Cup dreams in September? Not a chance, says Edmonton Oilers

Article content

So, do you think the Edmonton Oilers will open the Stanley Cup Final at home or on the road?

Ad 2

Article content

With fans continuing to culminate in the Edmonton Oilers’ best season since 2006, and seeing some players signed in the summer, it’s tempting to step one yourself up.

Article content

The bold predictions of Stanley Cup windows and opponent status before the disc even drops into pre-season are great for long-suffering fans, as long as those sentiments don’t make their way into the locker room.

Article content

By all accounts, that didn’t happen. In fact, the Oilers are pumping the brakes on everything to look forward to another trip to the Western Conference final and beyond.

Starting at the top.

“I told the players that there are 32 teams in the league who are having meetings today and they have high hopes and high expectations,” general manager Ken Holland said of his address to the team before the start of the training camp.

Advertising 3

Article content

“Last year is history. It means nothing. You have to go back to the playoffs.”

If Holland knows anything from their experience in Detroit, it is that this season will be tougher than last year, not easier.

“The teams will be ready for us,” he said. “They saw us play in the quarter-finals. They will be ready. I expect it will be a real battle in the West for the playoffs. Last year is history.

“(The big talk) might get the fan base excited, but you have to say it again. Good shows do it year after year after year after year.”

The heart of this team has done it twice in the past six years, and learned a very valuable and painful lesson about taking anything for granted.

“I remember that summer (2017) personally,” said advocate Darnell Nurse. “Everyone was talking about how good a team we were, and we were going to be competitive. That’s not the way the sport works. You have to earn that. We didn’t win it at all.”

Advertising 4

Article content

no they did not. They missed the playoffs two years in a row and then dropped out in the first round two years later.

This time, there is a steely insistence to prove that it was no accident.

“We should have a chip on our shoulder,” said a nurse. “It was great to get to the Western Conference final, but there was only one winner last year and we were in the group of losers. To reach that ultimate goal, it will take a lot more work than we put in last year.”

The return of Evander Kane and the signing of goalkeeper Jack Campbell leads many to believe the Oilers are stronger than they were last year, but that is not the case at all.

Last year’s team went deep into three rounds. This year’s team hasn’t even won a pre-season game yet.

“You can definitely look at it on paper and say we’re a better team now than we were at the end of last year,” said a nurse.

Advertising 5

Article content

“But this is a paper. The real test comes when the disc falls on opening night.”

Case closed

Kane reached a multi-million dollar wrongful dismissal lawsuit with the San Jose Sharks, who terminated his contract in January for violating COVID-19 protocol while playing with an AHL affiliate.

He still owed $19 million over the last three years. Since he would earn $16.5 million over the next three years with Edmonton, he could prove $2.5 million in lost salaries. He also lost some of his $7 million salary last year when they closed his deal in January.

He joked that the story would make TV well: “I’m glad it’s over and done.” “I won’t get into it much. It will probably be in the Netflix doc when I’m done.”

Advertising 6

Article content

Talk about contracts

Oilers RFA Ryan McLeod, who has been waiting for a new deal all summer, is expected to be on the ice to start camp on Thursday.

“He’s taken checks and I’ve spoken to his agent, I hope we can find a solution on the contract,” said Holland, who was unable to find a place under the hood to get a deal done. “Obviously he was impatient.”

The hope was that Oilers would exchange some salary and make way for the 23-year-old center to sign a two- or three-year deal, but that didn’t happen.

“Now we’re at the point where we’re probably looking at a one-year deal. I love him a lot. I think he’s a top nine striker. I see him growing into an important player for us in the top six. But in the end we are where we are with the limit.” maximum”.

Cookies are still out

Defenseman Slater Koekkoek, who missed last season while tackling personal issues, is not in camp. His agent asked the Netherlands to release the following statement:

“Slater will be away from the team as he continues to work on his mental health. He will work with the unique goal of returning to the Oilers team with the best mindset and tools he needs to make a successful comeback.”

[email protected]

Ad 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining an active and civil forum for discussion and encouraging all readers to share their opinions on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before they appear on the Site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, if there’s an update to a comment thread you’re following or if it’s a comment follower user. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: