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Preview: All Oil...all the time!

Ramblings of a Sports Junkie

Updated: 2016-09-07T22:28:09.745-06:00


The Answer is Yes.


The question is have the Oilers lost their mind? There will be a dramatic price increase for the new arena (not news) but some of the potential increases are a bit crazy. Here are some screen captures from the Oilers survey that was sent to the season seat holders last week. These are not set in stone nor did everyone receive the same survey; prices varied in the survey. As you can see, some of the price increases are crazy. This is also just a survey to gauge our reaction. They are not increasing prices 300%. I would be pretty shocked if that happened.Likely the increase will be in the 15-20% range as it was for the Penguins new arena a few years back. Keep in mind though, the Oilers are already near the top in average season seat price. Supply and demand will the reason cited. It's true but let's not forget that after the Oilers Stanley Cup run, prices jumped dramatically. Mine went up 18%. I wasn't happy to pay for that increase but my team had just made the final so I wasn't about to walk away. On-ice performance matters.However, with a team that has finished near the bottom of the league for more years than I care to remember, jacking ticket prices up that same 18% is going to make me think a little bit longer.Here is what will happen: fans will not abandon this team YET. Why? We want to see the new arena. I do. I hate that I do but I will be there opening night. The biggest test comes in years two and beyond. Will we still be willing to pay that 15-20% jump in year one and then the expected price increases in subsequent years?The past five years, I've paid between 2-8% increase each year. After that first year in the new arena, I will be less inclined to continue wasting my money on a losing franchise.I do not see this team improving any time soon. Any minute now, they will trade their best defenseman (Petry) for  nothing (similar to the Hemsky, Perron, etc trades). Actual NHL players will be shuttled off to new teams and the Oilers will have more draft picks while management continues their incompetent reign. This isn't about affording Oilers season tickets. I can afford these price increases. The question is do I really want to pay that kind of money for that kind of on-ice   performance. Pretty easy answer to that question.So take a look at some of these suggested price increases. The increase in the 300s/upper bowl is insane. From a current $1372 to $4300 (between blue lines) - that is over 300% increase. That seems unlikely, right?I have a seat in the 200s - first row of the 200s. With the lower bowl increasing in size, does my seat go from the 200s to the lower bowl? It would become a club seat if it did; to stay with the same row number and location. That's an increase from $4762 to $10,300: more than double the increase. Or would I be given the option of dropping levels; going higher? We have no information on seat allocation at this time. We do not know how they are going to decide it. But if my seat becomes a club seat, I won't be impressed with the double increase. I can see club seating increasing dramatically.And all those other fancy seats - goalpost grill? Theatre boxes? Sky grill? That's for the corporate people. I would never want to pay that kind of money for hockey. I'd prefer to save money to go watch Olympic hockey! :)It's an interesting time in Oil Country. Improve your on-ice performance and the fans can stomach an expected price increase of 15-20%.But no way to 100-300%. That's likely just a scare tactic so that final increase won't seem so insane. Or maybe I'm totally jaded by now. So thanks Oilers for getting me to post about you; I was thinking of holding out until this team became watchable. Yeah I'll be waiting a long time. [...]

Sail on Captain Canada....


I couldn't bring myself to post much this past year especially after the Oilers ditched my Ales Hemsky! I also went to Sochi to watch the Olympics and was there for Canadian gold in hockey and curling! But we have something to talk about....important news!Ryan Smyth is announcing his retirement this afternoon and his last game will be on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.I was thoroughly shocked. I did not see this coming; I assumed the Oilers would offer him another one year contract especially since Smitty has played well this year. There should be room for him on this team. Look at the fourth line? Gazdic? Hendricks? Arco? Lander? Hell yes there is room for Smitty: fourth line minutes and lots of PK time!!My guess is MacT is giving him a shove out of the door. Another mistake for MacTavish this year which includes ditching Hemsky for nothing and watching him light it up in Ottawa while he gets minutes with good players. With Smyth retiring and Hemsky receiving his freedom, the last link to the 2006 playoff run will be gone. Twitter also mentioned Smyth is the last active player from the Stars-Oilers playoff series in 1997. That is amazing. From the 1994 draft, only Alfredsson and Elias have more points than Ryan. Another amazing stat!Smyth has a pretty good resume: Captain Canada; winning gold at the world junior, world championships, and the Olympics. The only thing missing is the damn Stanley Cup. I really wished he had won it with the Oilers (or any team). He's the type of player and person who should have a Stanley Cup.Memories - I don't remember when he became my favourite player but he was until February 27, 2007. I was angry at both Lowe and Smyth for letting a small amount of money get in the way of signing a contract extension. I never thought we would see him in Oilers colours again. Then rumours started before the NHL draft in 2011 that Ryan Smyth wanted to return to the Oilers or Alberta. Tambellini almost screwed up that deal but a few days after the draft, Ryan Smyth was an Oiler again and all was right with the world.My first Oilers jersey was Tikkanen: a xmas gift when I was a teenager. The first jersey I ever purchased was Ryan Smyth and that is the one I will be wearing on Saturday night as we say goodbye to a great player. He didn't have the best skill but man he was a fighter. He fought for every inch on that ice; played the tough minutes; took so much abuse in front of the net. No one plays like Ryan Smyth.I grew up in Manitoba and didn't go to many games. I was at the playoff games in 1990 and a couple preseason games in Winnipeg where none of the good players showed up. My first great memory of Ryan Smyth came in 2001 when I made my boyfriend visit Edmonton for some playoff action instead of a golfing trip! The Oilers lost of course to the Dallas Stars but it was a helleva game and they lost by one goal. I moved to Edmonton in 2003 and was lucky enough to attend the Heritage Classic outdoor game. I was more focused on finally seeing Gretzky in person but always remember Smyth in that game. I became a season ticket holder in 2005 just in time for the magical run to the Stanley Cup final. One game away from getting Smitty his Stanley Cup. I was gutted that he never won a Cup. On Saturday night, we hope to see one more powerplay goal for Ryan. He is currently tied with Glenn Anderson for most powerplay goals. Just one more for the fans, Ryan. After this year, the fans need something to cheer for that is not related to draft positioning. I hope to see the Smitty more time!!I hope Ryan will be wearing the C for the first and last time. He is the unofficial Captain of any team he plays on.The tears will be flowing on Saturday night.Ryan Smyth looking deep into our souls! 94 Forever [...]

