So, thanks to the girlfriend (Oilrsgrl77 for those that know her here or from the Oilers Message Board), I got to go to a special event for seasons ticket holders at Rexall today. The first part was a “meet and greet” where you could go around taking pictures with all the players. The 2nd part (which I enjoyed the most) was a Q&A between Jack Michaels and Steve Tambellini and Patrick LaForge. The two Oil brass were asked fan submitted questions.
Much to my surprise, the questions weren’t too bad. I submitted one (or OG77 did on my behalf) and it got asked/answered (I asked what ST and the Oilers can do to ensure that the Barons thrive while still making hockey in Edmonton interesting). To be honest, the answered seemed a bit roundabout, but I wasn’t expecting anything too mind blowing. Basically he stressed that the important thing is to ensure the players develop properly, more than anything.. and also said he was pretty impressed that the Barons were sitting in 3rd and playing so well right now, despite the call ups.
The other good question everyone asked… or maybe I should say demanded .. was in regards to the Ryan Jones re-signing. Tambi skirted that one a bit too. First he started off by indicating that he brings exactly what they looked for this year.. a team player… a guy that can move up and down the lineup, taking various roles. Then he mentioned that Jones has earned the right to go to free agency, but they’ve made him an offer, and basically they’ll see how things go.
Before the questions were asked, LaForge gave a short presentation on the arena, which was pretty interesting to me. They figure it will be an 18,400 seat arena. Improvements will be things such as leg room, cup holders (which, oddly, drew applause), and wide hallways where the food and washrooms and such are (which again drew applause). They showed some concept art, which might have been put out there before, but it was cool to see.
I think there was a lot of focus on the rebuild. Tambellini fielded a question about the rebuild. I forget how it started. I seem to recall some talk about other teams’ not having the patience to go through a rebuild (Vancouver being one). Tambo went on to mention that there is a plan there and the tough part is having the patience to stick to the plan. Quite frankly, the plan isn’t very obvious to us fans, nor CAN it be. So we just kind of have to take his word for it. It’s hard at times, but I do get what he’s saying. Like I said once before, GMs think 5 or more years ahead, while us fans think maybe 1 year ahead, tops.
They also showed a video (which I’d imagine will hit the air publicly later) in which they interviewed several GMs such as Philly’s Phil Holmgren, Detroit’s Ken Holland, and others and asked them what they thought about the Oilers’ rebuild. They spoke pretty highly about the Oilers rebuild, saying we had good building blocks here, and such. I recored it on my phone, but it’s pretty faint to hear. All I’ll say is that other GMs seem to think we have a good thing going here.
Finally, they closed it up with a practice in which Renney was mic’d up and explaining what was going on. It was alright, but I didn’t stick around long. My sister was with me and like she said “I’d rather watch (her son) play hockey” (to which I agreed). It was probably something that would be a lot more interesting to younger folks or people new to hockey though (aka those that haven’t been through several hockey practices in their lifetime).