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.