Welcome to the Campbell Conference, Bitch!


The Jets have not played in Edmonton since March 29, 1996 (ignoring our recent preseason) and I'm quite excited to see them again. I grew up in Manitoba, cheering for the Oilers of course, but I have many friends and family who still live in Manitoba. I've been smacking talking my brother all day. Don't let me down Edmonton!!

Hemsky and his Oilers are going to put a few pucks behind Pavelec.

Welcome to the Western Conference, bitch (CAMPBELL CONFERENCE)! You are not in Kansas anymore. No easy games in the West anymore; it is a much tougher conference. It is going to be a rough season for those little Jets.

Let's remember the old Smythe division years (and a name that should have been resurrected for the realignment instead of the exciting name of.....Pacific) when the Edmonton Oilers played the Winnipeg Jets all the time. I like to refer to the Winnipeg Jets as the free spot on the bingo card. The free spot on the bingo card is BACK!

Oilers and their fans should be VERY happy the Jets are back in our conference. Unfortunately they are NOT in our division (the lovely named Pacific) but the Oilers will still play them several times this year.  Welcome to the Western Conference, Bitch! :)

One final note, Andrew Ference is now the 14th Captain in the history of the Edmonton Oilers. I would have preferred Taylor Hall but as I said on twitter, this probably is not a big deal. Everyone knows that Taylor Hall is the BEST and MOST important player on the Oilers. Hall doesn't need a C to lead - he does that every night ON the ice. 

Tonight - Oilers vs Jets. Let's bring it on.

Update: Thanks to Ryan Batty for setting me straight - it is the CAMPBELL CONFERENCE BITCHES!!!

Halleluiah, Ales Hemsky is still an Oiler


Halleluiah, Ales Hemsky is still an Oiler. I did not see this happening. Of course, I hope when training camp opens in a few weeks he is still here. Maybe I am a bit paranoid but I expect him to traded for a bag of pucks because the Oilers are stupid.Do I dare expect him in the lineup on opening night?  I want this SO badly. Dude can still play. Oilers need NHL players. It is a no-brainer that we MUST keep him. I know MacT wanted to trade him so I cannot fully get on board with the MacT-is-smart. Sure Hemsky remains an Oiler because MacTavish did not ditch him for some idiot third line checker. So yes, MacT is not a complete idiot but he did want to trade him in the first place.Speaking of trades, I am sad to see little Shawn Horcoff leave us. While he was overpaid, he was a VERY useful player. The Oilers will miss his defensive play. He played those tough minutes, along with our Hemsky, for many years. His tenure with the Oilers should not be noted for getting one of the greatest contracts one could get for having a good year (points-wise). The pre-season starts in a month and yes I am starting to look forward to hockey. Seriously, in the past week, I am jonesing for hockey BIG TIME!  Let's go Oilers, hook me up.Opening night is set for October 1st when the Jets come to town for the first time long?  According to, it appears the last time a team from Winnipeg played in Edmonton was March 29, 1996. Oilers won (OF COURSE) 3-2.  Fun fact, Nikolai Khabibulin played goal for those Jets. Oh and Satan scored two goals for the Oilers. Good thing they traded him not long after for basically a bag of pucks.My last game in Winnipeg was way back in 1995 (October 11) when I cheered on Mark Messier's Rangers. They did win 6-4.  The Moose had two assists and the players loaded the bus from an area blocked off from the fans so I could not snag an autograph. I did get a blurry picture....must find that somewhere.Sadly, I may miss the home-opener because I have tickets to John Cleese's show, "Last Time to See Me Before I Die."  I cannot miss an opportunity to see Cleese before he dies.  His show kept selling out so damn fast, they added three more shows. I have a ticket to the first show. If I can switch my tickets, I will be in Rexall cheering on my Oilers over the Jets, just like the days of old in Manitoba.I was born and raised in Manitoba and NEVER cheered for the Jets. I was the annoying kid in the stands cheering for the Oilers. And believe me, I was SUPER annoying.  I took a lot of pride in that.So as I told me brother and several other Jets' fan when I was in Manitoba for vacation this summer (and hope it is true), welcome to the Western Conference BITCH!  :)Last thing, check out my travel blog, The Travelling Historian. I'll be posting about my travels and giving tips. Plus I will post as we lead up to the Sochi Olympics.  I've been to Europe five or six times and am planning another trip for this upcoming February 2014 to Moscow, the Sochi Olympics and Prague.  I have been to the last two Olympics in London and Vancouver so I am ready to cheer on my Canadians one more time. In particular, I am hoping to see both hockey teams win again. I was lucky enough to have tickets to both events in Vancouver and hey, I have tickets to both events again in Sochi. Women's and men's hockey, let's go!!!!![...]

Out of the Darkness


Do you ever wish that you were still in the dark?  I made that comment recently on twitter regarding the Oilers. It was partly in jest but I almost meant it. Sometimes I wish I did not know all that I know.I know so much more than I did when I was a teenager living in southern Manitoba watching the Oilers on CBC, if they happened to show them. That was rare. In those days, there was one game on Saturday night and it almost never included the Edmonton Oilers. We all know who they showed; the god damn Toronto Maples Leafs. I lived in Manitoba but they would show the damn Leafs while people in Saskatchewan and West would get the Oilers game. It was frustrating to us Oiler fans in Manitoba. I remember writing letters to the CBC bitching about this and asking them to show my team more often. Then came the double header, I think in the 1990s. Finally, the Oilers were on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada regularly.I remember a time when anything I knew about my Edmonton Oilers came from either the CBC Hockey Night in Canada people or from the local newspapers in Manitoba and later in Alberta where I moved. This was and is still considered the MSM (mainstream media). Bloggers did not exist. Fancy stats did not exist. The internet was in its infancy. We have come a long way in a short time. The amount of information available is incredible. Anytime we want to know something, let's google it and you will have it within seconds.When did everything change? For me it was after I moved to Alberta in 2003. I was now in a hockey city again. The Jets had been gone from Winnipeg for around seven years and it just was not the same living in Manitoba without a hockey team (sorry minor hockey does not count)!  I came here for graduate school, picking Edmonton over Toronto, a decision I would still make today, but I was more excited about being able to go to Oiler games on a regular basis more than anything.My first year in Edmonton: I went to Grant Fuhr's jersey retirement ceremony and then the Heritage Classic. It was the first time I had seen Gretzky play in person and I was excited. I was actually more excited for Messier as he was my favorite hockey player. I had seen him play for the Rangers in Winnipeg, the last Jets game I have been to, but was glad to finally see him in Oiler colors!By 2004, I think this is when I started my blog. Not this one on blogger, I had one on MSN. It is now long gone. When I made the switch to blogger in 2006 maybe, I never went back to msn until it was too late and never saved my old blogs before they switched over to wordpress. I wish I had just to save one post where I called the 2006 Edmonton Oilers serious Stanley Cup contenders IF they found a decent goalie.The Oilogosphere was born around this time. Dozens upon dozens of Oiler blogs popped up around this time. I will not name them all but there were some great ones. Some are now defunct, possibly due to seven years of mediocrity, but many continue. These blogs were fun and informative. Some blogs were super into stats, particularly new stats or expanding on current stats. No longer were you looking only for goals, assists, penalty minutes and plus/minus. Now there is the Corsi, zone starts, goals and points over 60 minutes and per game averages, quality of linemates and opposition, and scoring chances.  So when the Oilers make a bad trade or signing, I know.  Or at least, I have access to more information to know that it is probably not a good trade. One example: when the Oilers traded Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz, I know it is a horrible trade. In the preblog world, I would hear how tough and big he is, how gritty and physical he is from the media and not know that it was not entirely accurate. I would not know that trading a two-way puck-moving defenseman who is more physical than the stay-at-home tough guy was a bad trade. I love that we have access to information. I wish more hockey fans would read these blogs and educate th[...]

