Sometimes a small, almost imperceptible thing can change the world. A retirement here, a change of philosophy there and the good times are over. On the other hand, a team that has been buried deep in the second division for half a generation can turn it around seemingly overnight with the right coach and timely maturation of its young leaders.
I don’t know where Detroit and Edmonton will finish this season (or the next season they play) but there are signs for both teams that change is at hand. For Detroit, Nick Lidstrom’s retirement is a huge deal, as it gave Detroit a top tandem they could count on every year. Imagine if Craig MacTavish had that? He’d still be coaching the Oilers!
Aside from Lidstrom, Detroit’s off-season additions and new draft template look—to me—as though they’ve had a change in philiosophy. Detroit’s trademark—smart passing, smart positioning, killers on the powerplay—don’t seem to fit with the group procured over the summer. Can the Red Wings dominate doing what other teams do? You may ask why on earth would they try? And the answer is Lidstrom’s retirement and the aging of the roster. Life’s a bitch.
In Edmonton, things are on the rise.
That does NOT mean things will go smoothly. The Oilers could suffer injuries or bring Ethan Moreau back or maybe Khabibulin signs another 4-year deal. However, based on what we know, the Hall deal that should set the bar, the current skill players and the reasonable assumption they can add 6′s and 7′s and 9′s to the emerging jacks and kings, I can’t see a way to screw this up.
Sometimes, things work out. Spectacularly. Godspeed, Edmonton Oilers.
Team 1260 at high noon, email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can post comments and questions below. Twitter is my second home @Lowetide_ and @ItsNationRadio for your thoughts. Scheduled to appear:
- Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey will help us on the CBA, the impact of a lockout on players below the NHL and his experience at the recent Ivan Hlinka tournament.
- Jason Strudwick, former NHL player, Oilers Nation contributor and bon vivant about town. We’ll discuss the impact of a lockout on players and their families and find out how much players know about the issues.
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey will break down the Taylor Hall contract and its possible impact, the CBA and impending lockout and we’ll ponder lockout entertainment options.
- Kent Simpson, Oil Kings color commentator will touch base on the Oil Kings and the massive season ahead.
- Rob Soria from Oil Drop will talk about his recent Chris Pronger article.
- Ilya Ostrovsky owner of the EMHL and a man who grew up in the shadow of the Kremlin. We’ll talk about adult hockey in Edmonton and what’s available, and I’ll ask him about his unique connection to hockey in Russian and in Canada.