Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Halloween Edition

By Dan Moser

In honour of Halloween, I'd like to try something that is really a throwback to my "frat" newspaper days. In case you weren't aware, on Halloween people dress up for various reasons. The idea behind this blog post is "what if the Edmonton Oilers all had to dress up as their comic book counterparts?" In other words, what comic book characters do I think match up well with individual Oilers. Before I get crazy, I can't take full responsibility for this idea. My idea came from the Guardian Project. I know that video doesn't tell you much. Basically the NHL has teamed up with comic book genius and hero to all nerds Stan Lee. Lee will be creating 30 superheros, one for each NHL team. Click here to read a bit more about the project.  

If you're still interested, here in numerical order are the Edmonton Oilers as comic book characters:

#2 Jim Vandermeer - Thing. He is a big boy, and loves to smash things. One problem, he moves around like he is made of rocks.

#4 Taylor Hall -  Superboy. Born out of death, a "gift" in the wake of Superman. He is young an unproven, no one really knows what he is thinking, but the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Is he the hero, or simply a youngster that will never live up to his name. For my sake, I have a sizable bet going on with PST Free Hockey star Richard Shilling, I hope he becomes the white knight Gotham Edmonton needs him to be.

#5 Ladislav Smid - Emma Frost. She is part of the X-Men now, a good guy, but no matter how hard you try, how hard you enjoy her wit and candor with other X-Men, it is impossible to forget her dark past (I'M TALKING ABOUT THE PRONGER TRADE!).

#6 Ryan Whitney - Storm. Billed as one of the most powerful X-Men. Second in command, definitely a leader. You can see glimpses of her power and potential, but all too often, she is the first hurt in battle, before she has time to act. Perhaps she doesn't act or think out her actions quick enough.

#10 Shawn Horcoff - Batman. He has no super powers but he gets the job done. His superhero companions (in this case the fans) often see him as a liability but Batman uses his intelligence to his advantage and contributes to the cause in his own unique way. Horcoff may not be the flashiest player, but he contributes using his speed and smarts.

#13 Andrew Cogliano - The Flash. All the speed in the world and really no idea what to do with it. Speed should be the ultimate weapon, but when it comes down to it, an outstretched leg always appears, tripping him and rendering the Flash useless. When he is on his game though, the Flash can be quite the opponent.

#14 Jordan Eberle - Spiderman. The comparison is simple, Spiderman is normally portrayed as a younger superhero, but it is his wit that makes him Jordan Eberle. Although the season is young, Eberle seems to only like to score highlight reel goals. Scoring dirty goals like that are a kin to making wise-ass remarks and always having the last word like out friendly neighbourhood Spiderman.

#16 Colin Fraser - Captain America. You always talk about Cap in the past tense, the great things he did in WWII, and how he helped win the war. No matter what he does, that is what he is known for. Remind of a certain Oiler with a large Stanley Cup ring???

#26 Kurtis Foster - Cyclops. Despite his great power and leadership capabilities, every time we see Cyclops we are reminded of his physical flaws, and inability to control his power as a result of them. This means I am sick of hearing about how Foster broke his leg every game.

#27 Dustin Penner - Henry Pym. Has the ability to grow and be that size of a giant, or shrink and be the size of an ant. He thinks and acts like he is smarter than everyone around him, and he might be.

#28 Ryan Jones - Aquaman. I know he is there, I like what he does from time to time. I'm just not sure how necessary he is. Easy to replace.

#33 Steve MacIntyre - The Hulk. Everyone knows the Hulk is a giant beast filled with anger that cannot be contained. What you may not know though is that the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes. When you see #33's face go into anger mode, it means he is about to knock someone out.

#35 Nikolai Khabibulin - Iron Man. The Avengers are never really sure if he will show up. When he does, he is a strong team member, some say the strongest, when he doesn't show up, the team is left wondering why. He enjoys the occasional drink (cheap shot).

#38 Jeff Deslauriers & #40 Devan Dubnyk - Multiple Man. Really, these two are so close it really is a crap shoot. Pick your favorite and then stick by him. There are so many copies of Multiple Man around the league that sending one of him down shouldn't be an issue.

#43 Jason Strudwick - The Vulture. He is old and surrounds himself with younger people to absorb their youth so that he may continue to battle.

#46 Zack Stortini - Wolverine. Definitely a fan favorite. Despite his size, he never backs down from a fight. Stands up for his teammates. Brings energy and aggression but does have some character flaws. Not exactly a role model. Weapon of choice is his hands. .

