So the 2nd part of the Oil Change series on TSN was aired tonight, with some REALLY good stuff in it. Here’s a summary of it all. And by summary I mean, get your reading glasses on, grandma.
First a few quick hits:
- Quinn’s honesty was probably taken for granted by a reporter interviewing that asked him flat out if his “promotion” really was a promotion. Quinn was visibily upset about it, as we know, and said no that he doesn’t see it as a promotion and was looking forward to coaching. What’s Quinn doing these days, anyways?
- Oilers did try for Malhotra, but Malhotra didn’t want to go through a rebuild.
- Sounds like the Oilers tried to land a certain enforcer for a 3-year deal, but it didn’t work out. Lowe mentioned interest in Georges Laraque.. Renney didn’t seem interested at all at first and warmed up to it after Lowe spoke well of Big Georges. However Renney said he “likes the idea of Mac (i.e. Steve MacIntyre)”
- Kurtis Foster was a player the Oilers really had interest in and were happy to get. There was a bit of joking in the board room when Pierre McGuire gushed about how well the Oilers were doing with their moves and that Calgary should be worried.
- Before the draft, Katz says to Tambellini “Hemmer’s been watching and he wonder’s what’s going on” (I think he meant he wanted to know who we were drafting, but the Oil weren’t telling ANYONE… even the players). Stu MacGregor made the call pretty last minute. Well.. he revealed his pick last minute, but really he said aside from the Ivan Hlinka where Seguin looked good, he was pretty much Hall all the way. Katz even joked that he had no idea what the draft list for the Oilers was. Katz seems like a bit of a weirdo to me at times, but he’s actually a pretty funny guy.
And now on to the juicier bits…
Stu MacGregor listed 7 guys that “you would trade in to get” (i.e. you’d want to do your best to trade a chance to pick for): Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Johansen, Erik Gudbranson, Cam Fowler, Dylan McIlrath, and Jack Campbell. Jeff Skinner was also mentioned. The Oilers definitely had big interest in Ryan Johansen. This was the guy that everyone was trying to guess who MacGregor meant when he talked about a dark horse who said he would be an NHLer by 19 and that the Oilers were desperate to acquire another pick for. They loved his abilities and loved his size and said that if he had another month to play last year, he would be as high as #2 overall.
The Oil called every team with a 1st round pick and pushed for an extra pick. They really pushed for one in the 12-15 range. However, the guys teams were interested in for top 1st round picks were guys like Eberle, and the Oilers weren’t doing it (thank god).
In the second round of the draft, there was a bit of an argument between a few of the scouts, including MacGregor. MacGregor noted that the team needed defensemen. The other scouts argued that Tyler Pitlick was a must have that they couldn’t pass up on. They were trying to make a choice between drafting by need (defensemen) in Martin Marincin and drafting the best player available in Tyler Pitlick. They cited that there was no possible way that the two players would be available for them at both of their 2nd round picks and were making a choice. Needless to say, they were floored when they successfully drafted both players. As we know now, the Oilers settled on drafting who they felt was the best player available (Pitlick) with the 31st overall pick, and then drafted Marincin with their second 2nd round pick (46th overall). Tambellini and MacGregor were later seen emphatically laughing about being able to draft all 3 guys they wanted that were projectable at those spots.
The Oilers targetted a lot of teams for a Souray deal. It sounded like they had a deal with another team worked out that required a 3rd party (i.e., possibly the Oilers were willing to take on a player from said team and this 3rd team would take on Souray, by the sounds of it). It sounded like Dallas and Tampa were targetted as the 3rd team. The deal fell through, however.
Midway through the show, they focused on Tom Renney and the rookie camp. I thought it was cool to watch, but it won’t be for everyone. But it was cool to see how he expresses himself and how well he interacts with the young players, keeping things light, but very professional.
The New Arena Proposal
The next part was about the proposed new arena and Katz’s struggle. What I found interesting is that we all heard a quote from Katz in which it sounded like he implied the Oilers would move if we didn’t have a new arena here soon. This prompted an exchange between city councillor Tony Caterina and John Karvellas, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Katz Group.
