And welcome to our introductory post on everything Copper and Blue. In spite of their current campaign, which is testing the fidelity of even the most diehard Edmonton hockey nut, without question, loyal Edmonton Oiler fans stretch across the globe.
Throughout my 20-plus year career as a hockey scribe, I’ve received queries from Oiler fans as far away as Pakistan and Australia! Admirable, to say the least. Make no mistake – we are in the Heartland out here.
Characteristically, members of Oilers Nation remain committed to the “Oil Drop” through thick and thin – and there’s been plenty of thin the last few seasons.
When your team is in the NHL’s cellar (18-31-6) and is celebrating a victory Monday night, which averts tying a franchise-worst losing streak, make no mistake…these are desperately lean times for Edmonton fans.
Nonetheless, we won't dwell on the negative. The sun did rise after all in Edmonton today, and on an even brighter note, albeit somewhat of a reach, #5 was back on the ice, and Andrew Cogliano was auditioning on the first line.
For his part, Ladislav Smid, (#5) is one of the team’s few positive stories this season. The blueliner returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since sustaining a concussion back on Jan. 20. He didn’t participate in contact drills, but said he felt good following his first skate. He’s likely a few games yet from returning to the lineup.
Ladi, one of the budding prospects involved in the Chris Pronger deal with Anaheim in ‘06, has blossomed this year, asserting himself as one of the most physical D-men on a team whose blueline has become as soft as butter. Before being placed on the IR, Smid boasted a respectable +/- rating of 5 in 47 games – best on the Oilers’ blueline.
At times, the lanky Russian appears a bit overzealous in his need to assert himself against those opponents determined to proceed aimlessly into his goalie’s kitchen. Nonetheless, it’s a welcomed sight most evenings, where the only thing even remotely physical at Rexall Place can be found on the “Kissing Cam’, as some aging wonder proudly slides his lizard lips over the face of his unsuspecting date.
Okay, I kind of enjoy that. It makes the pain of watching the Oilers blunder around the ice a bit more palatable.
Can’t say anything is capable of easing Head Coach Pat Quinn’s pain any these days. Studying the stress-filled face of the grizzled former NHL tough guy, teeth clenched on a piece of Extra, Quinn, must be wondering why he didn’t simply ride off into the sunset and call it a career.
Heck, it seems to be working for MacT!
I look forward to bumping into Oil fans on our blog’s message board.
In the meantime, keep your sticks on the ice!
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.