Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oilers Update - Sheldon Souray placed on unconditional waivers.

Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, has placed 35 year-old defenseman Sheldon Souray on "unconditional waivers with the purpose of being bought out," TSN.   

It appears that no other NHL team is interested with the disgruntled native from Elk Lake, Alberta who is now on the brink of being bought out.

In my opinion, the Edmonton Oilers/Sheldon Souray saga has finally come to an end.  There is no other way for the two sides to part ways except for the imminent buy-out.  

The amount remaining in Souray's contract is $4.5 million.  Souray signed with the Oilers in 2007 and was brought in to be an offensive defenseman. Unfortunately, after enduring some key injuries, Souray only managed to score 30 goals in 3 seasons with the Oilers. 

Then in 2010, Souray uttered some scathing remarks towards the Edmonton Oilers which is what ultimately sent him to the minors. 

"I want a trade. "I do," Souray said. "Yes, I do want a trade."

 "It’s not a players thing. It’s not a fans thing or a city thing. It’s a management thing. They’ve given up on me, and it’s a two-way street. Management has soured on me, and I’ve soured on them." said Souray.

After his public blast, Tambellini punished the defenseman by sending Souray to the Hershey Bears of the AHL.  During his time there, Souray managed only 19 points in 40 games

Below is an explanation of what is left on Souray's contract and what the Oilers will have to forfeit.

"’s two-thirds over his $4.5 million salary and two-thirds of his $5.4 million cap hit for this upcoming season." The Gazette

"The payout for Souray, who turns 35 on July 13, would be spread out, double the length of the time left on Souray’s deal. They would be on the hook for about $1.5 million in salary for this year and next, and approximately $1.8 million on the cap for 2011-12 and 2012-13." The Gazette.

Read more:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oilers Update - Ryan Smyth Returns to the Edmonton Oilers...No Joke!

It is FINALLY official, the Edmonton Oilers found the right deal to bring in Ryan Smyth from the LA Kings for Colin Fraser and a 7th round pick in the 2012 Draft.

During the 2011 NHL Draft, there were reports of a possible deal involving Ryan Smyth in exchange for Oilers forward Gilbert Brule.  After TSN broke the news that both sides had reached a deal, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini announced that the deal was put on hold, due to some health issues involving Gilbert Brule.

Instead, the LA Kings opted to pick up underachieving, 26 year-old Colin Fraser, who had an abysmal season with the Oilers last season.  Fraser managed only 5 points in 67 games and for the latter part of the season was a healthy scratch for more than a hand-full of games.

Ryan Smyth on the other hand played a full 82 games, with the LA Kings and earned 47 points with 23 tucks last season.  Smyth left the Oilers in 2007 and found a new home with the New York Islanders and only played 18 games before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche the following year.  After spending 2 years with the Av's, Smyth found himself in LA-LA Land in 2009 and posted 100 points for the club in 2 seasons.

At the present moment, this trade is a brilliant one for the Oilers and a horrible one for the LA Kings.  There is NO doubt that Oil Country will embrace the Mullet Man when he steps on the ice at Rexall this coming season, and now it's up to #94 to live up to the hype.

With the return of Smyth, it is somewhat imminent that Tom Renney will re-unite Smyth with  Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky.  The upside is that it is quite possible the trio could put up same numbers they did during the 2006 Cup run. While it is wishful thinking, it is worth the experiment; especially now that Ales Hemsky is healthy, it is more than likely he will remain with the Edmonton Oilers for the remainder of his contract.  

What is glaringly obvious and one that all Oilers fans should understand is that, Ryan Smyth's return will be a short one given his age; and the fact that the Oilers have a lovely over abundance of talent waiting to be slotted into the line-up.

Enjoy the nostalgia while it last folks, though remember the players we had to give up in the last 4 years to find H.O.P.E. etc.

In the mean time.

Welcome back Ryan Smyth.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oilers Update - Oilers Welcome Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Edmonton Oilers fans can finally take a deep breath after witnessing a very entertaining weekend in St. Paul Minnesota.

With the number one pick, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini went up to the podium with a golden smile and announced the Oilers newest member: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

First overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers poses for a photo portrait during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.Every hockey pundit and expert predicted for Nugent-Hopkins to go numero uno and there is no doubt in the minds of all Oilers fans that Hopkins is the best choice.  For Nugent-Hopkins, he is still trying to shake off some of the nerves.

