“Win”, a word seldom found on an Edmonton sports page this year, when discussing the exploits of the Oilers.
But that’s exactly where the Oil find themselves – on a three game winning streak, following a 3-0 goaltending clinic by Edmonton netminder Jeff Deslaurier over Roberto Luongo’s Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.
Preparing to host the Western Conference’s 13th place Anaheim Ducks with little other than chemistry and pride on the line, the NHL’s worst squad just may be getting used to seeing their names in the win column.
The players might like the sound of that, but it’s sure starting to spook Oil fans, some of whom have already been spotted walking around the dated confines of Rexall Place with “Hall” and “Seguin” lettering on their jerseys.
Currently the league’s cellar dwellers, Pat Quinn’s team still has a ways to go (44 points) to climb above the Toronto Maple Leafs (55 pts) and screw up the best thing that’s happened to this franchise since its 2006 Stanley Cup run – the NHL Entry Draft’s first overall selection.
Nonetheless, Patrick O’Sullivan practised with the squad this morning, and looks ready to return to the Oilers’ lineup, following a painful injury to his finger nail. His arrival is timely, after Sam Gagner left practice today with what was thought to be a lingering hip injury.
From “Luuuuu” to “Luuubbbbooo”, Edmonton fans undoubtedly prefer the latter chant and will get an opportunity to say it Friday night, when they welcome home Lubomir Visnovsky, traded to the Ducks for Ryan Whitney and a sixth round draft pick, at the 12th hour of this year’s Trade Deadline Day.
The fleet-footed Visnovsky (15-24-39; +/- rating of -6), was a fan favourite during his time in Edmonton, and one of the few positive stories in a season filled with disappointment.
HALL LEADS SPITS’ TO OHL SERIES WIN
Potential number-one overall draft pick, Taylor Hall, was all that and a bag of chips tonight, scoring a pair of goals to lead the Windsor Spitfires to a 5-1 victory over the Erie Otters.
Hall’s two-goal performance – his third in as many games – gave Windsor all the offensive it needed for the “W” and a series sweep of the Otters in the Ontario Hockey League playoff matchup. Maintaining his status as the nation’s top prospect, Hall has 10 points (6-4) in only four play-off games thus far.
It’s early in the OHL post-season, but Hall is a young man on a mission right now, seemingly determined to lead his team back to the Memorial Cup promise land.
That noise you hear is Oilers Nation salivating!
SPARTAN ON THE RISE?
Highly touted defensive prospect, Jeff Petry, may be on his way to Springfield by the weekend.
Petry, in his Junior year of university with the NCAA Michigan State Spartans, is a rising star in the Edmonton farm system, having posted respectable numbers of 4-25-29 this season with a +/- rating of 1.
With the Spartans eliminated March 13th from post-season play by their rivals from Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines, Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini is mulling over promoting the CCHA All-Conference blueliner to Springfield, to help further his development.
Petry, who also a 2008 All-Rookie Team selection, was Michigan State’s top-scoring D-man this season. Petry, the son of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dan Petry, has played on Head Coach Rick Comley’s special team units since his freshman year.
The Oilers’ future blueline is looking bright with the likes of Theo Peckam, Taylor Chorney and Petry rounding into form.
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Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice Oil fans!
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.