honestly haven't thought a lot about," Strudwick said. "It's a situation I'm very familiar with. It's something that, I think, when I first started this one-year contract run eight or nine years ago, I was a little more concerned. But at this point, you can't control a lot of it, you just have to play hard during the season and let things sort out."
Tom Renney, can't speak on Strudwick's behalf nor can he point out his fate. But he did offer his true feelings about the defenceman's professionalism.
"He's a real, solid person in every way," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. "The way he treats his teammates, the passion he brings to the game and just the wherewithal during his career and knowing everything from a players' perspective and how he shares that with everyone."
Another season with the Oilers probably won't hurt the club since the club is in dire need veterans, like Strudwick. He brings a soft, collected demeanor to the locker room and treats his teammates like gold. Players such as him are hard to find.
"He's been awesome," said defenceman Theo Peckham. "My first good stint in the NHL, I was partners with him for a while and he made it so much easier. He's one of the older guys on the team and he's so approachable. He doesn't just go about his business and just leave everybody to themselves.
Other players who remain in question are Steve MacIntyre and Colin Fraser; one could also add the likes of Gilbert Brule and of course Ales Hemsky who's contract expires next season.
As Oilers nation waits for next year, Taylor Hall spoke on behalf of his club and offered this statement to the fans.
"I think next year is the year where we try to make the playoffs," Hall said. "If any player comes in here thinking they want to have another rebuilding season, then that's not fair to fans, that's not fair to the organization..."