Oilers Hockey is Back


We are a few hours away from the return of Oilers hockey. I admit that I am excited and as the NHL expected, the fans have returned. Have we returned completely? Probably more so than not. I did vow that I would buy less merchandise and beer; so far I have held up that promise. Although I am already regretting my 'less beer' stance.This shortened season will be interesting. 48 games with many players not playing for months. The Oilers do not have this problem as many have been playing either in the AHL or in Europe. They should have a head start to the season over quite a few other teams.  Will the success in the AHL and Europe translate to the NHL? I imagine some of it will and there will be struggles as well.  Aside from an appearance in the Spengler Cup, Dubnyk did not play during the lockout. This is his moment to seize as he starts as the Oilers' number one goalie. He played well during the second part of last season and if he can continue, the Oilers will have a chance for some playoff hockey.The forwards are the most game ready with Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, Hemsky and Gagner all playing during the lockout and playing extremely well.  This is your Oilers top two lines and they are expected to light teams up this year. Last year, the team scored fewer goals than the previous season so the team must take a step forward and not back. They won more games last year but still finished near the bottom (29th if you do not remember). They had the fortunate luck of winning the draft lottery and picking the exciting Nail Yakupov who had a very good stretch in the KHL but underperformed at the World Junior's.  The OKC boys lit it up down in the AHL and Nugent-Hopkins continued his dominance at the World Juniors but that was not enough to medal.  Hemsky and Gagner played in Europe and while both did very well, Hemsky in particular showed he was back to his dangling self.  With two healthy shoulders, this should be Hemsky's year and if practice has showed anything, he has developed chemistry with Gagner and Yakupov and he may finally have a finisher on his line in Yakupov at the same time as being healthy.The defense....what to say about it? With a hopefully healthy Whitney and the signing of Justin Schultz, they should be able to put up the points particularly on the powerplay. The BIG question is can they stop the bleeding in their own end?  The Oilers defense is their weakness and it has been for some time.  The other Schultz and Smid should help but this team does lack a bit of depth even with the addition of Fistric. With the offensive-minded forwards, the defense will need to step up if the Oilers wish to see hockey in May.To predict where the Oilers will finish this year is difficult.  They finished 29th last year and added a Schultz, a Yakupov and a Fistric. Is that enough to jump from 14th in their conference into at least 8th place? That seems like a daunting task since the Oilers need to improve in almost every single area. The only great stat from last year is the powerplay where they finished 3rd and they will need to maintain that to have a chance. Their PK was an improvement last year but they'll need to take less penalties and improve the killing to top ten at least.  Oilers were a very penalized team last year so they must cut down on the number of penalties while improving the pk.The other change has been behind the bench. Can Ralph Krueger take over from Tom Renney and lead this team into the playoffs?  One hopes so.I think the Oilers are the hardest team to predict. From finishing 29th last year to having so many players kicking butt during the lockout, to having an iffy defense and unproven goalie, this is a hard one to see.  Many see the Oilers finishing 13th in the conference (so said the TSN dudes). I think they will finish more than one spot higher than last year but that defense will pr[...]

Freddy's Back!!


Ralph Krueger (not Freddy) is the Oilers new head coach.  Do I like the call?  Not really.  Do I hate it?  No.  I'm more meh on the whole situation.  First the Oilers let Renney hang out to dry for a month before they fired him.  Second, it took the Oilers a month and a half to hire Krueger.  Normally that would not be a problem but when you promote someone from within your own organization, you would assume it would not take months to accomplish.  Third, Krueger comes with no NHL head coaching experience.  While that is not a prerequisite for a successful NHL coach, I thought it might be the way to go.  Or go after one of those AHL rising stars.  The Oilers are pimping Krueger's successful stint as the head coach of Team Swiss and in particular, ONE victory over Canada in 2006.  Sure that was an upset but should not be the reason you hire him.  You can say he took a not very talented Swiss team and made them into a quasi-hard team to play against.  It was all defense.  Krueger states he won't coach the Oilers the same way he did with the Swiss because the Oilers have better skilled players.  That is a positive.  Oilers are pimping his role in the improvement in the Oilers powerplay.  I believe he probably played a role in that but do you not think maybe it was more to do with personnel (such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in particular) than with the coaching?  Oilers are pimping his motivational skills.  I have no idea if this is accurate or not.  If it is, then he never said anything to anyone last year in terms of team motivation (not including his possible role in improving the powerplay).  Apparently he wrote a successful book in Germany.  Okay?TSN's Dreger says the young Oilers really like him.  Also he claims to make everyone accountable for their actions.  If true, that is another positive.I do not believe the Oilers 29th place finish last year is all on Tom Renney.  The Oilers did NOT provide enough NHL players for him.  Did he make mistakes?  Of course (hello Belanger on the powerplay point) but he was not the sole reason for 29th.  He improved the young players immensely.  He did not seem to have much affect on the veterans so maybe Krueger can light a fire under them.  If Krueger does improve this team, it will not be his victory only.  It will be partly due to Renney, improvement of the young players and partly due to Tambellini giving him better supporting players this year.  Tambellini MUST sign better free agents.  The first test if Justin Schultz.  Can the Oilers with Krueger tempt him to sign here?  Does hiring Krueger help the Oilers case to free agents?  That is a big question and one I'm not sure of yet.I'm still meh on this hiring but hope to be proved wrong. GOILERS[...]

