NORTH BY NORTHWEST 12-13

We’ve gone through the RE process and have an idea about the Oilers for 12-13. They’ll be better. Again. Is it good enough to push toward the second season?

  1. Vancouver Canucks: Class of the group with no team capable of pushing them (yet). The questions surrounding them are the ones asked of a team poised for greatness. Whatever we think of the Canucks, Mike Gillis has them in a spot to contend for a Stanley Cup and that’s all anyone can ask. There is more pressure on the team after ’11 and ’12 disappointments but there’s also a strong sense that no one is going to panic if they start slow or some of the veterans falter early. The reality of last season–it might have been their year, and injury might have been the difference–should motivate the team. We should prepare for the possibility that Stanley spends the summer in Vancouver. (+50)
  2. Colorado Avalanche: The last powerhouse team (before Vancouver) looks like they have the early lead on being the next powerhouse team. An interesting mix up front–led by impact rookie Gabriel Landeskog–and a better-than-you-think blue give this team a head start on the out of balance kids in other NW cities. The Avs have a very nice group of youngsters here, and as the Oilers improve the two teams will have some awesome battles. Expect Colorado to be the better team for the foreseeable future.. (+4)
  3. Edmonton Oilers: The impact kids up front should run right over opponents often enough for Edmonton to push into the spring in search of a playoff spot. I don’t think they’ll make it, but would change my mind with the addition of a top 4D and a better backup goalie option. This should be the season Taylor Hall establishes himself as an impact player, with the Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov and Paajarvi posting solid numbers. Ales Hemsky should also have a strong year. (-3)
  4. Minnesota Wild: This team has some gems up front, some absolute studs. Their blueline is suspect after the top pairing and there isn’t a lot of cap room to address it. They’ll be better, but you can say that about three or four teams in the division. Parise and Suter might be good enough for the Wild to stay ahead of Edmonton and pass Colorado, but there are too many holes  to make it certain. (-12)
  5. Calgary Flames: The thing Jay Feaster refused to do will be done for him, as the clock strikes midnight. A fast start by one of the three young clubs might mean Calgary begins offloading early and often during the season. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that we see ‘play the pawn to set Sean’ activity in the Flames front office. Veterans Iginla and Kiprusoff–the keys to a strong team for so long–may end up in new cities by spring. I suspect Flames fans will sigh with relief, as the impending doom has gone on so long. Time to put this once valiant team out of its misery and build for a new day. (-25)

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60 Responses to "NORTH BY NORTHWEST 12-13"

  1. CrazyCoach says:

    I like your predictions here LT. As excited as I am about this team, I am still realistic that will have a tough time making the playoffs.

    Vancouver has to push through this season. They simply have to, or else it is time for Gillis to blow up that roster. How can you have that much talent for such a long time and not win?

  2. raventalon40 says:

    CrazyCoach:
    I like your predictions here LT. As excited as I am about this team, I am still realistic that will have a tough time making the playoffs.

    Vancouver has to push through this season.They simply have to, or else it is time for Gillis to blow up that roster.How can you have that much talent for such a long time and not win?

    A couple more seasons of this and the failures of San Jose will be but a distant memory.

  3. Max Powers says:

    Really? Colorado better than Minny? I’ve got both finishing near 8th but think Minny is a better team. They have better forwards and goaltending. Some young studs to plug holes up front too.

    It feels good to know the Oil are going to be a lot better.

  4. Lowetide says:

    The Sharks always reminded me of the old Montreal Expos, who should have won but kept playing Doug Flynn at second base of had a horseshit #5 starter. This Vancouver team doesn’t have many holes that I can see–Bruins won in ’10 with a hot Thomas, and last season the injury really hurt–but at some point you develop a past and I agree the time is now.

    Having said that, Gillis has made some very strong moves imo. Bet he gets a lot for Luongo, OR Bobby Lou stays and is used as insurance–not a bad plan either. I’d also bet a lot of money that the kid they got from Buffalo could be traded for a king’s ransom right now.

