Showing posts with label Stanley Cup Playoffs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stanley Cup Playoffs. Show all posts

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Anticipation is rising in Oil City (pt 1 of 2)

My apologies to our blog readers here at Oilers Jambalaya over the last while. I have been in somewhat of a hiatus for awhile. My daughter recently got married outdoors and the extra work and effort between that and my regular paying job kept me quite busy. I did manage to stay focused on spreading the Oilers Spirit though.

I must say, when I was asked to come on and join Smokin Ray here at Oilersjambalaya a couple years ago, I was full of excitement and anticipation. The Oilers had been trying to scratch and crawl their way back to respectability and were drafting and developing new talents much better then in years past. My excitement for the team , the prospects and their development was hard to surpass. I would spend endless hours in research and conversation with any contacts I could find that had any information that could be useful or give myself a different look at these players.

As the last few years have passed by, that same excitement started to dwindle and while I am still a die hard fan, it has been less emotional excitement then in the past. Why? I am guessing maybe emotional drain? Maybe it is disappointment? Frustration? Regardless of what it was, I was still faithful and still am today watching and following this team. Some have said not drafting the best young player in the world for the 4th consecutive year in a row did it to me. Maybe, but bringing in a new coach and everything MacT has done has not impressed me yet. Sure it's a start but the proof as they say, is in the pudding!

This year, it's time to 'put up, or shut up'! Anything less the a playoff push to the last week is a train wreck to me. I know, teams can only improve so much without major change in player personal. That is true, but no one who drafts as high as the Edmonton Oilers and has elite talent like they do, should grow slowly like some teams that finish in the middle of the pack and yet still see drastic improvement with little changes. With the natural physical, mental and emotional maturity of elite talent comes great strides.

Enough about the past! I love that Eakins cleaned out the past player persona in the changing room. The past is not what you build on, its the future you build into. Having said that, I am starting to feel that 'twitch' again that makes me jump, scream, shout or say 'Yes'! on every Oiler goal, assist, save, hit, fight and plain old 'sweet play'. Looking through this team, there really is no built in excuses why this team can not be a playoff bound team this year. Let's look at the reasons we can anticipate the excitement building for the Edmonton Oilers.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is Cerebal

He's back!! Do not look at his stats line from last year when he was fighting a injury that limited his shot and passing. I have followed RNH for the past 5 years and last year, his whole offensive game was affected. What did he do? Became a even better center defensively. Once RNH can bring his FO% up to around 50% he will become a Top 5 Center in this league as far as I am concerned. His presence on this team will be a huge boost and the team's offensive output will start shooting through the roof of arena's everywhere. Why? Because it will be contagious and will be a catalyst this team needs.

Boyd Gordon is a solid defensive center
Gordon is a player who can win face-offs, fill in a night or two on a higher line, back check, and just plays the game the way any hard nosed player should. His dependability and reliability is something this team will greatly appreciate this year. Also Boyd will seldom makes stupid plays that leave you shaking your head.

Nail Yakupov is a beast

In training camp and pre-season and right throughout the 1st period in the season opener, you can see Nail has gained some great strength in protecting the puck. He doesn't just dangle it, he dares the opposition to take it away from him. He handles it like a bull in a china shop and he doesn't care about the results other then getting that puck to the net. His one-timers from anywhere are hard, crisp, fast and bulls eye accurate. His one-timers take a backseat to no more then maybe 10 current NHL'ers currently playing and if he continues to grow in this area, the sky is the limit for this Russian kid. His hunger for the game, his relentless back check and speed will not be able to be contained too often as this season progresses.

Taylor Hall is a Stud

Not many players can play like Taylor Hall plays. His intensity, versatility, drive, speed and love for hockey make Taylor Hall one of a kind. The fact he has been able to make this shift to centre in the loss of the Oilers top 2 centers has been nothing short of incredible. Sure there have been some mistakes but playing a 1st line center role when you have never done it at a NHL level? That is crazy and he is still holding his own. With Nugent-Hopkins set to return , it is likely to free him up some to relax and take some of the pressure off of him. Don't forget he is carrying two players in Hemsky and Smyth who most Oiler fans wanted run out of town not long ago. Hall with a Yakupov and Joensuu could be a interesting line while Perron and Eberle play with Nugent-Hopkins? No matter how it plays out, left wing or centre , Taylor Hall is a stud out there and intends to make this a winning season at any expense.

Don't fret Oiler fans over the opening night loss. I know it may look like the same old story but this team while down 2 of their top 6 players has looked dominating at times and with this new 'swarm' philosophy of hockey for the Oilers, it might just suit this team well. The addition of some new players added to the mix currently growing by leaps and bounds could be what takes this team back into the 'sacred temples of Lord's Stanley'.

to be continued....