#49 Theo Peckham - Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. Cage may not always make the wisest decisions, but his strength and use of brute force to get his way are undeniable.

#67 Gilbert Brule - Puck. Despite his diminutive stature, Puck is able to launch himself at his enemies with devastating force. His body at the same time is his greatest weapon and his weakness. He was also once a member of the Canadian super group Alpha Flight.

#77 Tom Gilbert - Daredevil. All of his senses are enhanced, except for his sense of sight which he lost early in life. In the case of Gilbert, he often has an amazing sense of when he should join the rush. At times he will seemingly appear a the top of an opponents crease. He may be the Oilers best puck mover on the back end, but sometimes he just plays like he is blind.

#83 Ales Hemsky - The Human Torch. When taken at face value there is not much to be in awe of when looking at Johnny Storm. Once he catches fire though beware. He can be shifty, fast, and will burn you up. Torch is prone to fancy antics that get him a lot of attention, when they work he looks amazing, when they don't he looks silly. Being overzealous and cocky sometimes puts the Torch at risk of being injured.

#89 Sam Gagner - The Phoenix/Jean Grey. You never really know which one you will get. The mild mannered Jean Grey who limits herself in order to protect others from her power, or the Phoenix, and entity of pure power. The Phoenix is a force that can destroy even the mightiest of enemies, Jean Grey, although powerful, can be defeated.

#91 Magnus Paajarvi - Thor. He is a son of Asgard (Sweden) but chooses not to live there. He could have returned but he knows, the people that really need him are in Midgard (Edmonton). He also lives by himself and is a bit of an oddball. 

On to other matters: I have yet to decide on a Halloween costume. Currently the front runners are the great State of Idaho, or my crafty alter ego, Guy Incognito.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Oilers Flames Game From My Perspective

By Dan Moser

I'd like to start by saying first of all I don't normally do this. I'm no fan of post game blog postings. The primary reason is that I don't enjoy reading them on other sites. I tend to disagree with what bloggers see in the games and to be honest, so much of watching hockey games on television is subjective, the game can be different for everyone. Some might say that a goal was huge, other a save, others a giveaway, others a blown offside call. Honestly, if I miss a game, I'd much rather call a friend up and ask what I missed than check out some anonymous guy's blog. Also it's been a while since I wrote anything. My third and final point is that this is not really a post game review, this is a story about my experience viewing the game.
Unrelated, but I needed a picture here and I like this one.
 BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I am currently living in Toronto. Don't hate me. The house I am currently living in does not have a sports package that allows for easy viewing of all NHL games. The Internet connection in said house can be sketchy. The feed I was watching the game on was also sketchy. I purchased a Proline ticket for the night's games but did not bet on the Oilers game, that's bad luck. I work part-time as an overnight valet in a classy downtown Toronto condo, Drake has a place there, NBD, from 11:00-7:00 EST.

ONWARDS TO THE STORY: My night began at 6:00 PM EST. I awoke from my pregame nap (that's a nice way of saying I was sleeping during the day) and decided it might be fun to put some money on the games tonight. I'm usually pretty terrible, I don't think I've won since I had a friend buy me my first ticket when I was in grade 10 from the the Westmount Shopping Centre across the street from my High School. Anyway I quickly ate a light pregame dinner, got some gas, bought my ticket all before games started at 7:00 (impressed?).

Now, I watch hockey games like a lot of people watch football. I have a game or two on TV and then open the rest of them streaming on my laptop along with stattracker for my pools. This is not a recommended way of watching hockey, especially concerning whistles, I am always confused as to which game the whistle took place in, why players are stopping, and why some seem to be playing through the whistle.

I won't bore you with the details of the early games, (I made the mistake of betting on the Coyotes to win by at least 2 goals. Idiot.) let's get to the important action.

Fast forward to 9:00. I am already feeling a little dejected because of the epic fail that was the Ottawa Senators actually putting the puck in the net. I began watching the once coveted and interesting Battle of Alberta albeit with the volume low because Peter Loubardias's voice gives me a headache, I also hate it when the Flames' crew use players first names only during game action.

The first stream I am using is not great, so I try using a different stream. Once the second stream, of lower visual quality begins to work I immediately notice that the score is 1-0 for the Flames. Goal 1, missed.

