Rockin' Like a Hurricane

It’s Edmonton Versus Carolina. Deja vu anyone?

OLN (Outdoor Life Network) no longer the channel name.

And, HockeyTradeRumors.com’s coverage of the Entry Draft.I will admit it, once again, I have been completely wrong about Dwayne Roloson. I recall my 2006 Playoffs Preview column where I said I would rather take Manny Legace over Rolly. Oooooff! Was I way off on that one or what?

Roloson has definitely proved me wrong, and the many others, but people had reason to make such conclusions. This guy was never a regular starter and Manny Fernandez earned the starting job in Minnesota.

But other than that, does this not feel like deja vu? Year 2004? Western Canadian team against Southeastern US team? Eight seed team against…well, not first seeded team, but #2. Similar to the situation of the Flames vs. Lightning series. Amazing how the Oilers remind me of the 2004 Flames.

And, here is a flashback on January 28th 2006 I said this about the Oilers:

“Honestly, I bet that only two people, probably the few Flames fans we have on HTR, guessed that in 2004, the Flames would be a Cup Finalist. How about I make that statement for the Edmonton Oilers? I am betting two parts of this though because it depends what GM Lowe decides to do. My original bet is that it will be a Flames vs. Senators Stanley Cup Final, and I’ll gladly enjoy watching two great Canadian teams win the original Canadian Trophy. However, my second bet depends on Lowe addressing his goaltending needs.

Ever since they acquired Mike Peca and Chris Pronger, I put the Oilers as a tough playoff team to beat. And yes, they will be a tough playoff team to beat with those two guys. Two thumbs up for GM Lowe on acquiring Dick Tarnstrom for a utility defenseman in Cory Cross and an expandable forward, Jani Rita, who I like as a player and should develop well with the Pens. Still, Tarnstrom is an offensive weapon on the blueline and now the Oilers have a PP that scares the opposition.

Also, Jaroslav Spacek was a great pick up by the Oilers as the Blackhawks are starting to make roster changes after a poorly managed season.

The Oilers sacrificed a bit defensively by acquiring two defensemen that are not so steady on the D, but they can do the job. Yet, they add more offense. So the Oilers may decide to acquire an extra forward, but their playoff success starts from the net and crease. Jussi Markkanen and Morrison have been solid goalies, but can’t have them playing in the playoffs.

Forget the idea that the Oilers could trade for Eddie Belfour, that guy is not going anywhere with his salary. I think Edmonton has two targets for goaltending. One, Dwayne Roloson, and two, Curtis Joseph. Both are proven goalies that are financially affordable, and both have succeeded well in the playoffs. I think Jospeh would be the best deal since he is actually cheaper, but I can see him become a Trade Deadline Day acquisition. Roloson would also be a key deal. While both of them do not ensure a Cup Finals spot, they absolutely make the Oilers a scary team to play against in the playoffs.

This is a playoff team. It does not matter where they finish between 1st and 8th, they’ll show up in the playoffs. So, depending on the goalie that Lowe acquires, Biron could still be a possibility, the Oilers could become the Flames of 2004.”

http://www.hockeytraderumors.com/article6130.html

Now, I am not going to brag since I still had my doubts on the Roloson trade as he wasn’t the starter for the Wild in March. But nonetheless, the Oilers were always a choice to make the Finals.

Right now, they are a complete playoff team package with goaltending, defense, and offense. They play physical. Yes, having time off may have an impact on the Oilers, but they badly needed some rest anyway. Better to need one game to get things going instead of running out of gas were the team lacks energy to play the rest of the series.

So that brings me to say that the Hurricanes have played a very tough series against the Sabres. I personally believe the Sabres were more deserving to win. Not only were they a young team, but an injured young team that pushed it to a Game 7. Only goes to show what a great coach Lindy Ruff is. And speaking of Lindy Ruff, what was up with Rod Brind’Amour making a stupid comment on the ice right after the game? He mentioned the Sabres were a great team, but an unfortunate one with a coach that talks too much and takes away the spotlight from the players.

