The Edmonton Oilers’ future begins tonight!
All of the negative headlines – who won’t come to E-town, who’s desperate to get out of Dodge, Sheldon Souray’s $9M predicament – are history.
The “good news story” that Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini has been attempting to write is supposed to begin tonight, when the new, young, Taylor Hall-led Oilers, open a new chapter on their down-trodden franchise, hosting their arch rivals from Cow Town, the Calgary Flames.
Edmonton is hoping the “Battle of Alberta” will return, after being owned by the Flames last year, 6-0.
And both clubs, to be clear, are desperate for some positive news, as neither made the playoffs last year. Sure the Flames owned the Oil last season – who didn’t? – but their season flickered at the end, barely missing the post-season party in ninth spot. Nonetheless, it was Edmonton’s serious bed-wetting last season that saw Tambellini, and not Darryl Sutter, selecting junior hockey phenom Taylor Hall with the first overall pick in the NHL entry draft.
Hall will skate out onto the ice down at The Drug Store, along with two other highly touted rookies, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi, looking to create some electricity for the sold-out copper and blue faithful, who have suffered through tumultuous hockey agony the last several years, watching their team fall from the graces of competing in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals to the depths of the NHL’s cellar and last place.
Win or lose tonight, this month, or even failing to qualify again for the NHL playoffs next spring, optimism has seemingly returned to Oilers Nation and the NHL’s most northern outpost, which in itself is a headline worth writing.
So, in summary, whereas this once-proud franchise was running short on excuses for its repeated underachievement, the Oilers brain trust now has a plausible justification for failure, should it occur again – a bon a fide youth movement! If this now-youthful franchise happens to meet with success prematurely…Tambellini and company are geniuses.
Of course, everything has a shelf life – even GMs – unless you’re Kevin Lowe, that is.
In the meantime Oiler fans, chins up…sticks down!
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.