  5. Max Powers says:

    Vancouver scares me. I Had a feeling they were going to win the cup last season. If they’ add some significant assets for Luongo every Vancouver hater is going to be real anxious during the playoffs. They could have won the cup last season, imagine how good they would be with significant upgrades to their roster.

    I hope they trade Bobby-Lou and Schneider goes all Dipietro.

  6. jb says:

    Solid predictions, though I’d personally switch Col/Min. Min should have enough star power not to drown.. Col isn’t all that impressive yet in my eyes, another 9-12 finish, right around Edmontons range I’d guess.

    Playoffs are a real possibility next year. I bet they add another solid defensemen within the next year, then we’ll be seeing a more complete team while our core should be ready to explode.

    Try not to be so balanced LT, everyone knows Vancouver doesn’t have what it takes to win a cup. Can you honestly picture a cup in Vancouver? That’s right no one outside of Vancouver can. It just won’t happen, simple as that.

  7. Lowetide says:

    JB: I look at that team in VCR and man they have strength. The bubbling under group is strong, the strength up the middle is excellent, secondary scoring and special teams. The ONLY area I can see is the young goalie faltering and you’ll notice Luongo is still in town. Gillis is a smart guy, smartest GM in the division imo with only Fletcher being in the same conversation.

  8. Lowetide says:

    AND I see they just signed Lack to a crazy reasonable 2-year deal. Man. The Canucks have it going on.

  9. JohnnyRocket says:

    Lowetide,

    How did Vancouver get Kassian again? Oh yeah, they gave their kid butter minutes, pumped his stats, then traded for need. God, I wish our GM could do that.

  10. Lowetide says:

    JohnnyRocket:
    Lowetide,

    How did Vancouver get Kassian again? Oh yeah, they gave their kid butter minutes, pumped his stats, then traded for need. God, I wish our GM could do that.

    No, no. Our team drafts a kid 10th overall, sees him score 15 as a teenager and THEN buries him for a season. That’s the way you do it, money for nothing and your chicks for free!

  11. slopitch says:

    Since the beginning of last year the Oilers have added Petry and J Schultz. Yes Gilbert is gone but we have Nick Schultz and a “healthier” Ryan Whitney. Adding another top 4 would be good but I dont think our D is as bad as we thought – especially if Schultz plays as well as Gardiner did in his rookie year.

    I’ll go Vancouver, Minnesota, Edmonton, Colorado, Calgary. Looks like the only solid bets are Vancouver and Calgary.

  12. Ducey says:

    JohnnyRocket: Lowetide, How did Vancouver get Kassian again? Oh yeah, they gave their kid butter minutes, pumped his stats, then traded for need. God, I wish our GM could do that.

    Buffalo won that trade. Gillis has made some good moves. That isn’t one of them. The quest for a sasquatch caught up with him too.

    VCR also might take step back if Kesler can’t make it back to the player he once was.

    I can’t disagree with your ranking LT. I think Minni is overrated.

  13. Dominoiler says:

    Nice.. Thanks again LT, for the umpteenth time, for the re-series and hockey talk in the arid days of summer.. echoing other posters, I am also interested to see how where Col and Min will stack up next season (please let there be a next season!)..

    PS.
    I liked your blurb on our arch-rivals, the flaming out cowtowners.. a respectful call for the death knell..

  14. leadfarmer says:

    Vancouver lost not because of injury but they are just not good enough to beat LA or St. LOUIS. They dont match well with deep physical teams because the Sedins need easy starts or they disappear. And yes I did call them loosing to LA last year.

    Minneapolis will be alot better than Edmonton next year round 6TH IN WEST?

  15. leadfarmer says:

    With the lockout coming you might get to do EChl projected stats.

  16. bendelson says:

    leadfarmer,

    Wow. You and Mr. Bob Stauffer should figure out who predicted LA over VAN first.

    Then we can all know who the coolest guy is…

  17. russ99 says:

    Other than flip-flopping Colorado and Minnesota, pretty spot on.

    That Finnish kid who’s going to be playing top 6 minutes for the Wild is better than any of the kids on the Avs.