It is announced the Oilers will be on the powerplay and guess what? My computer says it must close down my browser to properly install a lovely Windows update. I figure sure why not? This update will surely just make my computer a more powerful learning machine. Besides, watching an Oilers powerplay usually just makes me notice that no defenceman on the team can carry the puck at all through the neutral zone. Goal 2, missed.

With a minute to go and the Flames going on the PP again I am sure another goal is coming so I go to the washroom. Goal 3, missed. Of the whole first period that I saw, I don't think I saw the Oilers have one scoring chance, its reminiscent of the last Battle of Alberta where Telus got me so drunk I don't remember much of the game.

The intermission is a perfect time for me to take a closer look at the games that are on my ticket. Everything seems to be in order, except for that the Coyotes at this point will need to score 5 goals to make me a winner. Also, may as well play with the stream again, is wanting to watch a game illegally in great quality a crime? Don't answer that. When I get a working stream, poor quality, I am greeted by the screeching noise of Glencross scores! Goal 4, missed.

See where this is going?

Now the second frame started around 10:00, I need to get ready for work around 10:20 so I can make it in by 10:50 and ask the guy I am relieving if he minds staying a couple minutes longer so I can grab some Timmys.
If you can think of a better or healthier way to stay awake from 11-7 I'm all ears.
Once I get to work this happens:

Co-worker who drives a motorcycle (CDM): I completely forgot about the Leafs game, did you watch it?

Me: Yeah, Leafs won.

CDM: Score? How did they play? Was it good?

Me: It was a Leafs game man. They won 3-1 I think.

CDM: Uhhh how did they play?

Me: I dunno man they were playing Florida.

CDM: What does that mean?

Me: Florida is awful. The Leafs were the Leafs, Colby Armstrong left the game in the first, they were lucky Pete DeBoer didn't get the to score of Giguere you just need to make him move a little.

CDM: Who is that?

Me: DeBoer? He is the Panther's coach.

CDM: What are you watching now? Is that the Vancouver game?

Me: No. Oilers Flames. It's a s***** one though, I think the Flames are up 3-1.

CDM: Buddy, the Flames are in trouble this year.

Me: What? 4-3 when the f*** did that happen?

Goals 5, 6, 7, missed.

Just as I am getting comfortable and done being in amazement that the Oilers are in this game, a car pulls up. The only car of the night. I have to leave my post and go park said car in the deepest darkest regions of the lot. I return. Goal 8, missed.
At least it was a nice car
 Overtime was overtime. For some reason the Oilers chose not to select their statistically strongest shootout player as one of the three shooters. Oilers lose, but salvage a point they probably didn't deserve. Flames win but will likely have a wonderful puke filled no puck practice tomorrow. Happy Birthday Mikka Kiprusoff.

Hope you enjoyed this brief window into the life of an Oilers blogger. See, we don't all live in our parent's basements.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What R U Watching 2nite?

By Dan Moser

First of all, we at Oiler Spill would like to wish former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikhail Shtalenkov a belated happy birthday. Mikhail turned 45 on October 20. Let us never forget his contributions to the team. Once an Oiler always an Oiler.
Is that a Preds mask?
What a beauty!
It feels like it's been forever since there was an Oilers game on television. Yeah, I'll probably peek in every now and then to the game but to be honest, the prospect of watching an entire 60 minutes of Minnesota Wild hockey is not something I look forward to. In short, that is not what the title of this post is referring to.
What's that stick? You want to score tonight? Let's discuss it after the game
The Flames are playing someone tonight, I think (okay, that's really irresponsible of me, I checked, it took me like 5 seconds, the Flames are playing the  Red Wings. Sorry). That should be an entertaining game, and even if it's not, I have Mark Giordano and Pavel Datsyuk in my pool (no PIMS don't count). Besides, who doesn't love watching a train wreck. Will I be watching this game though?

I must have lost my mind because I actually want to watch the Leafs and Rangers game. I'm looking forward to watching a Leafs game. I feel dirty now. Most people in the Toronto media are classifying this game as some kind of battle of the heavyweights, which to be honest I think is a waste of time. Yeah Colton Orr and Derek Boogaard are gigantic men who like to punch people, but to promote a hockey game based on two meat heads alone is crazy.

There is no guarantee the two will even drop the mits. If they do, there is an even smaller chance it is a fight worth watching, in all likelihood the fight will be over in under 10 seconds and who knows a hockey game might even break out. Don't take this the wrong way, I like fighting, I just think it is silly to promote a 60 minute hockey game using something that if it occurs will be under a minute long.