“I don’t know what was going through my head. I was just so happy to hear my name,” said Nugent-Hopkins. 

“Coming into Edmonton as much as I did, I’ve seen the pictures of the old teams. To join a franchise like the Oilers, that’s a really good feeling” he said.

Clearly, Nugent-Hopkins is aware of the Oilers dynasty and the many players who literally left their numbers up in the rafters.  With so many young talented players already in the mix of the organization, it is almost impossible to ignore a brand new vibe in the making.  With Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and now the newest addition with Nugent-Hopkins, could there be another dynasty on the horizon in the City of Champions? 

"I joined a rebuilding Red Deer team last season and I really liked what we accomplished there in my two years. Edmonton’s going through the same thing, only in the NHL. The ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup and doing it in a rebuild ... I’d like that,” he said.

For those who are unaware of the skill and the ability from that lanky kid from Burnaby, B.C, there is something very uncanny about him worth noting.  While it is very impossible to compare an unproven rookie with any of the NHL Hall of Famers, Chief Scout of Hockey Canada, Kevin Prendergast is convinced that Hopkins plays like that skinny guy from Brantford, Ont.

"Who does he play like? I hate to say it, but it’s Gretzky. He’s not big, they say he’s not that fast, but he’ll play in traffic. The puck follows him around and if he loses it, he goes and gets it back. He’s got the Detroit (Red Wings) mentality there.”  (watch video and see why)

At any rate what the Oilers do have in the arsenal is a high end #1 centre.  The kid can pass, shoot and has the vision, the hockey sense and the ability, to make the rest of his players around him better.

Couple him with Taylor Hall and/or Jordan Eberle and you will probably be witnessing the most dynamic and scariest lines in the NHL.  

However, to foreshadow the events for the newly anointed #1 pick, it is safe to say that  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will find himself back in Red Deer and perhaps be given a shot at a Gold Medal at the World Juniors in December.

Don't worry folks, the wait will be worth it.

Believe it.

“That wouldn’t disappoint me, playing again in Red Deer. Another year in junior wouldn’t hurt me,” he said.

And it certainly won't hurt the Oilers.

Day 2 of the 2011 Entry Draft Oilers Picks

The Edmonton Oilers finished their second day at the draft and picked up a couple of names very familiar to the Oilers past.

Chosen at 31st David Musil and Dillon Simpson (92nd) are son's of former Oilers Frank Musil and Craig Simpson. 

Below is the rest of the players picked up by the Oilers in order.

Draft Day 1

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C) 1st 
Oscar Klefbom (D) 19th 

Draft Day 2

David Musil (D) 31st, 
Samu Perhonen (G) 62nd
Travis Ewanyk (LW) 74th 
Dillon Simpson (D) 92nd 
Tobias Rieder (C) 114th 
Martin Gernat (D) 122nd 
Frans Tuohimaa (G) 182nd overall

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oilers Update - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1st Round Pick 2011 Entry Draft!

The Edmonton Oilers are so select, from the Red Deer Rebels, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  The Rebel was selected first over-all at the 2011 Entry Draft in Minneapolis Minnesota.  After months of speculation, the Edmonton Oilers, finally leaned towards the young scoring phenom who becomes the first British Columbian to be selected first overall.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins accompanied with Taylor Hall, welcomed his new club and donned a white retro Oilers jersey.

The imminent plan for Hopkins would be to send him back to his Jr. squad in Red Deer for some seasoning.  It is also speculated that Nugent-Hopkins will find himself on the Canadian Jr. Team for a shot at a Gold Medal at the IIHF Junior Tournament in Calgary/Edmonton.

The Oilers also had the 19th pick and chose defenseman Oscar Klefbom who currently plays for Farjestad Sweden.

More information about Kelfbom coming soon.

It was reported that Ryan Smyth will be an Oiler once again. It appears that Gilbert Brule  will be heading to L.A. along with a 5th round pick.   According to Dan Tencer's tweet "Smyth deal is not official. Refused further comment." @dantencer

It was also reported moments ago from @TSNBobMacKenzie via twitter. 

"Confusion reigns supreme on Smyth to EDM deal. Tambellini says it's not done. Misunderstanding on terms of conditional draft pick. Hmmm."

While we wait for the the final word to break from the Edmonton Oilers, please enjoy the video provided below.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oilers Update Jonathan Huberdeau, Top 5 Prospects NHL 2011 Draft

He finished the 2010/11 season with 105 points in 67 games.  In the process, he helped the Saint John Sea Dogs win it's first ever C.H.L. Championship this past May and also collected MVP honors during the tournament.  

