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The Edmonton Perception

Posted 2:41 PM ET | Comments 19
Heatley has asked for a trade, just not to Edmonton. Bouwmeester wanted to come to Alberta, just not to Edmonton. Those are the latest two players to put further black marks on the city of champions, a trend that started with Chris Pronger and his exodus from Edmonton.

This is not a rant about how much Edmonton sucks, because it doesn't, but there is a truth out there and that truth is that Players in the NHL aren't overly excited about playing Edmonton.

Why is it that guys like Iginla, Phanuef, Bouwmeester ect. who are Edmonton natives (or thereabouts), who grew up idolizing the oilers (well bouwmeester was a Detroit fan actually), that know the city and could have made it possible for themselves to play there don't go. It's often thrown at me from Oiler fans that we need to have Edmonton players to win and fair enough, we do, but why aren't they IN Edmonton? If Iginla wanted to play there he could have not re-signed in Calgary and gone home, the oilers would have done that in a heart beat. Why did dion re-up his contract for such a long term if he wanted to go home?

Then you look at the contracts being offered in hockey's heartland for guys like Horcoff. He's a really good player but he's not a franchise guy, why is he making 7 mil plus? To stay?

I've seen recent fan boards where Edmonton natives plead that the climate up there is the same as Calgary's, it isn't, there is usually a large number of Chinooks in Calgary which is an inverted pressure that traps heat in the city. When Edmonton is -25 Calgary might just be around zero degrees Celsius in Calgary. The simple truth is that the perception, and that is the only thing that counts is that it's a city that is cold, fairly industrial with a lack of things that other cities offer that go towards your quality of life.

My father lived in Edmonton for five years during the heyday of the Oilers, I am very well acquainted with the city and it's fans, have often spoke about their passion and how great it is to go to a game in Edmonton. Having said that there IS a perception in the league that Edmonton is the Siberia of the N.H.L., in a hockey news poll conducted back during Edmonton's run to the finals the PLAYERS in the N.H.L. voted Edmonton the least attractive place to play along with Buffalo. That is real, that is not some flames fan sticking his tongue out at you.

One way or another the Oilers, as well as they treat their players, have to think of something to make themselves more attractive because even offering millions more is not working to attract the players they want. They must, very quickly, discern why the players feel this way about what was once one the greatest places to play and get it corrected immediately.

Filed Under:   Edmonton   Oilers   Heatley  
July 2, 2009 2:47 PM ET | Delete
"Edmonton" is the ancient Cree word for "Armpit"
July 2, 2009 2:54 PM ET | Delete
What about players like Ryan Smyth (from Banff) or Jason Smith from Calgary that loved playing in Edmonton? Pronger signed a 6 year extension when he got here, obviously he didn't hate the city. Rumour has it he was cheating on his wife, and his wife didn't want to stay in Edmonton. The exodus out of Edmonton after the cup run was overblown by the media. Many of the players that left ended up sucking big time. Spacek, Samsanov (on waivers a couple times), Peca.
July 2, 2009 2:57 PM ET | Delete
I agree for the most part on this, still not sold on the weather issue though, because many times when its minus 25 here its just the same there. i thinks its safe to say you guys gets minus35 temperatures , just not as often as us.
July 2, 2009 3:05 PM ET | Delete
If I were a player I would want to play in Edmonton for the simple reason that the ice in their building is the best in the league. They also hold the glory of one of the greatest teams of all time.
July 2, 2009 3:18 PM ET | Delete
July 2, 2009 3:29 PM ET | Delete
July 2, 2009 3:29 PM ET | Delete
Taurus, when you speak do you have to pull your pants down?
July 2, 2009 3:48 PM ET | Delete
July 2, 2009 4:42 PM ET | Delete
I think it has just as much to do with the travel times as with climate. The closest team to Edmonton is Calgary. The drive between Edmonton and Calgary is 3-5 hours depending on how fast you're going and the flight is an hour. That's for the team's closest rival. The Western Conference is bad for travel times and Edmonton epitomizes this.
July 2, 2009 4:46 PM ET | Delete
Actually you are wrong about the weather. If you take the time to look at the climate statistics Calgary is marginally warmer in winter and Edmonton is marginally warmer in summer.
July 2, 2009 5:27 PM ET | Delete
5hours to drive from Edmonton to Calgary? Maybe by horse and carrage
July 2, 2009 5:36 PM ET | Delete
a-mar does raise a good point about travel times. Sabata tell me how much "marginally" means when snow is MELTING. Like I said regardless if i'm right or wrong that's the perception of Edmonton, maybe it's something else, regardless it's becoming a concern.
July 2, 2009 5:44 PM ET | Delete
Nylander is another example of a player who reneged on an agreement with Edmonton to go elsewhere. That worked out alright for the Oil but still. Great building, great tradition. Is it because NHL players are getting selfish and want the "good life"? Look at Gomez in Manhattan. Hank loves the city too.
July 2, 2009 8:45 PM ET | Delete
July 3, 2009 3:14 AM ET | Delete
A- mar if you lived in alberta you would know its 3.5 hours tops inbetween both cities, i usually make it in 2 and a half. the closest city to Vancouver is calgary or Edmonton. Detroit being in the east easily has it the worst. I don't know where your coming from
July 3, 2009 2:43 PM ET | Delete
July 3, 2009 5:56 PM ET | Delete
the oilers have great ice...only problem is you have to dodge timber wolves and polar bears to and from parking your automobile.
July 3, 2009 9:52 PM ET | Delete
If your a hockey player not a play boy a canadian city is where it's at. Montreal and TO probably the best cities followed by Edmonton for fan support anyways. If you wanna be held accountable for your play come to Canada. Other wise stay in America where you won't be given credit either good or bad for what you do. And if your Danny Heatley maybe just retire cause your just depriving someone who wants to play hockey of a job.
July 3, 2009 10:55 PM ET | Delete
Further to what Jag83 said, it's only about a 40 minute flight, not an hour. Desent begins about 10 mins after reaching altitude.
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