  18. VOR says:

    I want to start by saying I think Vancouver is a great hockey team and that Gillis is one of the top GMs in hockey. However, the way they are currently set up leaves them vulnerable to three significant risks.

    The first is that if one of their top 4 D go down they don’t have the horses to fill the holes. Right now Tanev is #7, Joslin #8 and probably Connauton (sp) #9. I assume Gillis plans to add another veteran shut down D.

    The second risk is that their forwards are a little inconsistent when viewed as a group. Booth, Raymond, Higgins, and Kesler all have consistency issues.

    Three, they are carrying a lot of coke machines. If they are going to contend for the Stanley Cup they need one of those coke machines to turn into a top 6 or at least top 9 forward. Kassian is the obvious choice but he is another of those enigmas that the Canucks seem to stockpile. It is one of the big knocks on their farm team, a lot of “who the heck knows”.

    Definitely #1 in our division, probably top four in the NHL, but the questions are mounting. It is gut check time for the entire organization including Gillis.

  19. bookje says:

    JohnnyRocket:
    Lowetide,

    How did Vancouver get Kassian again? Oh yeah, they gave their kid butter minutes, pumped his stats, then traded for need. God, I wish our GM could do that.

    Omark on a line with two of the ‘kids’ facing soft opposition and good zone starts for a few months would have looked like a gem on the trade market.

  20. Gret99zky says:

    slopitch,

    Slopitch, have you factored in the inevitable wear & tear slash injuries that will occur to the D? If so, who will step up and fill the holes?

    Lowetide, here’s hoping the upcoming “wilderness” for Calgary is long, dark, and tantamount to Oilers circa 1991-2005.

    Cheers.

  21. cabbiesmacker says:

    Somebody has to be the naysayer. I just can’t see us finishing higher than last in the division, just behind the Flames. To predict more would mean believing the team can win putting all of the onus on the kids.

    RNH rips it to the point we’re talking about “HE” not TH as the cornerstone of the future. Eberle matches or is close to last years numbers. Hall is a ??? until he can play 75, and Yakupov is getting way too much love and 25 goal expectation.

    Beyond that our forwards are again?….hmmmm.

    Not yet. 2 years from now when Hartikainen, Lander, and maybe MPS can take off the training wheels and a couple of the kid D are ready ,sure.

  22. Gerta Rauss says:

    A little blurb courtesy Garth-a Sabres blogger.

    Edmonton Oiler stud, and first overall NHL draft pick, Nail Yakupov, will return to his hometown KHL team Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the event of an NHL lockout, team director Rafik Yakubov told R-Sport last week. No Sarnia Sting reunion for Nail.

    Yakupov, 18, this year became the first Russian since Alex Ovechkin in 2004 to be #1 pick. He signed a three-year entry level deal with the Edmonton Oilers in July.

    “Yakupov will be playing in Nizhnekamsk in case of a lockout,” the club general director Rafik Yakubov told R-Sport.

    “He’s our guy, the one we are looking forward to. We know Nail well, he was with the team during last summer’s training camp, came this year despite being busy due to the NHL draft.”

  23. justDOit says:

    Well I wouldn’t feel any sorrow if Van stumbled to a lower placing this year, but that just might play to their favor in the long run. They don’t need to win the president’s trophy, after all.

    But yes, Vanlandia is a def lock to win this crazy division. After that, I see Minny as a good bet for 2nd place because there’s something going on in Colorado. Stasny’s dad’s comments ring out loud as an intangible that might hurt them from within, but part of that could just be me hoping it’s so.

    And while it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see the Flames bottom out this year, I’m not so sure that’ll happen. The proper mix of veterans and new players could see them fight for a higher finish than last, so I’m going out on a limb and say the Flames finish 3rd in the division.

    This leaves the Oilers and Avs to fight for the right to not be termed ‘cellar dweller’ this year. Doesn’t matter much who gets which spot, but let’s call the Avs fifth.

  24. jake70 says:

    Gerta Rauss:
    A little blurb courtesy Garth-a Sabres blogger.

