Monday, December 31, 2012

8 Questions in Oil Country

While my blogs have been few and far between , not to mention my time on twitter, I have been busy following the CHL, AHL, KHL, Swedish Elite,  Finish Elite and the U20 World Jr Championships. Lots of late nights, lots of PVR'ing and while I may have sounded silent these last couple months, I have been still busy enjoying all the hockey fix I can get. Don't think I have followed so much in depth updates on the 2013 NHL Draft ranking either. I have been behind on some of my usual updates with my draft rankings so will be getting back on top of the updates soon in the new year of 2013 very soon.

As we have done in the past, I am listing some questions that I get from various followers on twitter, facebook and here at Oilers Jambalaya. The following are the 8 Questions and my best response to them;

1) What are your impressions on Tobias Rieder this year? Has he taken a step back or has there been a injury we don't know of that has hindered his scoring ability?

It has been a rough year but not for lack of effort. Actually I would have to say that while production has dropped off Tobias has really improved his defensive side of the game in leaps and bounds and has really become a much stronger player in one on one battles. There are some reasons for his drop in play. His Kitchner team has lost some big time skill as well as his world jr team is very weak for skill. Tobias is the type of a player who produces points better as a complimentary player rather then as the star who carries the game. I don't have any worries at this point. Next season he will likely turn pro and get a chance in OKC to hone his skills. As far as what has caused his big drop in point production? I am puzzled but if you watch him on the ice you will see he is always in the right position, works hard and just seems to be snake-bitten.

2) What did you do during the Christmas break? Watch much Jr hockey?

Actually besides watching lots of hockey with the Jrs, as a family we put together our 2nd Annual Christmas Music Video. What is fast becoming a popular Boxing day past time, we came up with a dandy this year....Check it out! (only thing missing is Santa in a Oilers Jersey...hmmm?)

"I am Santa Claus" by The Renaerts Family

3) What are your thoughts on Hall and Eberle in OKC?

These two are absolutely insane when watching them compete against AHL players. While it is so easy to see them shine as greater talent on the ice, it has also provided them the opportunity to work on their defensive side of the game. They both know this season in OKC is about more then just stats and winning, its about development. It also is making them a big target against any team they face. They receive the best defence every night and in the AHL it is borderline dirty hockey on occasion. Can only make them better right? Only time will tell! The thing I like the best is they get to continue to work on chemistry together and also allows proper time for Hall to return from his surgery.

4) Do you think we will see the Oilers play in 2013?

The best answer I can give is....How can they not play? Too much money is at stake for the players to not take a deal in time to salvage a season. If the owners lose this season it will only be a greater demand from owners to not cave in with a full season of revenue lost. 

5) Is Nail Yakupov looking more like a future problem then a future star?

Granted since Yakupov went to play in the subway series, his play has looked to be more problematic as far as team work. There are some things to consider about this young player. Even in Sarnia scouts have gone on record as saying there were times when Nail would try to do too much on his own. Even with his team in the KHL it has been happening. His few games after the subway series he seemed to be struggling with consistent high end play.

Playing with less skill can cause someone who has those game breaking abilities to take on more then they can chew.  Good news is....when Nail plays for Edmonton, they will coach individual play out of him, it's the NHL. Not to mention he will be playing with world class talent throughout the line-up in the top 9 regardless. RNH even commented that going from Jr to Pro was easier skill wise cause the other skill out there made things easier. It was the work ethic, speed and toughness that was the big jump. I would not be too concerned about Yakupov producing in the NHL this year OR next, whenever the NHL does start up again.

Nail Yakupov 2012 NHL Entry Draft

6) Should RNH not have more production playing against boys in the U20 World Jr, rather then men in the NHL? 

Something needs to be understood about RNH's game. He is a all around forward who is as good defensively as he is with his offence. (Despite critics who feel he is only a offensive player) He will light it up with 3 points or more on occasional nights but his big contribution wherever he goes will be his creative playmaking and his ability to control the puck in all circumstances. What puzzles me is the lack of use on the PK for Team Canada. Nugent-Hopkins is still growing into his body and will only get better as time goes on. Remember he is the same age as his linemates just has more pedigree and experience. Some tend to think RNH is a 22 year old or something. Truth is, take RNH out of Team Canada line-up and Team Canada will likely have no chance to win this tourney. 

(RNH's NHL Quality shot)

7) Should the Oilers play a 48 game season, what are the chances of making the playoffs?

With Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Hemsky, Gagner, Smid, Yakupov, Petrell and Schultz all playing on teams this year the Oilers will have a bit of a step up in on-ice preparation. With Ryan Smyth  and Dubynk getting some playing time in the Spengler Cup it should benefit them as well. I expect the Oilers will come out of the gates flying.

Personally I would rather they get one last chance at another lottery pick but at this point progression is more important. My best guess is they finish in 7th-12th in the Western Conference should we see a shortened year.

8) Based on their play for Team Canada, is Johnathan Drouin not looking like a better chance to get drafted higher then Nathan MacKinnon?