Renney goners!


I've been a bad blogger.  I'm going to try to post a little more often.  Today a quickie:  Tom Renney is fired and speaks to the media.  Part of me is fine with firing Renney as I didn't love everything he did with the team.  This includes playing certain players a bit too much (Belanger on the powerplay, Khabibulin in the net too much in the first half and scratching Omark almost every game near the end of the season).  However, on the other hand, he did seem to get quite a bit out of the kids.  Hall and Eberle developed nicely this year with Eberle flirting in the top ten of scoring for a chunk of the year.  He brought Nugent-Hopkins along slowly even though the media and fans were screaming for more ice team, he took his time.  He limited his defensive zone starts and ice time until he was ready to handle more later in the season.  He relied on Horcoff and Smyth for the tough minutes and played them against the best opposition since the kids were not ready.

One thing I despise about the whole process was it took Tambellini over a month to drop the hammer.  Everyone knew he was getting the boot but Tambellini wanted Renney to relax, draw up a plan and come back later to discuss it.  Renney was very classy in his presser and took the high road.  The Oilers need to improve their reputation.

Next up, NHL draft in a month where the Oilers have the first overall pick again.  Please let this be the last time.  All the experts are saying Nail Yakupov is the man to take so therefore the Oilers should take him.  Trading down to take a defenseman would be a stupid move.  Defensemen take forever to develop and the Oilers should be able to find decent options via trade or free agency (hopefully Tambellini/Lowe sign better ones this off-season). 

I'm thinking about doing a podcast with a friend this fall....will let you know if it goes ahead.  I'm thinking it would be fun to discuss the Oilers....we do it all the time anyway so might as well tape it!

Go Oilers

Getting ready to say good-bye


I do not remember when I first saw Ales Hemsky play for the Edmonton Oilers.  I do not remember when I became a fan.  I do not remember when he became my favorite Oilers hockey player.  I do remember more magical moments than I can count when Ales Hemsky was on the ice.I remember game six verses Detroit in 2006 where he won the game with two spectacular tallies which clinched the series, the Oilers first in many years.  I remember that last second goal against Dallas when they missed the open net.  I remember Hemsky going to the tough areas every night and getting crushed from Regehr, Phaneuf, Kronwall, and so on.  I was in the arena on all of those nights and it was electrifying.  It STILL is.My first year in Edmonton was 2003 and I became a season ticket holder in 2005 just in time for that magnificent run.  Hemsky has been the only player that made me jump out of my seat on a regular basis.  Could he have scored more goals?  Yes.  Could he have shot the puck more?  Absolutely.  However, you really need to appreciate him for who he is and he is a helluva play-maker.If only he had anyone to pass to for the past decade.  Hemsky has not played with very good players during his Oilers tenure until this year.  He had almost a decade of linemates ranging from Horcoff to Smyth to Jacques to Pederson.  Personally I like and respect both Horcoff and Smyth as players but they have no business on a line with Ales.Even with lesser teammates, Hemsky put up very good numbers.  Since the lockout, he is a 0.92 point per game player.  That ranks 29th of all players.  He is ahead of Rick Nash who sits at 0.89.  Nash has only one +70 point season while Hemsky has two.  Nash gets the edge on games played 438 to 360.  I'm comparing him to Nash simply because both are on the block right now and could be traded at the deadline next week.  They are both wingers but are quite different in playing styles.  Hemsky is a free agent this summer while Nash is locked in until 2018.  Hemsky's cap hit is $4.1m while Nash is $7.8m.  Hemsky is 28 years old while Nash is 27. Rumors have Hemsky asking for a longer term deal (5 years) at roughly $5.5m.  Hemsky is making $5m this year while his cap hit is $4.1.  So do you consider the asking price to be high?  The amount is reasonable but term may be a bit high if the Oilers are hesitant due to injuries.   Has Hemsky been looked over by the doctors?  Are the shoulders completely healed?  Have you even looked into this???Hemsky has been quite consistent over his decade-long Oilers career.  This is his FIRST major slump of his entire career but is coming off back-to-back shoulder surgeries.  It has taken him longer than expected to get comfortable again but considering this is his first major slump of his career, he still is putting up 0.56 points per game.  He is not on the first unit powerplay anymore, has not played a lot of minutes with Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins (Horcoff the most), is coming off shoulder surgery, is possibly a bit irritated the kids are getting all the attention (not sure I'm completely sold on that, Hemsky has never been a fame whore), playing the tough minutes and the toughest opposition so the kids can be sheltered....and all of this without a contract offer thus far after a decade of service.The writing is on the wall.  Listen to most media and television commentators and they all seem to be promoting the party line:  Hemsky is lazy, injury-prone, does not care, is the first off ice in practice and is inconsistent.  When the folks at TSN start running him down, you know he is not long for this Oilers' world.I think what irritates me the most is that the media cannot think for them[...]

Return of Oilers Hockey


We are all excited that the 2011-12 season is almost under way.  Even Mark is excited.  Although I am not sure exactly how excited he small as that towel is, it covers just enough (too bad)!

Training camp is under way and the first preseason game was last night in Edmonton and Saskatoon.  Split squads played the Hawks in Saskatoon and the Wild in Edmonton.  Toonville saw the Nuge, Smyth and Eberle while Edmonton was treated to the Swedish line and Hall.  I was at the Edmonton game so I cannot say how well the other split squad played but they nevertheless won the game 4-2.  By all accounts, Dubnyk played quite well.

At least one of our goalies had a good game last night because it was a dreadful 30 minutes of action for the one and only, Mr. Nikolai Khabibulin.  Three goals on seven shots in the first period.  We can give him a pass on the first goal that deflected off one of the defenders (Marincin I believe) but the other two were ugly.