That was an unforced tangent, and that's not the reason I want to watch the Leafs tonight. There are three names in the game tonight who have a common thread: Mike Komisarek, Dion Phaneuf, and Sean Avery. THAT'S RIGHT LADIES (yeah right) AND GENTLEMEN IT'S THE CUTHBERT BOWL!

This game promises to have all the excitement of House of Wax, The Quiet, and Popular Mechanics for kids all in one! Clearly it's my love for TMZ style news an not my love of hockey that drives me to want to watch this game. It will likely be a shit game.

In case you didn't know, all three have at some point dated the worlds most popular puck bunny, Elisha Cuthbert. Further adding to her resume, everyone's favorite B-lister once played Kiefer Sutherland's daughter on the show 24. Sutherland, as we have been told by the Ultimate Gretzky DVD set, is a close friend of Wayne Gretzky's.

Hopefully some words are exchanged, obviously off camera no one wants to end up in rehab, and if they are then we should be able to see the hate on the ice. Other than that both teams are playing their backup goalies and I'm waiting for the leafs to play a lousy game already and come back down to Earth.

Remember kids, seconds are sloppy, but thirds are sloppier

Like I said earlier, I feel unclean now and need to go take multiple showers. What's worse, is I can't take too long cleaning myself otherwise I might miss the opening faceoff of the Cuthbert Bowl. Shudder.

Okay, I have to stop now. Rachel Hunter is in the other room getting jealous. Yeah that's right, she has moved on from hockey players to hockey bloggers. Can't wait till next month when she is dating Lowtide or Putting on the Foil or Loud Mouth Hemsky and I get to hold a press conference asking why it seems like the players in the Oilogosphere seem to be obsessed with falling in love with my sloppy seconds. Oh and Go Oilers by the way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everything about the AHL is very AHL

By Dan Moser

That was the intro video for the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League Affiliate. Now, I'll be the first to admit, this is the one and only intro video for an AHL team I have seen. It strikes me as being very AHL and very American non-hockey marketish.

First of all, and probably most noticeable to the layman, there are no actually players or even players names present in the video. Who are the stars of the team? Who is the fighter? Based on this video I can't tell you. I know it's a new team, but there are clips out there and they are not hard to find. They are good clips to. The kind that show you some of these players might be worth watching.

The "hockey" scenes are pretty lame. The "players" are not travelling at full speed, they barely even have their legs bent. In the first shooting scene, the puck doesn't even leave the ice, looks like the player may have whiffed on the shot and the production crew had to do with it because it was still somehow the most usable shot. These scenes would be so perfect if this was a promotional video for the third line in the men's league I used to play in in Edmonton.

By far though the best hockey scene is the final shot. The un-named, un-numbered, I assume forward, playing in what appears to be a dimly lit inter-squad game winds up and takes a slapshot. Though the shot is barely off the ice it has the power to destroy everything in it's path before showing the viewer the Fox-Trax Puck Version 2.0. Not only does the puck begin to glow, (you now so that we know it is fast) it actually turns into a glowing fiery lion racing towards the goal. The puck goes into the empty net and destroys it. 

Lastly, look, I'm probably not the hippest person out there but making an intro video the the Eminem song lose yourself (you know, knees weak, etc) is a little dated and kinda lame. It almost made me puke up Mom's Spaghetti. I guess it's kinda fitting though, for most of the players on the Barons this season this is their one chance to make it and if they don't play well this season it will likely be the end of the road as far as the National League is concerned. As of writing this, the Oklahoma City Barons scoring ability this season is making last year's Springfield Falcons teams look like Calder Cup champions.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yeah, I'm Going to Calgary

By Dan Moser

Be jealous. Last Thursday I went to the Edmonton Oilers season opener versus the Calgary Flames. There were something like 16,000 people there, you might even be one, so I understand you might not be jealous yet. I was sitting up in the press catwalk of luxurious Rexall Place. If you have the means to do so, I really suggest it. It is the best way to watch the game. You get a perfect bird's eye view of the game and you're surrounded by media "celebrities."
From Russia with glove. God I wish I came up with that

But I digress, I'm going to Calgary. I have no pull with the Flames, really it's there loss. I'll be up in the 300s (though to be perfectly honest I think there is a chance I will have MUCH nicer seats. I'll take Glen Beck's advice and pray on it and I'll update this if I get them). The nice thing about going to a game in Calgary though is I really have a good time no matter where I'm sitting.