    Edmonton Oiler stud, and first overall NHL draft pick, Nail Yakupov, will return to his hometown KHL team Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the event of an NHL lockout, team director Rafik Yakubov told R-Sport last week. No Sarnia Sting reunion for Nail.

    Yakupov, 18, this year became the first Russian since Alex Ovechkin in 2004 to be #1 pick. He signed a three-year entry level deal with the Edmonton Oilers in July.

    “Yakupov will be playing in Nizhnekamsk in case of a lockout,” the club general director Rafik Yakubov told R-Sport.

    “He’s our guy, the one we are looking forward to. We know Nail well, he was with the team during last summer’s training camp, came this year despite being busy due to the NHL draft.”

    Well, my sister used to go out with an airline mechanic, will call him up see if he wants to go with Yak to KHL if a lockout happens.

  25. gogliano says:

    Suter is a real nice add but I want to see what Parise does in the real conference before counting him as a huge plus for Minnesota. Upgrade, to be sure, but I think he’ll find the new conference harder than the old.

    Thing is, Minnesota was awful last year. 28th in the league according to goal differential. Worse than the Oilers by 22 goals and in the range of CLB. The upgrades will help all through the lineup but I think LT has it right that COL is the favorite over the Wild, and that the three teams should battle for the #2 spot. It looks to be an interesting race. Injuries will probably decide a lot.

  26. DSF says:

    1) Minnesota

    The addition of Parise provides Koivu an elite line mate. If Koivu stays healthy (he only played 55 games last season) look for a PPG season from him.

    Heatley, who just completed his worst season ever appears to have lost a step but expect a bit of a bounce back. Notable that he was +2 on a team that finished -49.

    The addition of Granlund, the best player in the Finnish league, as second line centre will do wonders for their secondary scoring and it’s quite likely that Charlie Coyle, a big fast scoring winger will make the team out of camp and may be joined by Zack Phillips who put in very good numbers in the Q.

    With a top 6 of Koivu, Parise, Heatley, Setoguchi, Granlund, and one of the rookies, they should be ready to rock. And the additions of Parise and Granlund pushes players like Brodziak and Bouchard down the totem pole. It’s also worth noting Minnesota has added two players who are a bitch to play against in their bottom 6 in Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell. Combined with Clutterbuck, Kassian, and Powe they are big, mean and quite a load.

    On defense, after several years of making Shea Weber look great, Suter will push everyone down the death chart. Tom Gilbert likely thinks he just died and went to heaven. Other than those two, Justin Falk and Jared Spurgeon, while still young, look like players and Clayton Stoner is also tracking very well.
    They also have a slew of young defensemen who could be ready to make an impact sooner rather than later in Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin, Tyler Cuma and, of course, Matt Dumba.

    Rock solid in goal with with Backstrom and Harding.

    Minnesota was leading the division last season before getting rocked by injuries and, with their offseason acquisitions are poised to take a giant leap up the standings.

    2) Vancouver

    The thing about the Canucks is that the NHL regular season has been pretty much an 82 game exhibition season and they know it. They won the NW easily last season while playing uninspired hockey pretty much all year and couldn’t flip the switch when it mattered. It’ll be interesting to seem if AV can fix that. If not, I think he’s gone. The change in refereeing part way through the season also conspired to thwart the Canucks since their entire persona is built on killing teams with their PP. Gillis has been trying to address that by adding players like Kassian and Guance but the jury is still out.

    Their offseason moves have been few but Garrison is likely an upgrade on Salo, especially on the PP and Schneider appears to be an upgrade on Luongo so a lot of their season may rest of keeping guys like Kesler, Booth and Higgins healthy.

    The wild card, of course, is whatever return Gillis gets for Luongo. If he gets a scoring top 6 winger, all bets are off and there’s a chance Niklas Jensen, who was outstanding in the AHL at the end of last season makes the jump.

    On D, the Canucks are very solid with 7 NHL quality defensemen under contract with Connauton, Sauve and Joslin waiting in the wings.

    In goal, I doubt Schneider falters but, if he does, Eddie Lack is apparently NHL ready and they also have Joe Cannatta in Chicago.