Some quick thoughts from the game:
  • Musil and Marincin struggled along with most of the defense.  Try-out kid Tupulov had some shaky moments but you can see there is talent there but wow is it raw.   I would like to see the Oilers sign him to Oklahoma and see if they can work out the rawness.
  • Taylor Hall picked up where he left off last season.  He had several first rate chances and easily could have scored a hatty.  Bad penalty late in the game led to the winning goal by the Wild.  D'oh!!
  • The Swedish meatballs line played very good together.  Lander, Paajarvi and Omark obviously have chemistry and it'll be interesting to see if they play on a line together.
  • Will Lander make the team?  With that game, yes.  However, it is more dependent on whether Nugent-Hopkins makes the team out of training camp and stays up.  Lander will at the very least be one of the first call-ups and should play half the year with the Oilers.
  • Hordichuk?  I thought he knew how to fight.
  • Belanger can win faceoffs, except the one that led to the winning goal (oopsie)!
It's only one preseason game but you can see where the strengths and weaknesses of this team lie; weak defense and goaltending but getting stronger up front.  Hopefully Edmonton gets to see the Nuge at the next preseason game along with a few more of the regulars.

Go Oilers!

The Return of a Team I Never Cheered For!


This picture is from April 4, 1990, game one of the divisional semifinals between the glorious Edmonton Oilers and the perennial loser Winnipeg Jets.  Winnipeg would win this game 7-5 and end up taking a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in the series.  However, Edmonton would not go down without a fight and they came back to win the next three games and win the series in seven games.  This is the last time the two teams met in the NHL playoffs and I was there for games three, four and six in Winnipeg.  Two car loads of family drove from Minnedosa to Winnipeg with our CBC sign (Crazy Boyd Clan + Bruce), a two hour journey to watch hockey.  With my dad, brother, uncle, and cousins all cheering for Winnipeg, I was the lone Oiler fan and in my opinion, the voice of reason.  I refused to dress in white, would not participate in the charge of the white brigade but happily accepted my white pompoms and cheered mightily for my Oilers.  As my cousin recently told me last month, I was the annoying Oiler fan on the trip and irritated him immensely during these games.  Mission accomplished.Winnipeg won games three and four, with one going into overtime.  I was devastated but my boys refused to die, winning game five and coming back to Winnipeg for game six and seven.  I was elated and very annoying to my Jets crew.  I took pride in how many people I could annoy.  I went to many Oilers games in Winnipeg and was sad when the Jets left town in 1996.  Fast forward a few years and I'm living in Winnipeg getting my Master of Arts in history.  The Jets left several years before in 1996 and the only hockey I got was the occasional pre-season game (usually the Oilers) and a trip to Edmonton in 2000 for some playoff hockey.  Yes my Oilers lost again to Dallas but it was a close game.I finally moved to Edmonton in 2003 and during the first year, I was lucky to gets tickets for Grant Fuhr's retirement (front row baby), the Heritage Classic (finally seeing Gretzky in an Oilers uniform) and several years later, I was able to buy season tickets just in time for their run to the Stanley Cup final. Fast forward six years, the Oilers are in a rebuild and hockey has returned to Winnipeg.  While I can never abandon my Oilers, I think I can cheer for Winnipeg as my second team.  In any case, I'm escatic that hockey has returned to my home province.  I go home two to three times a year so I am thrilled my family will be able to hit up hockey games once again.  I am debating about being there for Winnipeg's home opener and have told my family I will actually cheer for them (unless they play my Oilers).  It will bring back a lot of good memories.One final thought, let's hope they are named the Jets.  I know it is not the same team returning and continuity will take a hit but Ottawa got their Senators name back (yes a longer break between teams) so why not the Jets?  People will still buy the merchandise even though they have Jets stuff.  But most importantly, a majority of the fans in Manitoba want the Jets so if you want them to ante up for tickets, you'd better keep a bit happy.  Also, I have not liked any of the other possibilities floating around:  Falcons, Polar Bears, Moose.  They do not work.Welcome back to Winnipeg!  Hockey rules!![...]

Anyone but Vancouver


So our Oilers are getting another first round draft pick.  Yeah this happened a month ago but I've been busy.  I am watching the NHL playoffs but let's face it, if my Oil aren't involved, I'm not as involved.  However, I am watching even though all the teams I cheered for in the first round are out (Montreal, Pittsburgh and Chicago).  I am now cheering for Tampa Bay and whoever Vancouver plays.  I just do not want those diving cheating Canucks winning anything.  I hate divers.

I am watching the Sharks-Wings game right now before I head off to System of a Down concert.  Wings are getting so many chances but can't bury them or Niemi is holding the Sharks in this game.  It is an elimination game for the Wings so they better start burying their chances soon.

I am planning a trip to Rome and Athens in October.  I have been crazy busy researching my trip.  I hope to book it soon.  I wish miss the first three weeks of the Oilers season which makes me sad.  I missed the first three weeks when I went to Germany in 2008 but I did keep up with the scores for part of the trip.  I hope they have a better October this year than in 2008.  They started 4-0 but lost the next 5.  So let's not repeat that, okay?

Did the Wings score finally?  Crap, it was the Sharks.

Anyway, with another first round pick which I think the Oilers will select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (read some of the head scout's interviews, seems like this is the guy) even though I was hoping for Larsson.  But these guys are the experts and all I want is for them to take the best player available.  My only concern with Hopkins is quite a few of his points are scored on the powerplay.  I hope he is not a PP specialist.  But lots of praise coming out for the kid so this could be the guy.

Oilers do not have to make the playoffs next year BUT BUT BUT they have to be in the mix.  They cannot be out of the race by December.  Just compete harder, put up some more points and maybe keep Khabby out of the goal more often.  Give the fans something to cheer for.....


Down go the Habs!


Twice a year, the Leafs and Habs visit Rexall Place.  Both of these team's fans are annoying as hell.  They infiltrate the arena, infecting it with their douchiness, and out cheer the home team.  However, last night, the home team got the last laugh and the biggest cheers when the game was over.  The Edmonton Oilers, who are currently sitting in 30th in the NHL, yes that is dead last, beat the Habs, a playoff team. 

It was a delightful night of hockey.  Oilers fans have not had a lot to celebrate this year yet they continue to show up to games and support their team.  Last week, the Oilers played their worst hockey of the year.  It was so uninspired, it was probably the most pissed off I've been after a game.  It seemed like they didn't care.  Yes this team is not built to win but for fuck sakes, show up and give a damn.  Where is your pride? 