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Closer look into the Edmonton Oilers 'Recruitment'

In light of recent activity both good and bad in many people’s opinions, I have decided to now put my ‘Oilers fan’ hat aside and put on my Oiler Blogger’ hat on. I know, my last blog basically ripped MacT and the Oilers (as have some of my tweets on twitter @revingev) but today it is time to take a different perspective of the Oilers organization.

After years of ‘retooling’ and ‘rebuilding’ or whatever you choose to call it, the fans in Edmonton and Oiler fans around the NHL have grown impatient over the progress the team has made in recent years. Many people felt and still feel that nothing is really going to be much different this year from any other. Will we see progress again this year slightly over last? Maybe, but not much other then the continued maturity of the skill players the Oilers already have.

In all fairness, if MacT had to do it again, would he have proclaimed to make bold moves , say he was an impatient man and/or tell people if he did not return from the draft without some roster players it would be a disappointment? I think he still FEELS that way but being a new GM, he was hoping he could be a mover and shaker and do some things differently. There are a number of reasons other teams seem to make moves and not the Oilers in my view. Are they factual? I have no idea other then just speculating or as some say, just guessing based on what we have seen or heard. IMO these are the possible reasons the Oilers seem to miss out on great trades and or free agents.


I know, I have continually said that players don’t usually care about the weather cause most the season they are away or have their off season in a warmer climate. Problem is, the more you talk to players these days, location is extremely important. They are looking for a place where they can not be in the limelight and or can get away from all the stress of pressure they feel from the media and or public. Sure some players love the limelight and like that attention but not all. Some players dream of playing and living in warmer weather conditions. Can’t say I can blame them. Some players want the extras that come from playing in a state of the art building with training equipment etc...

My suggestion:
Why not trade for and draft or reach out to UFA’s who like the spotlight? Sure they may be a little cocky or have some attitude, but is that so bad? I know we want character players but do we always need polished boys who say or do the right thing? If they don’t help you win, why does it matter? Just a thought! On the other note, I believe the team is going in the right direction with our new downtown arena complex. Nothing like a good time in a positive environment with state of the art facilities. Great for the players and the fans. 


Every player who says winning the Stanley Cup is not important should have their head examined cause that’s why they are paid to play. We don’t pay them to look pretty, provide a nice game here or there and collect there cheque. Every fan, dreams of their team winning or at least competing to win the Stanley Cup. In the end, we should not be upset at a player who does not want to come to a losing team. Sorry Oiler fans but we all know, at this time we are close to being a winning team but not yet. Sure we can convince some we are almost there but in the end, players want to come and play for a winner. Hopefully soon the Oilers will arrive there.

My suggestion:
Allow time for the young core to develop and surround them with the best staff available. Pick a system and stick to it. Also stick to the plan of how you want to build your team. (ie: Big and mean VS Puck possession etc…) Fans will be willing to wait if they see continued success each year. With that, to be a winner you need to take chances in your trades. No complaints really in amateur scouts but there is in the pro scouts. Their success has been terrible and when you keep doing the same, your results stay the same. Let’s find some scouts who know how to find good players once in awhile. (ie: Glencross, Ryan Jones) through small trades and or waivers. We need to have more hits then misses.


Winning teams have players who go out and pursue the UFA’s when they are available. Before a player becomes available they are already talking about possible teams to join in the future. It’s not wrong for a player to recruit early, there just friends, however a team recruiting before UFA time is illegal. Philly players help make attraction better, Boston does the same as does Pittsburgh. Even Calgary in the past worked hard on personal recruitment among the players. It may not be liked by some people but it is happening and if you don't jump on board you will get left behind.

My suggestion:
Recently we saw this with Justin Schultz,  however this seldom is seen. In today's post-modern way of thinking, players who are younger are more interested in being ‘wanted’ or ‘needed’ then in the name on the Jersey in the front. Continue to make this a priority of the players selling the organization rather then the GM’s and such. Sure they want to see the President and the GM but more importantly they want to see ‘friends’ asking them. Key point here is to think of what is most important to ‘people’ NOT to ‘players’. Sometimes we forget that these guys don’t need our city, our city needs them! Should we bend some? Absolutely, it’s a business, do everything we can, and with this young core we have, make them the recruiters.


I know this may sound like such a small thing but it is important to have a locker room where teams learn to rely on one another and work things out among themselves and even self-motivate each other. We have heard of several rumours over the years of locker room problems. Some is always bound to happen, the question is rooting out the ones who are not team players.

My suggestion:
 It is a new day and age , most the old ways of developing team chemistry is gone. Adapt or be left behind. If a team is run like a hierarchy it can reflect in what kind of team you have on the ice. Giving more responsibility to your team is important to that chemistry of a winning culture. Every team needs to be encouraged to give their input. When a player feels valued it will change their whole attitude and way of thinking.