Game 7, great series…and you criticize the coach that made his team be a GREAT team? I’ve always considered Brindy a class act, but this one was just rude. Sure, Ruff can be a loud mouth off the ice, but not like Laviolette never said anything agains the Sabres either.

So, Cam Ward is the story coming out of the East. This guy was so unimpressive during the season that I thought he should have been sent back to the minors to get more time. After all, Gerber got them there in the first place! One thing that the Canadiens, Devils, and Sabres did not do aganst Cam Ward, create traffic! The guy is young, he’s a rookie…. Edmonton has to nag him with Ryan Smyth. Charge the net. Cam Ward is showing a lot of greatness, but I must say he lets in some juicy rebounds that his defense clears. That would be a way to throw off Cam Ward and he’s still a young rookie. He is in the Stanley Cup Finals. He will be in a much louder atmosphere when playing in Edmonton. His confidence could be as strong as Achilles, which means it’s easy to break.

Yet, Carolina remains in game shape and just takes a few days off, much needed as well. The way to beat the Oilers would be two ways. One, START FAST! Put Brind’Amour on the first shift, win the face-off, dump and chase and start hitting. Two, slow pace. The Oilers would most likely have the same plan to start an up tempo game with aggressive play, and the Canes may want to slow down the Oilers. The drawbacks. For way #1, Oilers may actually take some time to get their legs and feet going, and if the Canes start hitting, it may attract the Oilers to respond at the same level, which may result in finding their game rather quickly. For way #2, Carolina is on home ice. Maybe starting the game slow paced may shut down Carolina’s own momemtum.

This will be a tough series and it could go two ways. One, it will finish rather quickly. Two, Game 7. I’m going with Game 7 like the Flames vs. Lightning series of 2004. And the Stanley Cup winnner? Well…..you all know who I am rooting for, but as I said earlier, this is deja vu (hint hint).

As many of you know, I have praised OLN’s coverage on the NHL. Sure, ESPN was national, it was basic cable, unlike OLN where you have to purchase, but it was just horrid. I remember those idiotic NHL-2-Nite scheduled times (1am et) that gave hockey so little coverage. I remember when as soon as a game was over, Gary Thorne had to say those quick conclusions because it would get cut. Just horrible. So, I am thankful OLN has done a great job. Sure, it had a shaky start and throughout the season it was just “okay”, but it definitely got better.

All you hockey fans living in the US, how many times did you get hockey programming one hour before and one hour after a game? I mentioned Legends of Hockey before, and so far I recorded 11 hours of it. So, congratulations to OLN, it has done a good job.

Of course, changes are to be made, for the better. It will no longer be the “NHL on OLN”. It will be the “NHL on VERSUS”, the new name for OLN. That’s a corny name for a channel, but it is a good term for sports. OLN/VERSUS actually has some cool stuff to watch, like the DAKAR rally and dog sled races. Pretty neat. So, if you don’t get OLN, I recommend you get it for next season. It appears to me it is a station that really wants to dedicate itself to hockey programming.

So, the Entry Draft will be on the day of my birthday. June 24! Glen Sather and Mike Keenan better give me some good gifts by the 24th. And, I’ll be 24 years old. Amazing, I came on HTR when I was…..I think 18, just as a member. Time flies, eh?

This year’s Entry draft could quite be the busy one. It is not expected to have the same elite talent as the one with Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin. But, it’s quite talented.

Anyway, HTR wants to give good draft coverage to all of you. We’ll run it like last year with an article posted acting as an “activated thread”, and we’ll keep it updated. Also, HTR.com is proud to have John Wigby (aka simplyhabby) to give very good coverage on the draftees. He follows CHL quite closely and will give you the good information. Also, I’ll try to work something out with McKeen’sHockey.com again. We want this to be THE place for you to get the most updated draft coverage online. So stick around!

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni

Vice-Administrator