yankee hockey


Posted in Edmonton, predictions by amanoidopera on October 7, 2008

8. Edmonton Oilers

Picking number eight in the West is so very hard. Sure, there are a few teams you know aren’t going to compete, but there are four that will all be fighting for this last spot. I’m giving it to Edmonton, but not without any reservations. They’re young, they’re big, and they’re willing to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. The only thing that will hold them back is playing in the stingy Northwest.

The Forwards:

Erik Cole was a great pick up. He’s going to revitalize this offense with his play. Dustin Penner is looking to prove he was worth the offer sheet. Ales Hemsky is going to find that wearing the “A” is going to continue to improve his numbers. Expect Shawn Horcoff to improve on his numbers as well, possibly 30 goals this year? This won’t be the highest scoring offense, but they fight for the puck in the corners, in front of the net, everywhere on the ice. Expect them to get a lot of shots off, even though most will be from bad angles, and that can be very intimidating to the opposing team.

The Defense:

Sheldon Souray being back will really improve blueline offense, but it won’t really improve defensive play. The Oilers defense is strong, but a little on the slow side. The Oilers will have to play their defense back most of the time to make sure that the opposing offense doesn’t get behind them. Still, they could surprise me and be very defensively sound, but even if they are just ok, they’ll keep their team in the game long enough to pull out some wins. Expect a lot of overtime for the Oilers, but they’re used to that.

The Goaltending:

Mathieu Garon is a good goaltender. He’s not great, and certainly not the best in the conference, but he’s good. He’s especially good in close and on breakaways. One knock against him is that he has a hard time seeing through a screen so teams firing from the point are likely to see a lot of shots go in, or rebound off Garon right up the middle. He won’t win them games, but most games he’ll keep it low scoring enough to give them a chance.

The Fans:

Oilers fans are very simple. Don’t get me wrong Oiler fans, I don’t mean you are stupid, I mean you have simple needs. Oiler fans just like hockey, and there is something lovely about that. They’re not so noisy, or confrontational, but boy do they know and love their Oilers. It’s unfortunate they have to share a province with the noisy mean Flames fans, but it’s nice to know there’s a place in Alberta where you can enjoy a hockey game without getting screamed at.

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