Meet Jonathan Huberdeau, a 6'1" 168 pound centerman who is arguably slated to go between 3rd and 6th at this years NHL Entry Draft.

Those who have been following Huberdeau will out right draw comparisons to that of Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, due his play making abilities and super quick hands.  

"He’s the type of player who can change the outcome of a game suddenly and quickly,” said scout Chris Bordeleau to “He’s displayed unbelievably quick hands and an ability to set up and score goals. He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability.”
“Once he puts on 10 or 15 pounds, he should be awesome,” Bordeleau said. “He’s also gritty and does not back down when challenged. As far as I’m concerned, he’s as good as the top three guys.  It’ll be interesting to see where he finishes up at the final meeting. Jonathan is in his first full year in the league and Couturier is in his third."

Edmonton Oilers head scout Stu Macgregor can only echo the same sentiments as Bordeleau. 

"He's only 170 pounds. He needs to get stronger to be able to take his game forward and be able to play in the areas that he likes to play in, which is in and around the net." said Macgregor 

"A very solid second-line player. It depends where he plays. He plays wing now, but he played centre when he first came into the league. What will he be in the NHL? He could be a centre." 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oilers Update - Sean Couturier, Top 5 Prospects NHL 2011 Draft

He stands 6'4", weighs 195 pounds and plays Centre.  Did you hear that Stu MacGregor?  Sean Couturier, is the precise pivot who has been missing in the Oilers line-up since, well...forever.  

Slated to go 4th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the native of Phoenix, Arizona can easily be compared to Big Joe Thornton.  Akin to Thornton, Couturier has size, vision and plays with a serious, physical edge.  

However, what makes really makes Couturier a prized commodity in this years draft was his ability to score 96 points in back to back seasons.  

Moreover in 2009, Couturier won the QMJHL scoring title at the tender age of 17.  A feat which hasn't been matched since some guy name Sidney Crosby did so 6 years ago. 

'We seem to click out there and the passes are on the tape,'' said line-mate Louis Leblanc. ''He protects the puck and sees the ice really well. He's a good overall package.'' 

Couturier is exactly that  "a complete package".  He is very strong on the puck and has all the tools to be sound two-way forward.   

While hockey pundits see Couturier as an offensive forward, the Drummondville Voltigeurs pivot has a lot more to bring.
''He played for us last summer at the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament and took on a role as a shut-down centre playing against the best players from all the other countries. said  Team Canada Junior Scout, Al Murray.  "He's shown us at the international level, on the big ice surface, that he can skate and play defensively.

''He brings that to the Quebec league as well as being the leading scorer in the league, so I don't think there's anything that Sean hasn't been able to do at the junior level. He's been on our radar for a number of years."

''It's important for me to play a good defensive game,'' Couturier said. ''That's where all my offence starts...getting the puck out and going on attack."

''You want to be that guy at the end of the game that you can count on defensively to shut down and not get scored on. You always want to be in those key moments.''

Couturier's last statement speaks volumes.  

In 2009, he also posted a remarkable -62 rating.

Next up...Jonathan Huberdeau

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oilers Update - Oilers Update Welcomes the Victoria Royals Jr. A Squad.

Last night, Victorians and the rest of the Junior hockey world finally found out the name and the and the logo for the new WHL Junior A Squad.

Introducing the Victoria Royals.

After many years of speculation, Victoria will once again have a Junior A team to cheer for come this September. 

The beautiful city of Victoria hasn't had a Tier 1 club since the Victoria Cougars fled to Prince George in 1993.

Good luck to the Royals!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oilers Update - Ryan Smyth back to Edmonton?

No word of a lie.  TSN's Bob McKenzie announced that 35 year-old Ryan Smyth would like to be an Oiler once again, barring a trade would permit.

I implore you to read the link provided and to give your thoughts about the latest news which is now making headlines around the NHL.

I need to remind you all first and foremost, that Smyth left under his own volition when he couldn't strike a deal with then GM, Kevin Lowe.  In fact, #94 left in 2007, crying in front reporters before heading to the Islanders.

While many will embrace the return of Ryan Smyth, I on the other can't really fathom the idea, primarily since he wanted to leave for more money. 

The tears he shed, left a bitter taste in my mouth; and after using Scope for 4 years...the aftertaste hasn't gone away.