TC: “In my mind, you’re telling me if you don’t get what you want, the team’s not staying”
JK: “I would never say such a thing.”
TC: “But you will imply, that unless..”
JK: “I will not imply it either.”
Racki’s translation: “We didn’t say we were moving the team, dipshit.”
The show then cuts to Nikolai Khabibulin and his extreme DUI case. Steve Tambellini mentioned that Nick made a mistake, and he is more interested in how he handles it now. He also quoted Jason Strudwick as saying, when Khabibulin got hurt last year, that “that was one of the best teammates that I’ve ever sat beside in my career.” Lowe mentioned Khabibulin’s resiliency and strengths and that he was “remorseful and wants to turn this into a good thing.”
Souray and “the Rift”
Back to Souray again… and talk is about Souray being banned from training camp. Lowe said “Steve was given a mandate (perhaps by Katz) to change the culture. If we were going to eliminate the culture that existed in the dressing room last year and the previous years then he to delete some of the people that were creating the culture that we didn’t want to have there.” Boom. There it is. Admission that there were issues in the locker room, and what I would say is an indication that Souray was part of it.
In the next part of the show, Renney addressed the group of players invited to the main camp. In it he spoke about how everyone there deserved to be there, and also spoke briefly on what I can presume was about the locker room rift of previous years. The Oilers clearly have expunged any form of poison in that locker room. “The days of a poisonous environment are gone. A good attitude is sort of an overnight guest from what I could gather last year. And from now on (tapping on his heart) it’s in for a long term stay,” said Renney to the group.
They then showed the actual on ice portion (and some off ice) of the training camp. Not much to talk about here. They show Renney and Tambellini breaking the news to Brandon Davidson that he’ll be going back to junior and talk about what he can work on.
The show then cuts over to the exhibition games. In the re-match vs. Vancouver where the Oil thumped the Canucks 8-2, they show a mic’d up Shawn Horcoff on the bench talking to Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. “If we get a 2 on 1, who’s shootin’ it?” quips Horcoff. Eberle responds “well, probably, might be you.” This draws a laugh from Horcoff. Horcoff says “let’s make this, whoever has the puck, inside the top of the circles (laughs)… no we all pass it.. I’m going to pass it for sure.” The vieo cuts to Hall chipping it up the boards after a hit up to Horcoff, who skates down the wing and passes across to Eberle, who buries it. Talk about calling a goal ahead of time.
After the commercial break, they show one of the exhibition games between the Oilers and Flames, in Calgary. They show Ben Ondrus and Mark Giordano going hard for a dump in with Andrew Cogliano right behind. Giordano and Ondrus bump hard. Girodano drives Ondrus into the boards. Glove, stick, and glass all meet Ondrus’ face upon contact, and he’s cut and shaken up. As he skates off, you can hear Renney yell that he’s hurt and coming off. Peckham then yells from the bench “you keep your fucking head up!” at a couple of Flames heading to the bench on that shift. I couldn’t see the first one (presume it was Giordano). The other was Stefan Myer. Myer turns back and points back and yells “shut the fuck up!”. Jones then stands up from the middle of the bench and yells at Myers to “sit the fuck down!”. Oh the Battle of Alberta.
I guess one of the officials took exception to all of this, as at the end of this he came over to scold the Oilers, saying “that’s a good hit. Shoulder to shoulder. If you think it’s a bad call, say that. Don’t curse my integrity.” In the intermission, Renney gave the team shit for disrespecting the ref, saying that the players need to do their job and let the ref do theirs. Stating that while there are plenty of times in his career he’s wanted to flip on a ref, “beaking off” at the refs will only bite them in the ass. He states that they need to motivate each and push each other, basically saying that they’re focusing on the wrong part of the game. Good on him.
The final part is about Horcoff becoming captain. Lowe, Renney and Tambellini all had glowing words for Horcoff. They showed Horcoff driving down the road in his car talking to the cameraman. He mentioned that he and the Oilers want this team to be an “open slate” where everyone can talk, and everyone’s opinion is equal. This is huge… as from an interview I heard between Horcoff and Gregor earlier, it sounds like Horcoff was saying that the rookies were too scared or unable to speak up last year.
And now the video….