You know I’ve always been a dreamer
And it’s so hard to change
But the dreams I’ve seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same
So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit
one more time.
-Henley, Meisner and Frey.
I’m starting to get excited about 08-09. There are several reasons for it, including Vancouver putting all their money on Sundin, Calgary’s bizarre rebuild/not rebuild and Colorado’s uneven roster makeup.
The Oiler offseason has had a certain logical progression to it. The additions of Erik Cole, Lubimor Visnosvky and Jason Strudwick addressed need and gave hope. Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and other youngsters are a year older, and veterans like Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau and Shawn Horcoff should be able to play more games than they did a year ago when injuries took big chunks out of their season.
In mid-summer, Craig MacTavish said “I want Reasoner back for sure” and Kevin Lowe said “we have a lot of bodies right now so we have to see what unfolds.” And we did.
My main reason for excitement comes from the coach. At his exit interview in the spring, MacT was in fine form and gave indication that he felt there would be sustain from one season to another (remember they finished pretty well, and with kids in the driver’s seat). Spring 2007 they were on a crusade to find players, this year they added some established NHL players to the group they have (Torres being the exception). Huge difference between this year and last year.
As a reminder, some more words from the coach and his exit interview, serving as a mid-summer reminder that there’s something happening:
- Grebeshkov: “He just does it all. There’s a complete dimension to his game.”
- Souray: “Cycle breaker. He’s strong, has a good stick and knocks people off the puck. I was pleasantly surprised about how well he could play defensively.”
- Penner: “There’s still a considerable distance he has to go as a player. He’s scratching the surface.”
- Depth: “We’re going to have a lot of competition at some spots.”
- Oilers overall: “There’s something very positive that’s building here.”