Though perhaps I am being a little harsh on Smyth.  I mean, heck if Edmontonians can forgive the likes of Mike Comrie, then perhaps I should switch to a different mouth wash.

Among the Tweeters who have shared their ideas about Smyth, most are willing to see #94 on the 3rd line with perhaps Jones and Jacques.  It is also glaringly obvious that the Horcoff, Hemsky, and Smyth line could once again be reunited on a top line, though would we see the same results we did in 2006? Er...possibly not.  Though, what is needed within the ranks of the Oilers, is more vetern leadership to coddle the baby-faced Oilers during the long intensive re-build.

There is one pressing factor which needs to be answered: Who and/or what would you give up for the return of Ryan Smyth?

While we wait for the rest of the story to unfold, we have a few picks to worry about this Friday.  

More to come!

BREAKING NEWS SMYTH IS NOW AN OILER!  Follow the link below for details.

If you feel so inclined, join the Facebook page for Ryan Smyth.

Oilers Update - Gabriel Landeskog Top 5 Prospects NHL 2011 Draft

According to some of NHL scouts, grit and grind and leadership is best the way to sum up the prowess of Swedish forward, Gabriel Landeskog. 

Landeskog, a 6'1" 207 pound product from Stockholm Sweden, made headlines in Kitchener Ont., when it was announced that his Rangers sweater was stitched with the letter 'C' .  Within major junior hockey, it is almost unheard of for a 17 year-old import to be handed a the torch to lead his club; yet, what Landeskog brings to his Rangers is everything what a Captain should have under the belt: grit, grind and some skill.  

Obviously, a Captain doesn't stop there, and the left winger understands the concept of being a leader on and especially off the ice. 

Landeskog, is a natural born leader who also offers his time, help and patience to his surrounding teammates.  In fact, it was noted by his coaching staff that he is willing to help the players within the weight room and even take them out for dinner.  

"He was a great teammate," said Rangers Jeremy Morin. "Those guys coming overseas here, you don't really know what to expect, but he was a great guy, one of my linemates. He brought a lot of energy to the team and he was a great leader.

"He's a very physical guy. He's the nicest guy off the ice, but when you get him on the ice and into a uniform, he finishes his checks and plays hard."

For Landeskog, the characteristics of a being leader doesn't have to be represented with a letter.  

"Doesn't matter if I have an 'A' or a 'C' on my chest or nothing, I'm still the same person. I am vocal in the room and on the bench. It's all about being a pro on and off the ice and being a leader and trying to get the boys going." said Landeskog.

Landeskog finished the 2010/11 season with 36 goals and 30 assists in 53 games.  According to one scout, he may not produce the same amount of numbers in the NHL primarily because without the puck, Landeskog makes every effort to play the defensive role within an instant. 

In terms of sandpaper, J.F. Jacques, and Gilbert Brule are literally the only two forwards left on the Oilers roster who can provide the jam and grind.  On a team who has limited personnel for the blue-collar role, Landeskog could fill in that gap should his name be called in a few days. 

"It's my goal to play in the NHL.The hockey is very good for me. I have a North American style of hockey, but I have some skill to me and I have that European style to me."

"That is my style of game. I like to rough it up a bit." 

Next up...Sean Couturier

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oilers Update - Bruins Win

Congratulations Stanley Cup Champions 

Boston Bruins

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oilers Update - Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins FINALLY!!

Before the start of tonight's game, I would like to just say a few words to the teams who will be battling for that shiny mug.

This is an exciting time for all hockey fans to FINALLY witness some history in the making.  When the final buzzer ends the 2010/11 season, will we see Chara accept the chalice at centre ice?  Or will the Sedin's lift the Cup over their heads and immediately head for Granville and/or Robson Street for an impromptu parade?  

I will be honest, I have no real inclination to watch the game tonight.  However, there is a part of me who is eager to see which team will parade around the rink with the cup; and then promptly pose for the team photo (you can thank Wayne Gretzky for that tradition).  

While I sit and wait for the Champions to step forward, I just have this to say to the clubs.

And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

Dear Boston Bruins,

Time for you to step up and finally put away those 'Nuckle Heads once and for all.  All that smack talk about "pumping of tires" etc., should be enough motivation to prove who is really #1.  But if that isn't enough...NATHAN HORTON.  

End your 40 year drought and play "lights out hockey" like the Oilers did against you in Game 4 of the 1988 Final.  

