The Oilers may be limping off the ice – but they’re melting it on the ice. No they aren’t red hot, but they’ll take it. For only the third time this season the Oilers are enjoying at least a 3-game winning streak, they will try to tie a season record with four straight W’s at Philadelphia – easier said than done.
Last week the club lost Ales Hemsky, who’s out indefinitely with a shoulder injury and a day later Taylor Hall went down with a high ankle sprain which resulted from a fight vs. Derek Dorsett. Many fans are probably wondering with 16 games left to go is there anything worth watching? Oh there is.
There are these kids named Jordan, Magnus & Linus – they’re pretty great, they can shoot, pass & score. But we already knew that. There’s much more than Oil Country’s blue-chip prospects development to look for, what about the other guys?
Alexandre Giroux played his first regular season game in Oiler uniform last night and potted a nice goal with a perfect deflection top corner. This guy has a story to tell. Drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1999 in the seventh round, 213 overall after scoring only 15 goals in his first year in juniors – he exploded the next season potting 52. This is when he let it be known he was a shoot first attacker.
He bounced around, getting traded twice – playing 1 NHL game with the Rangers, 30 with the Capitals, and now 1 with the Oilers all in between an AHL career that see’s him tied for 17th all-time in AHL goals scored with 308.
This may be his last chance to show the NHL what he has to offer. He’s taken a step back this season in Oklahoma scoring 29 goals this season as opposed to 60 and 50 in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons respectively. The one goal last night is good start, but it’s going to take a substantial amount of offensive production for the Oilers or any NHL club to give him another contract next season.
There are a few forwards that are playing for jobs next season. Ryan Jones, Andrew Cogliano andLiam Reddox are no sure fire guarantee’s to be back next season – unless your name is Ryan Jones. Liam & Andrew are both impending RFA’s but it’s no guarantee they will be qualified.
Liam Reddox has zero goals but he’s set up some beauties – one ending up on Andrew Cogliano’s stick last night. Andrew has picked up the slack in the second half of the year, but will it be enough for the Oilers to extend his contract?
Ryan Jones has been a fan favourite all year; the Oilers didn’t budge at the deadline – where presumably interest was expressed in Ryan by other NHL teams because of his cheap expiring contract. All signs point to a new contract for Ryan with the Oilers but will his price be too rich – Curtis Glencross?
It’s too bad that we won’t see Taylor till September but there’s still a bit of hockey to go. The games may not be very important to us, but for players fighting for their careers the battle continues. The show must go on in Oil Country.