My Grandpa loved Louis L’Amour novels. His entire bedroom was filled with them, and short stories about the west. He was a working man, farmed near Neilburg, Saskatchewan. He used to sit in his house on Saturday nights when I was a kid (this was in Maple Ridge, everyone moved to the coast, where I was born, but they were all farmers), drink a few beers and express real sorrow for not going to the war in 1939. The government kept him home to farm and supply milk and food for the war effort. I remember my Dad trying to console him while they played cards, about a time in their lives that by that time was 25 years past. Imagine.
Grandpa was a complicated man, I didn’t connect with him on many levels, and the written words of Louis L’Amour have not found a place in my heart through this day.
He did love things no one else in my world valued, like the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Harry James trumpet music. My world was filled with the music on the radio, country mostly, and the stuff my Mom listened to as a teenager and young adult (Elvis, Roy Orbison, Little Richard).
Me? I liked Burl Ives and then the Monkees, but I was influenced by everyone. Including Harry James, and probably Louis too somewhere along the way.
- New Lowetide: What will three outscoring lines do for the Oilers and Connor McDavid?
- New DNB: Oilers training camp questions
- New Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- Lowetide: Examining Ken Holland’s Oilers plan and how it could impact the future
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- DNB: Cooper Marody Q&A
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- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- 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: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- 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: 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?
CERTAIN OILERS (17)
This group is down one from last week (Josh Archibald) and we’ll see about Kris Russell but it sounded like the issue there was short term. I’m still sussing out the intel, but based on what Spec wrote last night Ken Holland is not only a helluva vacuum salesman but went two out of three on the Dad “what do you want from life?” talk with a trio of veterans.
Things to watch for: Two healthy goalies from this list, the four available blue also healthy, and of course the likely Hyman-McDavid and Draisaitl-Yamamoto pairs. Personally I’d run JP with 97 and Nuge with Leon, but we’ll see.
Oh, and one thing my Grandpa did was look for patterns. He kept track of the weather on his farm (this was after everyone moved back to Saskatchewan) and planned his days based on whatever the hell his knee, last year’s records and the Farmer’s Almanac were telling him.
Ken Holland reminded me of him this week, when he started talking about a 37-year old (Chris Chelios) he acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks a couple of decades back, and Duncan Keith repeating the pattern.
Hopefully the Farmer’s Almanac and the NHL Guide and Record Book got their patterns straight.
UNCERTAIN OILERS (12)
Five forwards likely from this group and suddenly Archibald appears to be the odd man out. That puts Colton Sceviour in a good spot, and I think we can assume Devin Shore is in if only for a penalty killing role.
Ryan McLeod should be on the team but will need to be productive. I just can’t see the team sending that kind of speed back to Bakersfield, he’s a creator of chaos and is first to pucks always. That leaves Turris and one of Benson or Perlini as the final addition.
On defense, Koekkoek has the inside track if he shows well in preseason. Skinner is suddenly a goalie who could play 10-15 games or more, if required, due to the news from yesterday.
A quick note on Archibald. He has the right to decline the vaccine, and the Oilers have the right to keep him from playing by placing him on the suspended list. He will have made a few million during his career so far, and perhaps this is the best time to step away, for one year or longer. Mike Green didn’t return to the bubble, Archibald has the option to remain unvaccinated. The world is no doubt coming at him quickly, it isn’t clear to me when the reality of his situation clicked in. Based on what the NHL and NHLPA were saying not so long ago, it was at least possible a player could see himself playing in the NHL with only a daily test.
My Dad always told me you had to choose the hill to die on. That’s what we may have here. Society is making choices for the greater good, and these moments are going to occur across many industries. Hockey is famous and public, thus Archibald is in the news.
DISTANT BELLS (33)
If I did this list correctly, and let’s pretend I did, no one from this list will make the opening night roster. The strongest candidates are Konovalov (all goalies move up now), Broberg (he’s fast but needs some time according to Mike Zanier and others) and Raphael Lavoie (he needs to keep those feet moving).
It’s an interesting group. Today, you would do well to check on all the players, making sure they’re on the ice and moving freely. Especially the goalies.
CHIARELLI IN ST. LOUIS
Peter Chiarelli was hired in a prominent role by the St. Louis Blues yesterday, and of course Oilers fans had reactions that were understandably strong. As a Bruins fan, I thought Chiarelli would come to Edmonton, make some enormous moves and eventually bring Stanley to Edmonton.
That didn’t happen.
Ken Holland was his replacement, and at this point has attempted to handle the issues in a similar fashion. Oh, he didn’t trade Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson and he didn’t trade 16 and 33 for Griffin Reinhart. However, the price of Andreas Athanasiou and Duncan Keith, if we’re honest, were substantial and will/could be remembered as major steps back for the organization’s assets.
As for Chiarelli, that Stanley Cup ring from Boston still shines and NHL owners/managers value it highly. I don’t know that he’ll be a GM again, but it’s possible.
The Oilers don’t value analytics like the Tampa Bay Lightning, or the Carolina Hurricanes. You’d like to see the organization firing on all pistons during some of the McDavid years, but that appears to be a phone call that will go unanswered. The analytics will arrive with the next lottery pick in Edmonton, I expect.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A big show today, TSN1260, beginning at 10. The dominant subject will be Oilers camp, we’ll have reports from the rink all morning. We’ll also have a preview of the NFL Week 3 game between Panthers and Titans tonight. Phil Berna, Men’s Captain for the Canadian Rugby team will talk about Rugby 7’s coming to Edmonton this weekend. Mike House from the Stollery will also join us to talk about the Mighty Millions Lottery who are coming up on a big deadline. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!