While Drouin has done well and played far above most people's expectations, MacKinnon is more a versatile player who is showing he can play a supportive role for Team Canada. He has the ability to play on Wing, at Center, be a depth player or be a skill player in top 6. Drouin has better top end skill with his stick handling and passes and hockey sense but MacKinnon has such great work ethic, incredible drive and speed that is making players 3 years his elder look slow. Give Nathan a top 6 role like Drouin and he will produce. Thing is Drouin fills that role well and Nathan will fill any spot that is needed on this team.

MacKinnon just recently turned 17

Top end Skill displayed by Drouin 

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hockey 4 Christmas?

While the NHL has let us down as fans yet again the World Jr Championships should take care of at least 75% of Canadian Hockey fans thirst for Hockey. I have been tempted to comment several times on this NHL lockout in depth with different perspectives and ways to look at this mess called the NHL and NHLPA but I have decided to stay neutral and await the 'Greatest Game on Earth. 
(My opinion anyway)

As a devout Oiler fan I will be back, like it or not but this is one fan who will not invest anything extra in game day tickets this season and will watch from the cozy confines of my 'MANCAVE'. I do hope we get at least a partial season but all one can do is hope 2013 holds a better future in CBA negotiations the 2012 did.

(Me and my Dreams of a Oiler Christmas)

Rumour has it Devan Dubynk is off to play in the Spengler Cup for Team Canada. Do I like that idea? Any action is better to be in game shape should this season resume mid January 2013.

 (a sight to behold at the Edmonton International Airport)

Nail Yakupov seemed to take a step back since the Subway Series and has fallen off in his production back in the KHL. Hopefully a strong effort at the World Jr's will help him regain some of that confidence he has carried so well these past 2 years. It's his time to shine. Truly great players always rise above adversity and it's Nail's time to show the world he is a world class player. I am guessing he scores around 1.2 points per game in this tournament. 

(Nail Yakupov competing in KHL)

The 'Nuge' has gone to play for Team Canada at the World Jr's and Hall, Eberle and Justin Schultz continue to light up the AHL. Truth is, they are getting in game shape and working on the defensive side of their game in a league that is all about development. Soon, we hope to see this dynamic group in action against the best in the World.

(Skills on Display)

Time will only tell if this group of young talent in the Oilers Organization will be able to be championship calibre. What we do know for sure is development means playing. The Oilers have done well in ensuring all their young talent is playing in a NHL lockout season. Maybe some good planning by Tamby? Not sold on his abilities to assemble a team outside of the draft but Tamby has done well for the Oilers in 'Development'.

Merry Christmas Everyone and a Happy New Year!

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to 


On behalf of everyone at, we would like to wish you and your families a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How To Fix the NHL

How to Fix the NHL
I haven’t been writing much of anything regarding the NHL Lockout since we already know all there is to know about it. However, while watching this debacle, I have come up with a few ideas of my own to make the game and the NHL better. Here they are;

11)   Reduce the NHL to 26 teams by folding Columbus, Florida, Tampa Bay and, Nashville. This will allow the NHL to rid itself of these four ‘money pits’ that never turn a profit and drag the rest of the NHL down with them. The owners’ of these franchises will receive Contraction Payments from the NHL, and the players’ of these teams who have either a One-Way Contract or Two-Way Contract with the teams will go into a Dispersal Draft to be picked up by the remaining NHL clubs which will better these remaining teams’.

22)   Relocate the Phoenix Coyotes to Quebec City. Quebec City is in the process of building a new arena/amphitheatre which will be capable of hosting an NHL franchise. As it stands with Phoenix, the team will NEVER be able to build a viable fan base, and has never really attracted an acceptable number of fans to games, even for the NHL Playoffs. Quebec however, offers a ready-built fan base for a potential NHL return to the city. The citizens of Quebec City have been starving for a major-professional hockey club since the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Also, the Quebec Coliseum is capable of being a temporary home for any potential NHL franchise until the new Quebec Amphitheatre is ready. Make it eight!!
Realign the NHL. As it stands right now, Winnipeg is playing in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Here is a possible scenario if the NHL were to remain with its current teams for realignment; 

Western Conference
Eastern Conference
(Western Canada Division) Edmonton

(Northeast Division)

(Central Division)
St. Louis
(Atlantic Division)
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey
(Pacific Division)
Los Angeles
San Jose
(Southeast Division)
Tampa Bay

23)   Cut the NHL Regular Season to 76 games, and start the NHL Regular Season on October 1st each year. This would allow for the fans’ request for the season to start earlier than it has been to be addressed. This will also allow for the season to end earlier, which will in turn allow NHL Free-Agency to begin at an earlier date than on Canada Day. June 25th would be an excellent place to start.
34)   Eliminate Re-Entry Waivers
45)   Establish the “Wayne Gretzky Award”-For the Most Assists in the NHL Regular Season By a Player. This will allow for an important aspect of the game to be honored which, has not previously been recognized on NHL Awards Night. It will also give the NHL an opportunity to further honour the greatest hockey player who ever lived even further.
  Introduce the ‘Hybrid Icing’ rule currently being used in the AHL. This will eliminate many hazardous plays while players’ are1)   racing for the puck, as it will be the ref’s discussion as to whether or not the situation is hazardous or not and, to blow the play dead or not. This would reduce many injuries.
26)   Introduce a single 10-min Overtime period, followed by a shootout if the score is not won by the end of the 10 minute period. Also allow each time a player scores in the Shootout to count as a goal on the score-sheet, just as is it is in a penalty shot. This will help to improve the entertainment value of the games, should they go into Overtime.
37)   Fire Gary Bettman and CUT TICKET PRICES!!!!!!!