    Vancouver is still the most talented team in the division but an awful lot depends on motivation.

    3) Colorado

    As LT noted, Colorado has a very good mix upfront and early emergence of Landeskog as a two way beast is just huge.

    Colorado’s real strength upfront, of course, is at centre where they actually have too many top 6 candidates in O’Reilly, Duchene, Statsny and Mueller with Joey Hishon on the way. I can see one of them being moved before the season begins. Ducnehe and Statsny both had disappointing seasons so look for them to bounce back.

    The offseason addition of PA Parenteau looks like a real coup and Daniel Winnik should go a long way to shoring up their bottom 6.

    I think an awful lot of the Avs potential success lies at the feet of Erik Johnson, other wise their D is pretty blah.

    For the Avs to go anywhere, Varlamov HAS to be better. Giguere played decently but he’s over 35 and likely can’t be counted on.

    4) Calgary

    In assessing the Flames based on last season, one has to bear in mind that their highest scoring player arrived with only 28 games left in the season. Cammalleri should be good for another 30+ goal season now that he’s back in Calgary.

    Feaster is taking a huge risk IMO in relying on Roman Cervenka as his #1C. It might work out, it might not and, of course it;’s debatable how much Iginla and Tanguay have left in the tank.

    Calgary did add Jiri Hudler and, if he can repeat his 25 goal 50 point season, he makes the Flames better.

    On D, Wideman is certainly over paid but he does make the Flames better especially on the PP so I look for the Flames to score more goals but I doubt it’s enough to make the playoffs.

    Kiprusoff just posted his best numbers in 5 years and I would think that it’s impossible to say where he’s headed at age 35 but it appears the Flames are still going all in with him in net and, at some point, it’s going to bite them in the ass.

    5) Edmonton

    If everything goes perfectly I could see the Oilers challenging Colorado for 3rd. But things never go perfectly.

    Natural progression among the youngsters, the addition of Yakupov and more points from Hemsky should mean increased goal scoring but the bottom 6 remains a mess and it’s likely that Horcoff and Smyth, due to age, regress.

    The real issue, as everyone here know is lack of depth on D and very questionable goaltending.

    How bad the Oilers were defensively last year was masked by the first 12 games of the season when Khabibulin’s save percentage was north of .960. Don’t count on that happening again and unless Dubnyk suddenly emerges as an above average goaltender, I expect the Oilers will give up significantly more goals than they did a year ago.

    A 90% Whitney would, of course make a huge difference and, perhaps J Schultz defies the odds and makes an impact immediately but all it would take is a couple of injuries on D and the Oilers are in a world of hurt.

    Of course, a new CBA could render all this meaningless as there is a chance that a significantly lower cap has a huge impact on the teams that are high spenders.

    Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary and the Oilers are all top ten spenders so could be impacted in a large way while Colorado is still below the cap floor so could be huge beneficiaries if there is a modified dispersal draft as has been speculated.

  27. justDOit says:

    jake70,

    Good luck getting an airplane mechanic to board a Russian airliner.

  28. art vandelay says:

    The “real” conference.
    Spare me.
    Vancouver and The Also-Rans won’t be any tougher for Parise than the Patrick Div.
    The rest of the West are no more or less a juggernaut than the rest of the East.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Hi ART!

  30. gcw_rocks says:

    Given that the Oilers like to roll over and play dead when Minny is the opposition, that turn in points should push the Wild ahead of the Oilers. Sad, but history between these teams should not be discounted.

  31. Bruce McCurdy says:

    DSF: Suter will push everyone down the death chart. Tom Gilbert likely thinks he just died and went to heaven.

    Now there’s a typo with sustain! Gotta like Minny’s “death chart” on the blue.

  32. shawwwood says:

    LT

    I wonder if you would like to do this with realignment in mind. Edmonton would need to finish top 4 to make the playoffs. Conference A – Anaheim,Calgary,Colorado,Edmonton,Los Angeles,Phoenix,San Jose,Vancouver.

  33. Lowetide says:

    I can tell you they wouldn’t be in my top 4.

