Wild horses, couldn’t drag me away. Hockey’s renewal comes in fall, when the leaves have turned and the air begins to chill. I’m reminded of fall mornings of my youth, watching activity increase at the town rink and the buzz of excitement about the season to come. The Maidstone Jets. They played about 500 feet from my house, so I got to see all of their home games and a few in Turtleford, especially if the two teams met in the playoffs.
The Lloydminster Border Kings, North Battleford North Stars, Rosetown Red Wings, I heard them on the radio (CKSA, CJNB). The WHL Saskatoon Blades played good hockey, Bernie Federko played for them, and they were on CFQC Saskatoon.
Then there was the NHL. I was a Boston Bruins fan, had their hockey cards lined up C-L-R (Esposito-Cashman-Hodge, Bucyk-Stanfield-McKenzie, Bailey/Walton-Sanderson-Wesfall) and then on defence (Orr-Dallas Smith, Don Awrey-Ted Green, Rick Smith) and in goal (Gerry Cheevers, Eddie Johnston). Harry Sinden the coach then GM, Milt Schmidt the GM then down the line after losing Daniel Bouchard at the 1972 expansion draft.
It’s always a blast to see how teams are built. You can run through the last two months of comments on this blog and feel the certainty in the comments. Will the Oilers run as you expect opening night? Certainty doesn’t work like it did in 1972.
- New Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- New DNB: Oilers voice their frustration over top prospect Dylan Holloway’s injury setback
- Lowetide: A set roster? Oilers training camp gone wild? Expect the unexpected
- Lowetide: Xavier Bourgault and his ETA with the Edmonton Oilers
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway’s season and why patience is vital for Oilers’ prospect
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- New DNB: Mailbag.
- Lowetide: Oilers’ potential Olympians are a small group with maximum possible impact
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Why Oilers can expect an offensive rebound from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should be excited about the progress of Maxim Berezkin
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- Lowetide: Did the Oilers find the new Fernando Pisani when signing Derek Ryan?
- Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Zach Hyman in his first season?
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway headlines new arrivals for Bakersfield Condors in 2021-22
- Lowetide: Why Oilers fans should expect more trades and a deep playoff run this season
- Lowetide: How much playing time will Evan Bouchard get with the Oilers this coming season?
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
- Lowetide: How many goals will Jesse Puljujarvi score for the Oilers next season?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021-22 depth chart
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
Injuries aside, this group will be dressed opening night. There’s plenty of discussions about what the lines might look like, Zack Kassian may get a big push in an effort to spread out the scoring. Nuge at center? Hyman on right wing? A third line of Foegele-Nuge-Puljujarvi? I don’t think so, honestly the team is paying Zach Hyman a pile of cash and that’s a clear indicator he’ll be on the No. 1 line. My guess: Hyman-97-Puljujarvi; Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto; Foegele-Ryan-Archibald. We’ll see.
A new addition to the group in the form of a PTO (Colton Sceviour) who is a pretty close comparable for Josh Archibald. Not certain where this is headed, but Archibald is the man with a contract so bet on him. There’s room for one or two defenders from this list, along with an extra goalie and 3-5 forwards. I’ll guess Koekkoek, Shore, McLeod, Yamamoto, Benson and Turris but it’s going to be an interesting race among the ruins.
Despite being distant bells, Samorukov, Broberg and Konovalov have enough pro experience in Europe to make it to main camp with some momentum if things go well. Keep an eye on Markus Niemelainen too, the Oilers have a need for big men with shutdown ability and mobility. He could be a recall option during the season.
AS THE WORLD TURNS
This is one of my favourite boxscores of the century, you can see the future rolling out in front of you. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear would all make the NHL and prove themselves worthy of important roles on an NHL team. Whatever took place since that night, the 2015 rookies have made their mark on the NHL over and over again.
THE NEWS IS OUT, ALL OVER TOWN
Where do you get your news? When I’m live on the air today 10-noon on the Lowdown, I’ll visit this site’s comments section many times. People tend to drop off news items here. I also follow Rishaug, Gazzola, Gregor, Wilkins, everyone who is consistently down at the rink. Most of the big news items in summer come from the national reporters, but in the next three weeks local reporting is your life line.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hit the ground running with massive Oilers reporting from Rogers Place as rookie camp gets underway, and we’ll talk NFL Thursday night as well. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!