   So there you have it! These are my thoughts on how to improve the NHL and the game, while keeping the integrity of the game intact. I hope you will leave any comments below as to how you think the game/NHL could be improved. I hope we will be watching NHL hockey soon, but until then, enjoy the World Junior Championship and Thank you for reading. Go Canada Go!!!!

Written By Paul Neumann  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hockey Canada Announces Captains for WJHC

Hockey Canada just announced the captains for the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Oilers 1st rounder, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was named team Captain this morning. It's his first junior tournament that he's participating in. He brings skill and leadership to this team. He also brings NHL experience to the fold as well.

Scott Harrington and Jonathan Huberdeau have been named the Alternate Captains and will wear A's.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The NHL in Las Vegas?

Back from a week in Las Vegas and Valley really opens up the mind to a broader perspective when it comes to entertainment and sports in general. Having several conversations with locals about the now departed IHL, the current ECHL Hockey team and the NHL in general. The people of Las Vegas who are residents don't have a specific sport they follow in the dozens of thousands other then their University Basketball. Sure they love their NFL football and they love their NBA Basketball but don't write them off when it comes to NHL Hockey just yet. IN several southern cities I have visited over the years, their can be a distaste for hockey as minor league. Not the case with the majority of locals in Las Vegas and area.

Before you start saying, "C'mon, let's be real here, there is not the population or $ for hockey in Las Vegas!" think again! Las Vegas and Valley has a population of approx 2 million people. That is the population of residents not with tourism. Currently with the economy being the way it is in the last few years in the States Las Vegas is attracting approx 120,000 in visitors each day for tourism. That would mean on a daily basis, there is 2.12 million people who could consider the NHL game for entertainment.

There is also something important for NHL hockey to survive in any city and that is called Corporate Dollars and we know there is plenty of that in droves in Las Vegas. 70% of International Flights into Las Vegas are from Canada and we know that they experience about 1500 visitors from Canada daily via WestJet alone. The approx totals are 4700 Canadians are visiting Las Vegas daily. It is estimated that about 2,000 Las Vegas Residents are french Canadians who reside as residents and then there are those who have relocated and live in Las Vegas from other parts of Canada. 

So doing some math here, let's say 25% of Canadian visitors would take in a NHL hockey game in Las Vegas and 25% of the local Residents who are Canadian would do the same. That would bring our total to...1175 Visitors to buy a ticket to a NHL game and 500 local French Canadians who are now residents of Las Vegas as well. Add in a guess of a additional 2,000 Canadians who reside in Las Vegas and you have a additional 500 people to purchase tickets to a NHL Hockey game. That would bring a total of 2,175 Tickets guaranteed to be sold every game at a very manageable number. Even if Las Vegas Residents were at .5% that would consider to buy tickets to go to a NHL game that would amount to a further 10,000 people. While you would have to be careful with ticket prices. entertainment value is what matters in Vegas, very few places have cheap tickets for anything. It's a place where people expect to be entertained and also expect to pay decent prices for that. In my estimate (I believe it is under estimating as well) that would mean the arena could sell easily close to 12,200 tickets per NHL game.

Enough with my numbers, let's look at some local news 
out of Las Vegas on this very topic...

Frozen Fury 2012 Las Vegas at the MGM Grand (CANCELLED)

 L.A. Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche

By , Guide

The NHL lockout has cancelled this great event. You can blame the owners, you can blame the players but either way hockey fans will get no game in Las Vegas this year. Don't worry, they'll have the event next year and expect fans to fill the seats all over again. Apparently, the NHL believes that it is ok to have a work stoppage just as the game was gaining some serious momentum. Can you tell I'm a disgruntled fan? If every season ticket holder in every city would just stop paying the NHL might realize that the game really is about the people who fill the seats, buy the merchandise or travel to see their teams.

Tickets for this game will be refunded at the point of purchase. However, if you have a hotel reservation or flight booked I guess you have to go to Vegas! Luckily, for you this huge hockey fan is a big fan of Las Vegas as well.

The current seating capacity of the MGM Grand Arena is 16,800 but likely would be slightly smaller for hockey. It is possible the MGM Grand could be a temporary home for a NHL team until a new Sports Arena could be constructed. Wait! You have not heard? Here is another article and rendering of a possible new entertainment complex in the great city of Las Vegas...

Las Vegas could soon have an NHL-ready arena

Two Guys & Hockey Talk NHL News (CLICK PIC FOR LINK)

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Oilers Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Edmonton Oilers or the Bakersfield Condors. This is a fans blog for fans. We happen to love those teams, so we write about them.