  34. DSF says:

    A story to warm the cockles…

    Just got a text from #1 son in Vancouver…huge Oiler fan…who is just starting to get my 2 year grandson involved in skating:

    “So…long story short. My friends wife is a nurse. Her partner is Ryan Nugent Hopkins’ mom.

    He played hockey at the Burnaby Winter Club.

    I got my friend to ask him if was a good place to send Jasper (grandson).

    He responded, personally, yes.

    Pretty classy for an 18 year old millionaire to answer personally.”

    Nice.

  35. DSF says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Now there’s a typo with sustain! Gotta like Minny’s “death chart” on the blue.

    Saw that…too late..don’t think it applies to any D with Suter playing 30 minutes a night.

  36. Lowetide says:

    DSF:
    A story to warm the cockles…

    Just got a text from #1 son in Vancouver…huge Oiler fan…who is just starting to get my 2 year grandson involved in skating:

    “So…long story short. My friends wife is a nurse. Her partner is Ryan Nugent Hopkins’ mom.

    He played hockey at the Burnaby Winter Club.

    I got my friend to ask him if was a good place to send Jasper (grandson).

    He responded, personally, yes.

    Pretty classy for an 18 year old millionaire to answer personally.”

    Nice.

    Great story, DSF. Thanks for sharing.

  37. cc says:

    LT said:

    This should be the season Taylor Hall establishes himself as an impact player, with the Nuge, Eberle, … posting solid numbers.

    I do not debate that Hall is a decent player and his speed is essential to his success. My concern, and it is not with you alone but with the majority of Oiler brass as well, that this kid will be the be-all and end-all of the future for the Oilers. I don’t know how realistically everyone can call this Hall’s team. First off, he is one of three first overall picks, any of who may be the next best one! Throw in Eberly, who is a dynamo and he may be the next capitain.

    I know what you and all the others say when it comes to the “NUMBERS” regarding Eberly, and he’ll be lucky to even come close to what took place last season. But go back and look at a few past examples. If you look at what Ebs did in the World Juniors – consistantly- I bet the number would say no way. I watched Ebs play in the dub for a long time and he is the real deal and a selfless leader besides.

    As for Nuge, this kid did things last year that we in Oil country haven’t seen in years – on comparison to you know who- but what he does on his edges and with his vision, he could very likely be the next one.

    My final thoughts here are simply this. If Hall spent this entire off season finding the net with his shot maybe he could score 40 – 45 goals. He was set-up so many times last season by Ebs and company yet missed so often it drove me crazy. If he could finish like Ebs he might even score 50 but I doubt it.

    So enough with the love fest for Hall, besides, rumor has it he’s a bit of a cancer in the dressing room and anything but selfless. Oh, and I wonder if he was one of those PAID UNDER THE TABLE Spitfires?

    Other then all the Hall talk I like your blog.

    cc

  38. Lowetide says:

    CC: Hall is a cancer in the room? Do tell!

  39. cc says:

    Sorry LT, can’t reveal the source, it’s to close to home. But I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t hear it from this individual. Let’s leave it at that and I won’t mention it again.

  40. shawnmullin says:

    Having a sports talk show in a small BC community I talked about the Canucks quite a bit for 3 years. The thing I always keep coming back to is that championship teams generally need to have a true #1 stud on D. LA had Doughty, Boston had Chara, Chicago had Keith… if you go back far enough there are some exceptions like Carolina, but they are exceptions.

    Vancouver has always had very strong depth on the blue line but they lack a general. I think of the way Chris Pronger used to control games when he was in Edmonton and I watched him 70 times in a year. Not every team gets to have a Chris Pronger, but I feel like that’s been a significant missing element for Vancouver. They’ve got more 2s and 3s than anyone, but I still believe they need a true #1.

    Most people I pass that theory on to shrug it off saying the D is strong. There is no doubt it’s a strong group, but is there anyone in that group to lead it? I thought at one point Edler might become a #1. I don’t think that’s happening now though.

