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Finally! Hockey season is finally upon us after 2 months of agonizing waiting. NHLers are reporting to camp, CHL and Jr. A across the country is starting up and all the kids in minor hockey are stepping on the ice for the first time since April. Good times, good times. Amougnst all these events there is a tournement in Penticton, BC with the best and most promising prospects from 5 different teams from across the western NHL. Last night it was the Edmonton Oilers vs. their arch-rivals, the Calgary Flames.
The Oilers prospect pool is thin up front but is sopposedly jam packed with super talented and promising defensive prospects on the backend. Whereas the Flames prospect pool is sopposedly fairly thin and they are in the process of replenishing it. Well, it was a different story last night. The Flames man-handled the Oilers on their way to a convincing 5-2 victory and the Oilers defense looked like their weakest area, not their strongest. So what happened? Here is my summary of the game and what went wrong.....
I was not expecting this. I walked into my living room and turned on the TV around 5 minutes into the game and Nurse had taken a penalty, Calgary had scored and the Flames were dominating. I thought I was dreaming! It reminded me of a nightmare I had once when I was 8 or 9. In the nightmare I was watching an Oilers game in Rexall Place and I was super excited because I had never seen a Oilers home game before. Then, once the game started, none of the Oilers moved, like they were statues. Then the Flames players just skated aroumd everybody and scored 100 times. I woke up screaming that night. No joke. Scary stuff.
As for the rest of the period, the Oilers prospects didn't really improve much from when I first turned on the TV. The defense were pretty much standing still out there and the only real scoring chance the Oilers got was when Marco Roy got a breakaway, but he missed. Nurse and Klefbom disappointed me the most though. Nurse was in the penalty box the whole time and every time Klefbom touched the puck he turned it over or gave it away. It wasn't helping his case to make the big club I'll tell you that.
The only bright spot about the first period was Bunz's play. He made multiple impressive saves and kept the game from getting out of hand. He did still let in one bad goal but none the less he kept the Oil in the game and is definatly making a case for himselve as the backup in OKC over Olivier Roy.
Well, the Oilers won this period, and they improved a bit but it still wasn't the quality of play I was expecting at the beginning. Most of the Oilers players started to find their game and started to participate in the game but they still didn't work great as a team. They had the one moment when Gernat scored but that was pretty much it.
Other than that, the second period was more exciting than the first. The game became more aggresive and there was more bad blood than in the 1st. It looked more like a battle of Alberta. There was also a good attempt at gaining momentum by Blicker when he got into a fight. It didn't pan out but it was a good attempt. Calgary also scored on themselves which was funny but it didn't help the Oilers in the long-run.
And, now it all goes to hell again. Calgary was all over Edmonton in the 3rd. Granlund dominated, Bunz started to lose confidence and the little chemistry the Oilers players had, it got nuked. Even with Calgary's multiple penalties and numerous power plays, the Oilers just couldn't refind their game. Luckily the score board spared the little humility the Oilers prospects had left when the clock rang 0:00 and ended the game at a score of 5-2.
So my overall opinion of this game for the Oilers was disappointment. In my opinion they entered the game as the favorites with their defensive depth and skill but it ended up that it was the defense that ultimately killed them. It pains me to say it but you have to give credit to Calgary. They came out fired up and ready to go, and they had some good offensive talent in Granlund and Baertschi. They deserved to win this game. I just hope the Oilers come out stronger against Winnipeg on Saturday and have learned from their mistakes in this game.
Let's go Oilers!!!