They finally showed up against Dallas and Montreal this week. This is the Oilers team I expected to see occasionally this year.  We have not seen them often enough, especially the last couple of months.  Finishing in a lottery position is not in doubt.  Finishing dead least is now in doubt especially with Ottawa finally blowing up their team after a dreadful run this year.  The Devils and Islanders are winning and moving out of the bottom two so it is now a two horse race. 

Last week I wanted the Oilers to finish dead last and get the best chance for the first overall pick.  Today?  I do not give a damn about the first overall pick.  I want wins.  I want excitement.  I want Oilers hockey.  So finishing second last is fine with me.  As I write that, I do realize that is a very funny comment.  This is a rebuild, so you got to go with the flow!

We are also coming up on trade deadline so rumors are floating around like crazy.  Many involve our very own Penner and Hemsky.  In fact, the Hemsky rumors are growing by day and are making me damn nervous.  I wrote a lengthy article for The Fourth Period regarding both Ales and Dustin at the end of December.  I still feel the same way.  Keep Hemsky and Penner, get them signed to extensions and continue the rebuild.  If they do not want to sign extensions, trade away.  But if they do, you must do everything in your power to NOT be swayed away by sexy prospects or another first round draft pick. 

In Hemsky, you're getting almost a point per game player, is in the top five for even strength points and is very exciting.  Penner brings power, a big body on a small team and drives to the net.  Trading these players will only set back the team and the rebuild.  It does not help to trade away your best players for magic beans.  This team needs NHL players.  It's that simple.

My latest article for The Fourth Period is up here....was posted a few weeks ago. 

As Taylor Hall said last night, "One win is a fluke, two is a streak."  Let's continue the streak!!!!


Battle for the Basement


It has been a bitch of a January so far in Edmonton.  We've had a lot of snow; roughly 45-50 cm in the past two weeks.  It's snowmageddon around here.

However, we can always count on our Edmonton Oilers to perk up our spirits.  What?  They have won only 2 games in their last 8?  Yikes.  They also haven't scored on the PP in 11 games going 0/37 during that stretch. There have been some hard games to watch but in the same breath, there has been some exciting hockey.

Exciting last place hockey?  The Oilers are fighting for last place with the Devils and Islanders.  Who will win?  I have no problem with our Oilers finishing last one more time.  This team was only six points out of a playoff spot in early December but are now solidly in the bottom three.  There have been injuries (Whitney, Horcoff, Eberle), inconsistency, poor goaltending (Khabibulin who is winless in his last eight) and an anemic powerplay.

The games against the Ducks on Sunday is a prime example of the problems of this team:  failure to show up until the second period, getting down early in a game (3-0), mounting a big comeback (2 quick goals), exciting hockey, and failure to score on the powerplay (which included a 6-3 in the final minute).

This is typical of a rebuilding team.  I do not want to excuse this team for their poor play at times but this is going to happen over the next year or two.  Tambellini needs to provide a better supporting cast.  He did a good job this past summer but never found his third line center who can win faceoffs and kill penalties.  He did not find a good shutdown defenseman.  What will happen with the goalie situation?  Is Dubnyk the man?  He needs to play more games at the very least so the coaching staff can get a better idea of the future possibility.

Fans are very supportive of this rebuild.  They understand it cannot happen overnight but are seeing small steps forward already.

Here is my latest article for The Fourth Period which I submitted before xmas.  Time to get going on the next one.

Do not trade Hemsky or Penner.  I really want Tambellini to make sure he does not cock this up.  They are only traded IF IF IF IF they do not sign an extension this summer.  I will keep advocating for both these players as I feel they are necessary to this rebuild.

p.s.  Happy Birthday Mark favorite hockey player!  I adore thee!

Playoffs or a Lottery Pick?


The Western Conference once again is tight with only six points separating eighth place from last.  Our Edmonton Oilers are sitting in last place but are in contention for a playoff spot.  Of course there are six other teams on the outside fighting to get into that eighth spot which includes the defending champions Chicago.  I'm not surprised to see Chicago in this position since they had to gut their team last year due to salary cap issues and let their goalie go and sign Turco instead.  While sitting six points out of a playoff spot, the Oilers are also in a lottery position (5th) today.  The players are not thinking of the lottery nor the future.  They want to win.  They are competitive athletes and you want to see this passion and desire to win from them.  However, this team is not a contender.  They have major holes in their lineup (hello defense) and have to find better grinders or plugs.  But it is nice to see the team compete albeit inconstantly. The management put this team together not to win right now.  This is a team destined for a lottery pick but they are developing a bit quicker than anyone thought.  Hall and Eberle are leading the charge while Hemsky and Horcoff are out with injury.  Linus Omark (pictured above) got the call up when Hemsky went out and he is certainly making the most of it.  His spectacular shootout goal was all about confidence.  Not the sexiest move but to try that in his first NHL game was ballsy! Omark has played four games and has four points.  He got his first NHL goal last night against Columbus to go along with his two assists.  It was a very good performance.  While he is a smaller guy, he does not play like one.  He protects the puck surprisingly well and does not get pushed around too much.  He is very good on the powerplay, coming off the half board and generating chances.  I think playing in the AHL for two months was very important to his development.  He got to know the North American game, struggled early on until he found his game and built up his confidence.I have been following Omark for several years, hoping he would finally make his way over to the Oilers and would not be a disappointment.  While it has been just four games, he is living up to expectations.  He is not just a shootout specialist.  If he continues this play, the Oilers will have to find room for him when Hemsky returns.  No way this kid goes back to the AHL.  Where does this leave other bubble players?  You do not want to shuttle him to the fourth line.  This kid needs to play in the top 9 at the minimum so players like Brule and Cogliano are now expendable. Hemsky is supposed to be out for one month so that takes us to the first week in January.  Who stays and who goes??  If you move Cogliano, Brule could move over to center.  Or do you waive Jacques or MacIntyre who are basically useless and move Brule to the fourth line?  There will be some decisions needed when Hemsky returns.The Oilers have lacked depth in recent years so this is a nice problem.  So does this team have a real chance to get into the playoffs?  It's not a completely crazy notion but I suspect they will fall short.  The Oilers give up way too many shots on net and scoring chances.  Last night, they gave up 23 shots in the first period alone and came out with a 2-1 lead simply because Columbus does not have a strong goalie.  Against the Detroits or Vancouvers, I doubt that would be the case. So let's enjoy the ride.  This team will probably end up i[...]