    That doesn’t mean they won’t win without one. They came one game away from it so you can’t argue whether not they are championship caliber. However, if I had to point out a flaw, that’s the one that stands out for me. That’s also one that could stand out for this young Oilers team unless they get lucky with the development of one of the talented defensive prospects that seem destined to be at most good 2s and 3s.

  41. nelson88 says:

    VOR:
    I want to start by saying I think Vancouver is a great hockey team and that Gillis is one of the top GMs in hockey. However, the way they are currently set up leaves them vulnerable to three significant risks.

    The first is that if one of their top 4 D go down they don’t have the horses to fill the holes. Right now Tanev is #7, Joslin #8 and probably Connauton (sp) #9. I assume Gillis plans to add another veteran shut down D.

    The second risk is that their forwards are a little inconsistent when viewed as a group. Booth, Raymond, Higgins, and Kesler all have consistency issues.

    Three, they are carrying a lot of coke machines. If they are going to contend for the Stanley Cup they need one of those coke machines to turn into a top 6 or at least top 9 forward. Kassian is the obvious choice but he is another of those enigmas that the Canucks seem to stockpile. It is one of the big knocks on their farm team, a lot of “who the heck knows”.

    Definitely #1 in our division, probably top four in the NHL, but the questions are mounting. It is gut check time for the entire organization including Gillis.

    +1. Still a strong team but if the season starts on time and they get off to a slow start with kessler out it could get real interesting. high expectations and you can feel the tension continuing to build with media, players and the fans. Injuries and bad bounces happen and if it starts to go pear shaped early AV could be gone by New Years.

  42. sliderule says:

    If this oiler team isn’t better than Minny and Colorado then all the praise we have been giving to the mbs is nothing but shit.
    Parise is on the downside for a forward and Suter will shown to be a beneficiary of Trots system and Weber.So all the Minny hype will be bitter ashes for the State.
    Colorado’s wunderkids have not been performing like they did the first few years so you can figure that some of the trade talk we heard will come to fruition as they stumble from the gate.
    Calgary will fight with the oil for second in the NW.
    Vancouver will struggle but finally put it together to get to the finals.

  43. bookje says:

    LT – I think, given the evidence presented by CC, that it is obvious that there is a split in the dressing room and that Hall is the centre of it. I would say it’s irrefutable. I mean, how can you even begin to develop an argument against CC’s post.

    On another note, I wanted to point out that Dubnyk has a really bad habit of cutting the heads off of mice and leaving them in other player’s bags. I can tell you that I know this from a very reliable source and that it is undeniably true. I think its a real problem in the room. However, I have it from another source that Jones likes the dead mice and calls them his ‘after game snack’ so its hard to say what the impact will be.

  44. Rondo says:

    LT,

    TSN is showing CANADA CUP 87 REVISITED in Aug and Sept

    Game #2 against Russia maybe Gretzky’s best game ever.

    Wednesday Sep. 12 on TSN

  45. Lowetide says:

    All of it? That would be very cool to see again.

  46. raventalon40 says:

    On a side note, Art Vandelay was some of your work on display recently? Because I swear I saw something at a gallery or on Facebook that looks something like your work.

  47. Gerta Rauss says:

    raventalon40,

    Art only works in latex

  48. Bob Arctor says:

    bookje:
    On another note, I wanted to point out that Dubnyk has a really bad habit of cutting the heads off of mice and leaving them in other player’s bags.I can tell you that I know this from a very reliable source and that it is undeniably true. I think its a real problem in the room.However, I have it from another source that Jones likes the dead mice and calls them his ‘after game snack’ so its hard to say what the impact will be.

    Terry or Ryan?

  49. Lowetide says:

    I thought he was an importer/exporter?

  50. Gerta Rauss says:

    Vandelay industries is a diverse conglomerate LT. I think he does both.

    And yes,the city of Glendale is run by a cat lady. What do they plan to do if buddy CAN”T come up with the money..?…it’s Labour Day weekend for crying out loud.

  51. Lois Lowe says:

    cc:
    LT said:

    This should be the season Taylor Hall establishes himself asan impact player, with the Nuge, Eberle, … posting solid numbers.