I know this will be unpopular to Oiler fans but we can not continue to think as a organization that we can win every trade. Someone has to lose and unless your good at it , you will likely lose a few. Sometimes they can work both ways but most times there is a loser in the deal. You cannot get better by trades without trading better players who have value or at least ‘believed’ value.

My suggestion:
When your considering trading someone, don’t tell the world you need to move them. Don’t sit them in the press box. Highlight them in their strengths on the ice and make reasons in the room and with the player as to why your making the changes. (ie: Ryan Whitney value is decreased with the way he was played and even critiqued in the MSM) Find a way to speak positive of players but yet working on improving their challenges at times. I believe Todd Nelson was always good at this. Sure he spoke highly of players (after all, they are humans not robots) but he also talked about area’s to work on. Too often in Edmonton players are ripped apart and that information gets dissected by other teams scouts. A little strategy in how we handle critiquing could go a long ways. In addition how we handle disgruntled players will go a long ways in seeing them traded for at least something rather then rusting in our organization. Have we also forgotten that the way we treat a player can spread like 'wildfire' in the NHL among the NHLPA? Just a thought!

Having said all that, I am not employed by a professional hockey team and never have been, so what do I know? What I do know is how people want to be treated regardless of how much money they make. Team building and training is what I do and that my friends, I believe goes a long way in developing success within any organization.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My 2010/11 NHL Playoff Predictions For The 1st Round (plus Cup Winner)

Well here they are folks. My bold predictions for this years 1st round of the 2010/11 Stanley Cup playoffs. Lets see how I do this year.


Blackhawks will win in 7 games over the Canucks

Sharks will win in 6 games over the Kings

Detroit will win in 6 games over the Coyotes

Ducks will win in 6 games over the Predators


Capitals will win in 6 games over the Rangers

Penguins will win in 7 games over the Lightning

Bruins will win in 6 games over the Canadiens

Flyers will win in 6 games over the Sabres

The team that will win the Stanley Cup.... Washington Capitals

What are your picks?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Playoffs, Or Not The Playoffs, That Is The Question

The Last Cup Won By The Oilers

I had a good conversation with a couple of friends the other night on twitter (they disagreed with me) about whether or not the Oilers should make a run for the playoffs this year (not really our choice). This conversation was sparked by Tom Renney's words earlier on this week and it wasn't until the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones egged it on even more, that we started to talk more about it.

Renney had this to say, "It won't surprise me when we make the playoffs. It won't. The biggest surprise of all might be if we don't."

He then went on to say, "Just because I know how deep the care is. I know how willing they are to be coached. How proud they are, quite honestly, to be here doing this in Edmonton. That's the hard part about losing. The masses don't get an appreciation for how badly our guys want to do well and win and be a playoff team. When they have those tough nights, and there's more to come, we all know that, it's tough."

So the coach believes this team can do it even if it will be tough to do. Well... I believe it too. I do.

Is it wrong for the Oilers players to want to make it to the real season we call the playoffs? Is it wrong that the players don't want to roll over and play dead, no matter if Tambellini is willing to acquire better talent to help them out or not? Is it wrong that the Oilers players don't see or want another high draft pick in the clubs future?

I don't think so. I think it's great that they want to win. I think it's great that they want to get a taste of the playoffs. I think it's great that the word loser isn't in their vocabularies.

I said it at the start of this year that the kids will want to win (can't find link). They didn't make the team to be losers. The returning players had enough of that the last few years and good for them to not want to be a loser ever again either. Finishing last might have been OK with some of the fans, but it shouldn't and won't be OK with the players. I can respect that. A lot.

Some might say that no matter how much the Oilers want to make the playoffs, they can't without another decent center and some better defenceman. Fair enough. But I will say this. If this club DOES make the playoffs (today they are only 8 points out of 8th place) with the current roster as is, -- I'm not stupid. Some trades need to and should happen anyways. Playoffs or not -- then they deserve a chance to prove us wrong. Even if they get swept in 4 games, they earned it and they deserve our praise and admiration.

So let's not cheer for the Oilers to bomb again.

Never again.

If I remember correctly, by the end of last season there wasn't very many people/fans other than myself and a select few that kept following the team to the bitter end. Not many people gave a crap about the Oilers until the 1st overall pick was granted to the Oilers. The fan support sucked and I don't want that to happen again either.

I'd rather have a mid round pick and see the Oilers get that taste of the playoffs rather than have that crappy taste in my mouth as we watch them sputter to another last place finish. Remember, Ales Hemsky was picked 13th overall and correct me if I am wrong, but isn't he the Oilers best player right now?