Oilers vs Canucks - Another Shootout Please!


The Oilers are 7-2-1 in their last ten games.  They are no longer in the last place but are sitting just outside a lottery draft pick position (6th).  With Horcoff and Hemsky out for extended periods, this team may still end up in a lottery position but damn they are making it exciting.  With Hemsky out, Linus Omark finally got the call and made the most in his first NHL game.  He had a tough start to the game, failing to clear the puck out of the zone which resulted in a goal.  His line, which included fellow callup Ryan O'Marra and recently hot Ryan Jones, were out chanced badly in the game.  However, Omark did get some powerplay time and made a nice move on the half boards, drove the net for a shot and Gilbert jumped on the rebound.  One assist in his first game would have been a decent start BUT Omark brought the sizzle when the game went into the shootout.  Mr. Youtube did it again.  After Eberle scored a beautiful goal and Hall missed, it was left to Omark to clinch and win the game.  In his first NHL game, he brought his balls with him.

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Tampa Bay claimed this goal was disrespectful.  The players whined and bitched after the game.  It was embarrassing.  The shootout was added to the game for a reason; excitement!!  As Don Cherry said on coaches corner, "This is a gimmick within a gimmick."  When Don Cherry does not admonish a European player for this ballsy move, then Tampa Bay really needs to shut the hell up.  Man up.  It was not against the rules.  If you do not like it, too god damn bad.  You could have done the move.  Or maybe here is something shocking for Dan Ellis, STOP THE PUCK!

It was an exciting start for Linus Omark.  I despise the shootout.  I hate it with a passion but if we must have it in the game, I want more goals scored like this.  Rexall Place went crazy, twitter went nuts....Omark was trending not only in Canada but worldwide.  The hockey and non-hockey world was talking about this rookie kid and the goal.  This is good for the game.  Was it the most spectacular goal?  Of course not but since this was his first NHL game, you have to give the kids kudos for bringing it and having the balls to try something like that in his first NHL game and shootout attempt.

The Canucks are in town tonight.  Anyone else want another shootout?  Hell yes!  I do want Omark to play a bit better at even strength and beef up his defensive play.  The Oilers were outshot 17-1 in the third period but came out like gangbusters in the overtime so come on Oilers, a little more consistency please.  The team as a whole has been playing quite well over the last ten games with our rookies leading the way.  Our aging goalie is bringing it as well.  Dubnyk will get the start tonight which is necessary.  Let's not tire out Khabibulin too much and give the other rookie a chance to make his mark and continue his development.

Let's go Oilers.  I want another win and possibly another shootout!

Living up to the Hype!


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What an amazing season opener for the Edmonton Oilers.  The Oilers laid a smackdown on the Calgary Flames, winning in decisive fashion 4-0.  Jordan Eberle had the goal of the night and will be mentioned at the end of the season as one of the best.  It was also his first NHL goal and that will be considered one of the best first NHL goals ever as well.  Oh did I mentioned it was a short-handed goal too?  Taylor Hall did not hit the scoresheet but had 4 shots on goal and some very nice chances in the game. 

I honestly can't say any Oiler had a bad game.  Hemsky was dangling and scored a slapshot goal.  Penner was using his body to create chances.  Brule scored a nice powerplay goal.  There were numerous fights by Fraser, Jones and Smacintryre!!

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The Oilers had a tough second period where they gave up lots of chances and were back on their heels. However, they buckled down and came out on fire in the third period. This was a great game.

What is in store for game two??

Preseason hoopla!


The big 3 (Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi) are in training camp right now, trying to make the team.  I believe all three will make the Oilers and start the regular season in Edmonton.  The Oilers beat the Canucks last night in the first pre-season game in which the Oilers left most of their starters at home except Horcoff and Eberle who played well together.  Tonight is the first home pre-season game and first Taylor Hall game.  The town is excited and ready to cheer for Hall and the entire team.  Myself?  I love me some Hemsky.  He is the best player on the team and he needs to rebound from shoulder surgery last year.  He is very important to the team.  Hemsky is now a veteran and needs to lead this team.

The lineup for tonight:

Hemsky - Gagner - Hall
Penner - Cogliano - Paajarvi
Reddox - Fraser- Brule
MacIntyre - Pitlick - Omark



Khabibulin will not play quite yet.  Maybe on Sunday?  They're going to have to get him in for three or four games.  He needs the work.  He hasn't played since last November.  He was convicted of extreme DUI last month and sentenced to 30 days in jail.  He is appealing his sentence and therefore is in camp and ready to play.  We don't know how long the appeal process will take or if he will play the entire season.  So the Oilers are in limbo and can only hope he can return to form and play the entire season, and if necessary, serve his jail time in the off-season.  We wait.

It's almost hockey time.  It's been a looooooooooooong five months.

As a side note, I've been asked to write a weekly blog/article for The Fourth Period on the Oilers.   I'm honored to be asked and look forward to continue writing for this blog, contributing occasionally to Oilers Jambalaya and now to The Fourth Period.  My first article went up a couple weeks ago on the Oilers off-season.

Boozy Bulin is going to jail but for how long?


Nikolai Khabibulin is going to jail.  He won't be walking the red carpet, he'll be walking into a jail cell.  We will find out for how long at 4 pm today.  Nik was convicted of three charges last week (DUI over 0.08, extreme DUI and excessive speeding).  The minimum sentence is 30 days jail for extreme DUI.  I'm sure his lawyer will try to get some of that time in an alcohol treatment facilty but I'm not sure that is possible.  In any case, he will spend some time in jail and will miss the Oilers training camp at the very least.  He could miss more time since he should have problems entering Canada (DUI's are considered felonies in Canada) and may be suspended by the NHL.

I doubt the Oilers will try to void his contract since this is his first offence, he didn't hit anything or anybody and they would face one helleva fight from the players' association.

So in a few hours we'll find out his sentence and then Tambellini will be available to comment.  Will he stand by his man?  Probably.

Is it October yet?


