Monday, February 27, 2012

Tom Gilbert Swapped for Nick Schultz

Edmonton's Tom Gilbert has been traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenseman Nick Schultz.

Here is Tom's reaction when he found out that he was going home to Minnesota.

"It's a new experience for me it's just part of the business and you just gotta expect that...I can actually see my parents smiling right now.  I haven't even looked at phone at all or my texts...I am sure that they (his parents)  have tried calling and texting and they probably have a house for me already set up and a welcome home its exciting to go back to home a team that I've been watching since I was young."

Tom Gilbert leaves the club having spent 6 years with the Oilers and amassed a grand total of 159 points in 384 games played.  

"He (Oilers GM Steve Tambellini) was the first guy to tell me about the trade and wished me the best of luck and said that I am a great guy and that it was pleasure to have this Edmonton Oilers team and all the luck in Minnesota." said Gilbert.

"Well you can see the direction this team is headed, especially with these young guys that are just coming in to this league and every game they are getting better and better you can see the talents and there is so much room for improvement and the sky is the limit with these younger it's so unfortunate to leave a great group of guys that I have been a part of - this is the first team I have played for for 6 years and you grow accustomed to the people around you" said Gilbert.  "You wish the guys all the best you are leaving a great bunch of guys and you move on and you move on to a team that you play against all the time and you see the amount of skilled players that they have and where they are headed too, so it's exciting for me." he said.

In return, the Edmonton Oilers will welcome Nick Schultz who had this to say about his new address.

"It's good. It's tough right now...I don't know if it really sunk yet of what's going to happen but I think it's good, I mean obviously we all know that they are good young team...up and coming team with a lot of talent that's trying to build a winner there so you gotta go there and be  part of that try to fit in there... said Schultz. "It's going to be tough it's going to be an adjustment for myself and for my family but it's something that we are going to have to deal with." he admitted.

Schultz brings to Oilers a shut down style play plus veteran leadership. Schultz is 29 and is native of Strasbourgh Saskatchewan Canada.  The defenseman has played 743 games while earning 128 points.

The departure of Gilbert immediately brings to mind that the Oilers could be trying to free up some cap space to make room to re-sign Centre Sam Gagner.

Other news

Ryan O'Marra has been traded to Anaheim for defenseman Bryan Rodney.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hemsky Signs for 2 Years with Oilers

He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st but Czech forward Ales Hemsky will remain an Edmonton Oiler.  Last night, the 28 year-old signed a 2 year extension worth 10 million dollars and flashy winger couldn't be happier   to stay in Edmonton.

"I've been here through a lot, through up downs. It will be tough to leave the place when you see it's changing, a lot of guys coming up and you know hopefully you can make a push for the playoffs and one day maybe win the Cup. So that's why I want to stay here too.  I didn't want to give up after 10 years just to leave and pack my bags." said Hemsky 

Many fans and hockey pundits were very certain that #83 would be moved come trade deadline however, NOBODY saw this coming.  

Whether he deserves 10 million remains to seen, however this is a player who found a home in Edmonton who also enjoys playing with the club who drafted him in 2001.  Hemsky, brings veteran leadership, skill, vision and a scoring touch and recently looked good with Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall.  Sadly his biggest knock during his 10 year career has been his inability to remain healthy for a single season.  

Although what is striking, is that Ales Hemsky is coming into his prime and it is probably about time for him to reach his full potential.  In fact, country-man Jaromir Jagr believes that Hemsky has capability to reach 100 points (perhaps if he were to change teams). 

"I'm 28, I'm not 35.  So I don't think I have to retire next year.  It's behind me know.  Last month I felt great. I'm just looking forward to play more hockey and I think I can have a long career." said Hemsky.

Hemsky has 421 points in 536 career NHL games.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gagner 8 Points

Sam Gagner drafted 6th Overall 2007
22 year-old Sam Gagner joined a very elite class last night when he posted 8 points to help his club beat the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 8-4.  Gagner recorded 4 goals and 4 assists to tie a team record shared by #99 and #7.  For his efforts Gagner was aptly named 1st, 2nd and 3rd stars.  The centre-man from London Ontario centered a line between Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall and the trio amassed an incredible 16 points.

"It seemed like everything I touch was going in...said Gagner.  "Everyone on the bench was telling me to stay out the the last five minutes.  I didn't have the legs to stay out that long.  I was pretty gassed." 

The crowd at Rexall went into frenzy when #89 posted his 8th point a feat which coincidentally, has not been accomplished since '89.  The chants of 'Gag-ner, Gag-ner', and 'We want 10' still echoes hangs in the rafters.

"Hearing the Gagner chant will stand out," he said.  "To get that kind of ovation from people who know the game was an incredible feeling.  Tough to re-create that." 

Chicago Blackhawks' pint sized Patrick Kane couldn't believe his eyes when he witnessed Gagner's performance. In '06 Gagner and Kane were line-mates in the OHL for the London Knights and the pair have remained the best of friends since...though I wonder if Kane met Gagner for dinner afterwards?

"He was just giving me stare downs," said Gagner.  "I don't think he was happy I one-upped him like that.  We have a competition going and so far, in our (NHL) career, he's won every one.  It's nice to get that one on him tonight."

Gagner with hockey history in his hands

 List of Players who reached 8 points

Maurice Richard
Bert Olmstead
Darryl Sittler (Feb. 7 1976 10 pts)
Tom Bladon
Bryan Trottier
Peter Statsny
Anton Stastny
Wayne Gretzky (1983, 1984)
Paul Coffey (1986)
Mario Lemieux (1988, 1989)
Bernie Nicholls


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oilers Update - Oilers Avoid Avalanche - Cornet's First NHL Point.

Philippe Cornet
Last night the Edmonton Oilers skated to a 3-2 decision over the visiting Colorado Avalanche and the man who got things rolling was none other than #14.  Fresh from the All-Star festivities in Ottawa, Jordan Eberle continued with his scoring touch when he beat Av's goaltender Varlamov with a slick wrap-around.  Contributing with an assist to Eberle's 19th goal of the season was rookie Philippe Cornet.  The left-winger from OKC played his first every NHL game and within 5 minutes of his start, the 21 year-old recorded his NHL point.

"I felt pretty good out there for the first game." said Cornet.  "Playing with players like Eberle and Gagner helps.  "On that first goal, it was great work by Gagner on the cycle and it was great work by Eberle to finish it off.  It feels good, I wasn't expecting to have a point in my first game, but I'll take it for sure."

Tom Renney was more than happy with the rookies performance and admitted that he would've love to see what the 6'0" winger can do on the power-play.

"You want to give him a chance to play to where his instincts are," said Renny.  "He's a sniper and he's an offensive player, but he's responsible.  I certainly didn't have any fear of having him out there where he was.  I was actually hoping to get him some power-player time, but we scored and that was the location that he would have popped into..."I anticipate him playing again and we'll see how he does.

Also Scoring:

Late in the first frame Eric Belanger scored his second goal of the season.  The veteran centre who has been having a difficult season, buried a slap-shot on the power-play to make it 2-0 Oilers. Taylor Hall scored the winner in the third.  #4 pounced on a loose rebound from an Ales Hemsky shot to seal the victory for the Copper and Blue.


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Cam Barker were seen skating with the club and are expected to return perhaps by next week.

The Edmonton Oilers will take a break and await the Chicago Blackhawks this Thursday night at Rexall.