    I do not debate that Hall is a decent player and his speed is essential to his success.My concern, and it is not with you alone but with the majority of Oiler brass as well, that this kid will be the be-all and end-all of the future for the Oilers.I don’t know how realistically everyone can call this Hall’s team.First off, he is one of three first overall picks, any of who may be the next best one!Throw in Eberly, who is a dynamo and he may be the next capitain.

    I know what you and all the others say when it comes to the “NUMBERS” regarding Eberly, and he’ll be lucky to even come close to what took place last season.But go back and look at a few past examples.If you look at what Ebs did in the World Juniors – consistantly- I bet the number would say no way.I watched Ebs play in the dub for a long time and he is the real deal and a selfless leader besides.

    As for Nuge, this kid did things last year that we in Oil country haven’t seen in years – on comparison to you know who- but what he does on his edges and with his vision, he could very likely be the next one.

    My final thoughts here are simply this.If Hall spent this entire off season finding the net with his shot maybe he could score 40 – 45 goals.He was set-up so many times last season by Ebs and company yet missed so often it drove me crazy.If he could finish like Ebs he might even score 50 but I doubt it.

    So enough with the love fest for Hall, besides, rumor has it he’s a bit of a cancer in the dressing room and anything but selfless.Oh, and I wonder if he was one of those PAID UNDER THE TABLE Spitfires?

    Other then all the Hall talk I like your blog.

    cc

    obvious troll is obvious.

  52. stevezie says:

    I don’t want to make a too bold a statement, but you are all wrong about the Vancouver Canucks.

    Not on whether or not they will be good, but on who they key deciding factor is. The Canucks are probably the only team for whomo the difference between good and great is riding on their fourth line center.

    Manny Malholtra’s play two years ago is what allowed Ryan Kesler to become a fourty goal scorer. Manny’s injury is what caused Kesler’s scoring problems. Yes Kesler’s injuries are slowing him down, but if Manny can rise back to his former glory that I would bet money Kesler could too.

    I fear that is not going to happen, but if it does, look out. Malholtra is the lynchpin of the Vancouver machine.

    End of crazy but genuine theory.

  53. Robinthe403 says:

    Also, first time posting comments from an iPad… Has anybody else here that posts from an iPad ever encountered problems using the edit function? When I click on the edit button a new window opens up just fine but from there once I insert the cursor into the text at the point that needs fixing, the backspace function (basically the eraser) does not work. Not sure if I explained that’s well but maybe somebody will bite…

  54. Gerta Rauss says:

    Robinthe403,

    I’m not using an iPad but I’ve had problems in the past with the edit function…the script that is trying to run hangs(the script that opens the edit page)…and I’ve got to wait and/or try to close the window-at which point I get prompted if I want to run the script(yes) and then the edit function seems to work.

    running win7 and IE9

  55. bookje says:

    Lowetide:
    All of it? That would be very cool to see again.

    Canada Cup Games were awesome – I wish hockey had a world cup (again).

  56. gogliano says:

    I have inside sources that tell me that Hall’s wife wants out of Edmonton.

  57. commonfan14 says:

    DSF: Colorado’s real strength upfront, of course, is at centre where they actually have too many top 6 candidates in O’Reilly, Duchene, Statsny and Mueller with Joey Hishon on the way.

    Mueller is with the Panthers now, so that should help.

  58. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    commonfan14,

    “Actually” does not mean what D S F thinks it does. Never has.

  59. prairieschooner says:

    Always loved N by NW. Actually anything Hitchcock (Alfred not Ken, for the youngsters)
    Sorry to go off topic but it is clear that Hockey fans have no value as far as the Players and Owners are concerned.
    If you think I am wrong, ask yourself this.
    Given that the salaries that are being offered and accepted are absolutely through the roof, how can these two groups fail to arrive at a new contract before the start of a new season and thereby create a lock out/delayed start to the season?
    Every time any of these clowns are being interviewed and they talk glowingly about their fans,every interviewer should grow a pair and ask why this was allowed to happen.
    These people are all making “stupid” money.There is no excuse for what is going on.
    Thank you.
    Normal programming can now be resumed

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