Bottom line, if the Oilers want to ever win the Stanley Cup in the future, then at some point they need playoff experience. Look at the Pens, Hawks and Caps. No team wins without experience. No team.

I can put my personal guarantee on one thing. The Oilers rookies will not give up. They will not lay down and die for the sake of the fans. They will not beaten down because a part time bandwagon fan (or a fat sports writer) thinks it's the best choice. I am a proud Oilers fan and I'll support this team not matter what. I would hope that you would do the same.

This is my Edmonton Oilers. Everyday of the week. Everyday of the year. 24/7.


-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup Champions

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the NHL's Stanley Cup.

The Hawks were a special team who achieved greatness tonight. Good on them for showing the world that they could do it. They believed it... now so do we.

For this moment, you are the best in the world. Congrats!

Take notes here Edmonton Oilers. Learn some lessons from these boys. 2010/11, The year of the Oilers?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Round 3 Picks From Oilers Jambalaya / 2nd Round Recap

Let's see how I did in the 2nd round. Here are the 1st round picks I made.


(6) Bruins vs (7) Flyers BRUINS WIN IN 6 FLYERS WON IN 7

(4) Penguins vs (8) Canadiens PENGUINS WIN IN 6 CANADIENS WON IN 7


(1) Sharks vs (5) Red Wings RED WINGS WIN IN 6 SHARKS WON IN 5

(2) Blackhawks vs (3) Canucks BLACKHAWKS WIN IN 6 BLACKHAWKS WON IN 6




(7) Flyers vs (8) Canadiens CANADIENS WIN IN 6


(1) Sharks vs (2) Blackhawks BLACKHAWKS WIN IN 6

I pick the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2nd Round Stanley Cup Playoff Picks / Plus 1st Round Recap

Here is what I picked for the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs; MY PICKS ARE IN BLUE


(1) Washington vs. (8) Montreal  CAPITALS WIN IN 4 CANADIENS WON IN 7

(2) New Jersey vs. (7) Philadelphia  DEVILS WIN IN 7 FLYERS WON IN 5

(3) Buffalo vs. (6) Boston BRUINS WIN IN 6 BRUINS WON IN 6

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Ottawa  PENGUINS WIN IN 5 PENGUINS WON IN 6


(1) San Jose vs. (8) Colorado  COLORADO WINS IN 6 SHARKS WON IN 6

(2) Chicago vs. (7) Nashville  CHICAGO WINS IN 5 CHICAGO WON IN 6

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Los Angeles  CANUCKS WIN IN 6 CANUCKS WON IN 6

(4) Phoenix vs. (5) Detroit  DETROIT WINS IN 6 DETROIT WON IN 7

Here is the link for the 1st Round.


OK, time for the 2nd round matchups; MY PICKS ARE IN BLUE


(6) Bruins vs (7) Flyers BRUINS WIN IN 6

(4) Penguins vs (8) Canadiens PENGUINS WIN IN 6


(1) Sharks vs (5) Red Wings RED WINGS WIN IN 6

(2) Blackhawks vs (3) Canucks BLACKHAWKS WIN IN 6

-Smokin' Ray-

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Playoff Picks And The Season Prediction

Here is our playoff predictions from the start of the season.  Let's just see how stupid we really are around here. lol.

Actual West Standings:
Red Wings
Blue Jackets

Actual East Standings:
Boy were we wrong. Colorado in 14th? Phoenix in 15th? Edmonton in 6th? Calgary in 3rd?

*face in palm*

So here are my 2009/10 Stanley Cup NHL Playoff Predicitons for this year.


(1) Washington vs. (8) Montreal (Game One: 4/15 at 4 p.m. PST) WASHINGTON WINS IN 4

(2) New Jersey vs. (7) Philadelphia (Game One: 4/14 at 4:30 p.m. PST) DEVILS WIN IN 7

(3) Buffalo vs. (6) Boston (Game One: 4/15 at 4 p.m. PST) BRUINS WIN IN 6

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Ottawa (Game One: 4/14 at 4 p.m. PST) PENGUINS WIN IN 5


(1) San Jose vs. (8) Colorado (Game One: 4/14 at 7:30 p.m. PST) COLORADO WINS IN 6

(2) Chicago vs. (7) Nashville (Game One: 4/16 at 5:30 p.m. PST) CHICAGO WINS IN 5

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Los Angeles (Game One: 4/15 at 7 p.m. PST) CANUCKS WIN IN 6

(4) Phoenix vs. (5) Detroit (Game One: 4/14 at 7 p.m. PST) DETROIT WINS IN 6


Who's in the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Finals?

Smokin' Ray - Chicago vs. Washington

Paq Twinn - San Jose vs. Washington.

-Smokin' Ray-

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.