This past year, the Edmonton Oilers have given their fans a new rollercoaster ~ one that gets your emotions going.
Last summer, blue line veteran Chris Pronger requested to be traded. He is now public enemy #1 in Alberta's capital. I don't see it that way. His wife was not happy up here so I'm pretty sure that put Pronger inbetween a rock and a hard place. He was only one year into the five year deal that he had signed. He asked Lowe for a trade so he was shipped to the California west coast. This season Pronger was rewarded with the Stanley Cup. Along the way he was given two one-game suspensions for laying Dean McAmmond and Tomas Holmstrom out. In an interview Chris blamed the Canadian media....I totally agree with him. The media has made him look like the "big meany" of the hockey world. Those hits probably wouldn't have been an issue if he wasn't perceived as a dirty player. Anyways, I'm getting off topic.
From September to January the Oilers were plagued with lengthy losing skids and multiple injuries that decimated their roster. Then the Trade Deadline came along in February. Ryan Smyth, heart and soul of Oil Country, Captain Canada, was traded to the New York Islanders. The Edmonton Oilers then endured the longest losing streak in franchise history. They ended up winning only two of the last twenty games of the season. Lowe was deemed a genius by Oil fans during last season's cup run; he was now seen as a deadline dud.
The Edmonton Sun had a one page public apology from the Oilers for their poor effort this season.
Draft Day...the Oilers pick a player of substance ~ Sam Gagner ~ but fail to make any trades that could land them a seasoned veteran or a sniper.
UFA Day...the Oilers make moves to establish a team that would cup contenders next year. They sign goalie Mathieu Garon to back up Dwayne Roloson. They trade under-achieving Joffrey Lupul and captian Jason Smith for blue line veteran Geoff Sanderson and forward Joni Pitkanen. Lowe also put a deal down on the table for NY Ranger Michael Nylander was later disgusted to find out he made a deal with the Washington Capitals. Lowe failed to sign Ryan Smyth even though numerous petitions were circulated by Oilers fans demanding that Captain Canada be returned to his rightful team.
On the up side....Richard Tarnstrom resigns with the Oilers and says that he is delighted to come back to a hockey city like Edmonton after a year playing in Europe. The Oilers also signed RFA's Denis Grebeshkov (July 1), D Matt Greene (July 4) and F Raffi Torres (July 3) who has said he will redevote himself this summer.
As I was writing this I found out that Jan Hejda has signed with the Columus Blue Jackets and Petr Sykora has signed with Pittsburgh. I guess the Czech line will be no more.
Today, Kevin Lowe was deemed a dirty poker player after putting a 5-Year $50 million deal down for Tomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres GM had repeated told Lowe that he would match any offer that he made because he was going to hold to his promise that he would not let Vanek go. Vanek resigned with the Sabres this afternoon. Hopefully this bold move will show other players that the Oilers are willing to pay if they are willing to pay.
~ Horcoffgirl23 ~