I want some hockey. Look at this poor dog, he wants some Oilers hockey too!!! So our Oilers have been quite busy in the off-season from drafting Taylor Hall first overall, signing third and fourth liners for the Oilers and bulking up their AHL team. Check out all the signings at the Oilers website here. Tambellini is not done yet as he still has several restricted free agents to sign with the two most important being Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano. I'm surprised they didn't sign Gagner right away but I'm not sure which side is dragging their heels on this. I'm sure it'll get done but would prefer this sooner rather than later.Next up is our goalie situation. Deslauriers has elected for arbitration but the Oilers rarely go this route and will likely resign him before his hearing as they did with Brule. I'm surprised JDD thinks arbitration is a good idea. Did you really have a good year? You went 16-28-4 with a save percentage of .901. Yeah sit the fuck down.So with Deslauriers going to arbitration and Dubnyk signed, we're left with Nikolai Khabibulin or as I like to refer to him now as Boozy Bulin. After trying to worm his way out of the charge (my back hurts) and the jury trial postponed several times, Boozy is going to a judge trial at the end of August. So at least we'll know what is going on before training camp starts but what happens if he is convicted? The maximum penalty is 6 months in jail (minimum is 30 days). We are left with the unknown at this point. If convicted, when will he be sentenced? Will he have to do much time? Will he miss training camp? Can he even enter Canada? Can we void his contract? The only thing going for Boozy is this is his first offense so maybe he can wrangle a plea bargain for a lesser charge (Arizona is very tough on DUI's so that is unlikely).I searched online and found this regarding conviction of extreme dui:In Arizona there are specific laws and penalties for people who fall under the category of "Extreme DUI". A person is said to be an Extreme DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher within two hours of driving or being in actual control of a vehicle. A person convicted of Extreme DUI is convicted of a criminal misdemeanor.However this site says Canada views misdemeanor DUI convictions as felonies so he would have to apply for a waiver or something to enter Canada but that will take time and he will likely miss part of the season. So if you don't show up for training camp, does that void your contract or something? A few months back I thought a plea bargain was likely but that probably would have happened by now, non? It's possible. We'll have to wait and see.So while we wait for news on Boozy, July is almost over and August will be here and closer to the hockey season. I need hockey sooooooooooooooo badly.[...]

Moose and the Kid!


I forgot to post after the hockey celebration at Commonwealth last month. Most of the gold medal winners from the men and women's Olympic hockey teams were in town (although a certain Devil, aka Pronger, did not have the balls to show up). They showed highlights from the gold medal games (did I tell you that I was in Vancouver at both games? Oh yes, I saw Canada win gold in hockey) and they chatted with some of the players too! Anyway, here are a couple pics my friend took of the Kid and the Moose.



Taylor vs Tyler


(image) 2010 NHL draft is only a few hours away and the debate still rages. Are you Team Taylor or Team Tyler? The winger or the center? The beauty or the beast?

The Oilers will pick first for the first time in their history. Yes that's what happens when you finish 30th. After moving Quinn upstairs, Renney is the man. He will coach a very different team this fall. The team has already traded for Colin Fraser (Hawks) who is the elusive third/fourth rugged centerman who can take draws and kill penalties. There will be more moves before the puck drops in October. In fact, there could be many moves made today and tomorrow. Moreau and Souray are locks to be moved (Moreau will be bought out if he can't be moved) along with scary rumors of moving Hemsky.


Hemsky is signed for two more years. You don't trade someone who is your best player, is on a cheap contract and has two years to go. Next summer is the only time you entertain this thought if he refused to sign an extension. Then trade away. Hemsky should not be traded for prospects or draft picks. It's not necessary and you don't know what you'd be getting in return.

Anyways, I'm heading to the draft party at Rexall very soon.

Taylor vs Tyler. I have no clue who is the better player or who will be. Hall seems to be better right now but Seguin may end up being better. I'm confused. Just make the pick and we'll debate this for another ten years. I hope they pick the right one!


2010 Stanley Cup Final


Philadelphia vs Chicago - The final has the Flyers vs the Blackhawks and this is a surprise. The Flyers clinched a playoff spot with an shootout win over the Rangers on the last day of the regular season. They've had about twenty goalies this year so they've been crazy inconsistent. I picked the Hawks at the start of the playoffs so I'm sticking with it. I think Niemi will out-play Leighton and the Hawk forwards will use their speed and take over this series. I don't think this is going to be the close and hard hitting series some are predicting. Hawks are going to control the series and not even Chris F'in Pronger can do anything to stop them.

Chicago in FIVE!!

More predictions


My second round predictions were not on the mark but most predictions were not on the money. I went 1 for4. Yikes. So along with round one, I am 6-4 so far. Not bad.

Chicago vs San Jose - I hate SJ. I don't want them to win. Heatley is a punk. Sure Thornton showed up a bit in round two but you can't count on him. It's the other Joe that has saved the playoffs for them. But I like the Hawks young guns better. The biggest question mark is Niemi who has been up and down during the playoffs. Hawks win only if he plays well. He has to. I think he does. I want him to play well. Hawks in six.

Philadelphia vs Montreal - thanks Boston for CHOKING. Thanks for blowing a 3-0 games series lead. Thanks for blowing a 3-0 lead in game seven. Thanks. I now have to cheer for the Habs. I hope Philly crashes and burns. I hope Pronger actually burns. The devil is someone I cannot cheer for and Philly itself is someone I've never liked. Their history is filled with dirty players and just plain douches. Yeah Bobby Clarke. You too Ron Hextall. No way he should have won the Conn Smythe in '87. I do not believe a player from the losing team should win the Conn. Anyways, this series. Halak is channeling Roy and Dryden, and I think we're watching something really special. It'll be a tight series. Habs in seven again.

So I'm calling for a Hawks - Habs final. I think Hawks go all the way. I was picking them at the start of the playoffs so I'll keep with it.

And it continues


Here are my picks for round two. I did okay in round one, went 5-3 (stupid west).

Boston vs Philadelphia: Philly lost Gagne, Lapierre, Carter and and that should do it. That is a lot of lost fire power and Boston will get Savard back for round two. Boston in five.

Pittsburgh vs Montreal: Halak played amazing in round one so can he do it again? I think the Pens are getting their game together again after a lackluster regular season. Crosby the golden child takes this team to the conference final again. Pens in six.

San Jose vs Detroit: I think San Jose chokes again. Thornton is Mr. Invisible again and they just don't have it. Detroit had a tough close first round and didn't play great until game seven. I think Detroit will take San Jose. Wings in seven.

Chicago vs Vancouver: rematch from last year, Hawks took out the Canucks last year so can they do it again? Once again, this depends on which Luongo shows up. Who shows up? I will go Hawks in seven but this is an iffy call.