By definition, Oilers’ style hockey is something of a reputation rather than how the game has been played of late. The Oilers had a style of hockey in the 80′s and early 90′s that was fast, furious, skilled and most of all entertaining. Patented by greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, and the like, the style was made famous.
Unfortunately, Oilers’ hockey has has become a reputation more than a style we actually look forward to seeing. The fans have grown accustomed to not seeing this style of hockey while hoping game after game that this would be the game where the old style would show itself. Once in a while a great play is made. Once in a while a brilliant or skilled strategy works its way into play and actually does what it is supposed to do. But, not often enough.
Many have been criticizing general manager Kevin Lowe and head coach Craig MacTavish for loading the team with very young, very inexperienced players. Even I wasn’t certain what their strategy could be. The average age of the players on the Edmonton Oilers is 27. The average age of the players in the NHL is 28. My question is, if the average age of the Oilers is 27 and the league average is 28, where is the problem?
I have watched the entire pre-season, home games at any rate, several practice skates, and now the first two games of the season. What has impressed me most is the fact that we are seeing something we haven’t seen in years. Oilers’ Style Hockey!
These young, energetic players are fast, skilled, robust and smart. They are everything Oilers’ Style Hockey is about. Hemsky seems to have learned how to shoot and pass the puck. Torres appears much more fit, and seems to have his head in the game and out of his beer mug. With the addition of young talent the likes of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson and Kyle Brodziak the team is much faster, more energetic and more focussed than any team we have seen in this decade.
The speed of the game is exciting and energizing. Sure the kids have to get their skates under them and adjust to the faster pace that is the NHL. With two home games under their belts and two wins leading into their first away trip of the season, they have just a little more confidence in their abilities.
Those who think the age and inexperience of this team is a detractor from their winning potential need to think again. Is it possible for this young gaggle to make it into the play-offs this year? Indeed it is. Is it possible for them to bring home the Stanley Cup? Anything is possible. Is it likely? I doubt it. What this year is, for sure, is an opportunity for the management and bench staff of the Edmonton Oilers to mould a young group of hot-heads into a team with seasoned veterans as the mortar to bond them together. Said team will, with the proper guidance and taining, become a force to be reckoned with.
After watching the match-ups between the Oil and the Sharks (3-2 SO) and the Oil v. Flyers (5-3), they are off on the road to take on The Red Wings in Detroit, followed on Wednesday with a match-up against the Minnesota wild before facing the one team they couldn’t get by in the pre-season, the Vancouver Canucks. We can’t win ‘em all, but I am certain this group of rookie wahoos can make a dent in most of them, and in fine OILERS’ STYLE!
Jerrod Stoll said it best:
“There was a lot of open ice out there against Philadelphia. San Jose was the same story – a lot of chances at both ends. There’s ice out there to make plays, it’s fun hockey to play.”
Source: Edmonton Sun – Oilers Sports
It’s nice to hear a player is having fun rather than simply earning a paycheque. That is what SPORTS is all about, fun for the fans and fun for the players!
Let’s Go Oilers!