It's not that every seat in the Pengrowth  Canadian Airlines Olympic Scotiabank Saddledome is a great seat, not by a long shot. The fact of the matter is I'm an Oilers fan and there is something about cheering for the road team in hostile territory that I love. Oh I know what it is, it's that I get to be a jerk if my team wins, and this year my team has a decent chance. I don't even have to say anything, just being in the building during a win makes me a jerk.
This cele would look much better in blue and orange
Now you're saying: "Okay Dan, what happens if the Oilers lose? Then what do you do you cocky piece of crap?" The answer is easy, despite what you may have read, I'm a hockey snob. I guarantee I can out hockey talk anyone in the Saddledome any night, and that includes those in the press box and certain members of the Flames management.

Have I riled you up yet Flames fans? Are you even still cheering for the Flames?

Anyway, I'm expecting a great game, just like the one I enjoyed on Thursday. Neither team is looking THAT strong right now, but one guy who is looking great is Oiler goaltender Nik Khabibulin. According to weird fringe stats, he is one of the best goalies in the league right now. In addition to goaltending this is one year where the Oilers actually look to be offensively more dangerous than the Flames. Needless to say, I'm excited for Saturday night.
This vet clearly watches too much Jersey Shore. Deadly fist pump though

Have I offended you? If so take this blog posting as a challenge. When you see the Oilers fan wearing the nicest jersey in the Saddledome, (1978 Wayne Gretzky Oilers jersey, dark, orange logo, no captain C) approach him and get ready to talk some hockey, and if you're impressed buy him a beer (freelance writing is not as profitable as you would think.).

Cheers and I hope you all enjoy the game as much as I'm sure I will!
Oh yeah, and follow me on Twitter, it could get fun. Check out Oiler Spill too if you have some spare time, but if you're reading this on Oiler Spill, check out PST Free Hockey, an equally awesome site.

EDIT: I got my wish, never doubt the pwer of prayer. I'm sitting in a box for the battle of Alberta in Calgary wearing an Oilers jersey. Yeah.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Different Oiler's Season Preview

By Guest Blogger Josh Staav

(Editors note: Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many guest blogs featured on Oiler Spill. Let me give you a little background on Josh Staav. Born and raised in Edmonton and now currently living in Toronto. He is an intern at TSN's Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, and slings frozen yogurt on the side. Josh is over 6 feet tall, wears glasses, and owns a Doug Weight jersey. Who knows, if you all like his posts enough I may update his status from Guest Blogger to Columnist!
Ah Yes, the 2010-11 season is finally upon us.  It has been a long few months since the Oilers last played hockey, and for the first time in a few years people are looking forward to watching the Oilers play hockey.  The team promises to be more exciting and a lot more fun to watch.  Keep in mind, for future bar-bets, I did not say they would be significantly better.  The Oilers will be a relatively weak team around the bottom of the Western Conference.  Do I think they’re going to be last? No, not necessarily, but any Oiler fan shouldn’t be surprised if they are.  Either way, it will not be as painful as last year where many people were wondering to themselves and out loud: “what’s the point?
Sums up the mood in the dressing room quite nicely
 Now, even when the Oilers lose, it becomes another game that the young core gains that much more experience and matures just a little bit more.  It will now be exciting for all Oiler fans to watch Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Gagner, and Cogliano fly their underage selves around the rink gaining experience, having fun, and growing that much closer as teammates so that, with a little luck, they will one day find success.

Obviously a very different looking team than even last year, the 2010-11 version of the Edmonton Oilers comes with a  lot of ‘if’s’ and question marks:

- Realistically, how well will the three rookies do? 

- After missing 96 games over the past four seasons, will Ales Hemsky be able to play a full schedule?

- Is this 21 year old (that’s right, 21) Sam Gagner’s breakout year? 

- Will Khabibulin be able to stay out of trouble and keep himself injury-free?

- Will Dustin Penner light the lamp like he did in the first half of the season, or struggle like he did in the last half?

Of course, there is no one who could possibly answer these questions (except may him).  In fact, the answers to these questions are what will make watching the Oilers this year so exciting.
It’s now time in this season preview for us to take a look at the Oilers line up and what we can expect from them in their 32nd in the NHL.

