Saturdays in Canada. As kids, we’d have chores to do (my brother was allergic to cow’s milk, so we had goats, who are a little addled but you grow to love them) and maybe there was a trip to town. My Dad bought some of the first Wagon Wheels ever made at the Lloydminster Co-op on a Saturday, Orr and the Bruins hammered Toronto later that night. Music!
Everything that needed to get done was usually finished by 4pm, and then we could begin the Saturday night tradition. Bugs Bunny when we were smaller, then HNIC, and usually a game of crib or two against my Dad. I can still see the crib board, those worn out cards, the coal oil lamp (we spent a year without electricity when we moved to Maidstone) and waiting, hoping for my Dad to look at the clock and say “alright, one more game.” Thanks Dad, miss you.
Saturday night with the hockey game makes it authentically Canadian. We’re entering a season where Toronto could win Stanley, I imagine the west and Quebec will separate by August. I kid. It’s Canada’s game on Canada’s night, a six hour period where demon liquor, laundry on ice and the opposite sex combine in a magical cocktail that allows our escape from the northern winds and the lonely howls of the coyotes just outside.
We’re at the pool hall, we’re at the legion, we’re at the bar, we’re pre-drinking before a night on the town. WHY do we live here, so far north? Why are we excited about sticks and pucks and fresh ice? It’s in our blood, it’s in the air we breathe. Do you have enough CR? Mix? Make sure there’s 52 cards, the kids were playing with them yesterday. Juha Widing’s team is in town. It’s hockey night.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions here.
- New Lowetide: A shift-by-shift analysis of Ethan Bear in the Oilers’ season opener
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Looking at how the Oilers can manage on defence without Adam Larsson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: No need to temper expectations after Connor McDavid’s season debut for Oilers
- Lowetide: Ken Holland has a plan for the Oilers’ top prospects.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: At home with Ken Holland: Packing away the championship memories and preparing for a new challenge
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oscar Klefbom on being a mentor, his strategy for staying healthy and saying goodbye to a friend.
- Daniel and Jon: Ten bold (and not so bold) predictions for the Oilers this season
- Lowetide: The Oilers are poised to break a 25-year-old franchise record this season
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 0-2-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +5
- Oilers in October 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in October 2018: 0-2-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2019: 1-0-0, goal differential +1
The only time Edmonton started the season 2-0 in the McDavid era, the club made the playoffs. Adam Larsson’s injury cast a pall over the postgame on Wednesday, but the kids on the farm are stacked and racked and ready. A win tonight would be a major early positive. The fact it’s on HNIC is just a bonus.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN OCTOBER
- At home to: Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: NYI, NJD, NYR, CHI (Expected 2-1-1)
- At home to: Philadelphia, Detroit (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg, Minnesota (Expected 1-1-0)
- At home to: Washington, Florida (Expected 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Detroit, Columbus (Expected 1-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 1-0-0, 2 points after 1 game
I look at the road trip as a chance for coach Dave Tippett to roll four lines, but without Riley Sheahan on the No. 3 line it might be a little dicey. You can’t play Leon 26 minutes a night all season. I also wonder about the defensive pairings without Larsson. There are no black and white decisions I can see, only shades of gray. The recall of William Lagesson was a good move, in my opinion.
BAKERSFIELD GAME 1
I was impressed with Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Evan Bouchard, Josh Currie, Caleb Jones and Shane Starrett. The entire team pursued the puck and made plays, have to be impressed with Jay Woodcroft. Yamamoto was used in all situations, including late in the game protecting the lead. The young man has the highest ceiling among the forwards in California, it’ll be interesting to see how long he spends in Bakersfield.
We’ll find out soon enough about Joel Persson, that will inform Tippett’s decision. If he can’t go, I would expect Klefbom-Bear, Nurse-Russell and Lagesson-Benning. If Persson can go, it could be Klefbom-Persson, Nurse-Bear and Russell-Benning. Either way, fans should be confident. Lagesson is ready, Persson looks good and you have to start somewhere. I wrote an item for The Athletic the other day about total players for Edmonton this season, and part of the equation could be close to one dozen recalled Condors. Lagesson is the first. Won’t be the last.