Sorry did that hurt? 

Oh well, just use it as added motivation and go out and play the way you did against us in '88 and '90!  

Just win this time. ;o)

We're rooting for you!

Oilers Update

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

Please end your 40 year-old virgin status!  Seriously, it's quite annoying and you are old enough to etch a tally on the bed post!  Luckily for you, there is a cure for virginity, his name is Lord Stanley. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

IF you win tonight, you'll no longer have to hear that joke come out of my mouth about the difference between the Vancouver Canucks and a Jock Strap. 

Oops, I think I pinched a nerve. 

Oh well, just use it as added motivation and go out and play the way you did against the Rangers many moons ago. 

Just win this time. ;o)  

We're rooting for you!

Oilers Update

To all the band wagon jumpers for both sides, I will be hosting a year end "Burning of the Jersey's" event immediately after the game.  Don't worry you'll probably buy a new one next year.    

However, If I don't see you at the Bonfire, come meet us on the golf course and bring your "A" Game because we've been swinging our clubs since April. 

Good luck to both teams.

Game 7 Canucks vs Bruins on CBC 4:30 pt

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oilers Update - Adam Larsson, Top 5 Prospects NHL 2011 Draft

  In case you haven't already heard, Adam Larsson is a star in Sweden.

Momentarily within the hockey world, Larsson is slated to go # 2 behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins respectively, yet there are some who feel the 6'3" 200 pound defenseman from Skelleftea Sweden is precisely what the Oilers need now.  

Why? Because he is a big, smart, two way defenseman with the ability to make a first outlet pass.  He is calm with the puck and rarely makes a bad pass.  The Oilers have been in the market for sometime looking for that stud defenseman, since losing Chris Pronger in 2006; and Larsson could potentially assume that role and perhaps become a 25 + minute player.

Larsson has been in the midst of talk for the past three years and now there are rumblings amongst the scouts who believe that Larsson possesses the same skill and attributes comparable to Niklas Lidstrom.  While the idea of comparing Larsson with a future hall-of-famer may seem ludicrous or even far fetched, still after spending 3 years with the Swedish Elite league, it is a safe bet that Larsson is the most NHL ready out of the crop for 2011.  

And why not pick up the kid and have him play with the rest of them?

"He is one or our most talented pieces in Swedish hockey at the junior level and he started a little slow, but he worked his way up.  He improved as the tournament went on and that was the player I recognized." Tommy Boustedt, GM of Sweden's National Junior team.

At this point, Larsson is not what you call an offensive threat by any means.  After playing 49 games with Skelleftea, the 18 year old posted just 17 points and only 9 in his previous year.  Though, his +/- rating improved to -12 to his -7 in 2009-10. 

"I think I've played good this year, I've taken more responsibility and the coaches have given me more ice time.  I try to play physical and simple, that's the way I think I should play."  said Larsson.

Where Larsson may end up will be found out on June 24th.  All he can do is just wait and see just like the rest of them.  Does he have a preference?

"We'll see how the draft goes." said Larsson

Next up...Gabriel Langdeskog

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oilers Update - U2's Bono hitches ride with Gilbert Brule

This past Tuesday, U2's Bono and his assistant just happened to be walking down a road in West Vancouver, when Oilers' Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend Kelsey Nichols pulled over and offered Bono a lift.  It turns out that the singer needed to find guitarist, Edge who was waiting for him at Horseshoe Bay.

Last night, Bono broke the news about his hitch-hiking experience in front of thousands of U2 fans at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.  

Kelsey hesitantly pulled the truck over when Brule assured her that he had in fact spotted the legendary singer out for a constitutional.

"I didn’t want to stop, but they waved and G yelled ‘that’s Bono’, "I didn’t believe him so I kept driving.said Nichols yesterday at the Commonwealth Stadium.

Bono and his assistant were just going out for a stroll, when it started to rain.  Moments later Brule and Nichols pulled up beside the pair.  To show his appreciation, Bono invited the couple and some friends to be his special guests at his concert in Edmonton.  Nichols and Brule (who were scheduled to attend the Bruins/Canucks game the following night) sold their tickets and booked a flight to E-town in time for the U2 Show.

Watch the video here!

Kelsey Nichols, right, Gilbert Brule and Brule’s mom Lori Johnson at Wednesday’s U2 concert in Commonwealth.
Brule with Nichols (right) photo from Edmonton Journal