A clear indication that these 3 have never played a game as an Oiler? They are smiling and laughing
Penner – Gagner – Hemsky
Hall – Horcoff– Eberle
Paajarvi – Cogliano – Brule
MacIntyre – Fraser – Stortini

The first thing one will notice looking at the opening night line-up is that there is no clear checking line.  You’ve got three lines of “balanced” offense (only time will tell) and a fourth “energy” line.  The Oil will rely on this line to protect some of the younger/smaller guys on the first three lines (Ed: yeah pretty much the whole team bud!).  Asides from Penner and maybe Horcoff, the rest all fall into the category of either younger or smaller or both.
For at least the first half of this season, the Oilers will have to rely on the top line to produce some consistent offence.  There were parts of last season when all three were healthy (maybe a handful of games) and they looked like a legitimate first line.  They had an impressive combination of skill, drive, and speed to have a chance to score every time they stepped on the ice.

The second line is a pretty big wildcard at this point.  No one knows what kind of chemistry the newly minted captain will have with the two 2010 World Junior silver medalists but the ceiling is very high.  Horcoff, who is capable of putting up 70 points (well, he did it once anyway) will be very much a guiding light for eager students Hall and Eberle.  If they can only learn one thing from their centreman, it should be the work ethic he brings to the rink every night.  No, he’s not the most talented player on the team, but he is the hardest worker.  The ‘C’ on his jersey is a result of that.  He is overpaid, no doubt, but you cannot blame him for that.  He never takes his foot off the pedal and his new line mates will be stars in the NHL if they can mimic his work ethic, because their skill level and vision is in a pedigree well above his own.

The Oilers third line is characterized by speed.  Cogliano, widely recognized as the fastest in the league will be flanked by speedy Swede Magnus Paajarvi and Gilbert Brule.  Brule was one of the lone bright spots on the Oilers last year and the once highly touted prospect may be coming into his own this year.  But, like any true Oilers fan, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Cogliano, who re-signed as an RFAwheels.

Foster – Whitney
Gilbert – Smid
Vandermeer – Peckham
If Pierre McGuire says I'm overpaid one more time the next slapper is headed in between the benches!
 This group of defensemen leaves something to be desired.  Whereas the forward group has names that jump out at you and get you excited, this group of nine D-men doesn’t provide that same spark (despite Smid’s smile).  As King McKenzie likes to say: in order for this defense to be successful, the whole must be greater than the sum of its parts.  Looking at these guys individually, there are some solid guys but overall lack the calibre of names compared to some of the better teams around the league. 

Ryan Whitney is the best all around anchor on the backend.  Foster will replace Souray’s shot on the powerplay (one can dream) while Gilbert will try to improve his game and become a more consistent both offensively and defensively.  Smid will have plenty of opportunity to prove his worth as a solid defensive, shut down guy. 

The bottom three, Vandermeer, Peckham, and Strudwick, bring a strong physical presence to the Oilers lineup.  If they are able to limit their mistakes and hide their flaws then the Oil can get away with using two of these guys each night.  However, if they aren’t able to keep up or get caught on the ice against a pair of Swedish twins, they are likely to get burned.

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk
Jeff Deslauriers
The goaltending situation this season
Sigh, three again. This one’s a bit of a head scratcher.  For such a simple position as a tender, the Oilers have sure been able to make it complicated over the last year or so.  Khabibulin can either be the Oilers’ best man on the ice this coming season or their worst.  If he is healthy and remains out of trouble, he is easily one of the ten best goalies in the league even at 36 years of age (Ed: okay Josh we get it, you’re an Oilers fan).  If he struggles, well, I don’t need to tell you what could happen.  Beyond the starter, however, the Oilers still can’t decide which one of Dubnyk or Deslauriers is the next best.  And so, we hang on to both.  This of course, may not be such a bad idea for the first little while to see which way Khabibulin goes.  Personally, from what I’ve seen and read so far in the pre-season, Khabibulin seems to be trending toward the positive which will likely mean the Oilers are eventually going to have to make a tough decision between the pipes.

So, where are the Oilers going to finish?  What can we expect?  Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t be writing for @TheRealDanMoser if I knew this answer better than anyone else.  My guess would be ahead of Minnesota and Columbus, so 13th but wouldn’t be surprised if they passed a weaker Anaheim or Dallas.  Somewhere between 11th-13th in the conference is my best forecast.  Regardless of position, the Oilers will finish with a lot more than the 62 points it finished with last year and they will look a lot more exciting in process.