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Monday, January 5, 2009

Restore my Faith, Oilers!

Here is Mr. Clutch himself, Jordan Eberle.

At a time when I thought I had lost faith in hockey... the World Juniors and Oilers came to my rescue.

The Canadians were trailing and with seconds remaining, Oilers draft pick Jordan Eberle tied the game. Better yet, he scored in the shootout, setting up Jonathan Tavares for the win, sending the Canadians to the Gold Medal Game. This was just one game after he'd played the role of the hero against the United States.

And that was just the start of a great Saturday night of hockey.

Just when I thought I had lost faith in the Oilers' ability to lock down a lead and play a full 60 minutes, they won handily against the Dallas Stars. The Oilers may have been out shot but they clearly outplayed the Dallas Stars in that game.

Tonight the Oilers face another not-so-formidable foe in the NY Islanders and hopefully they continue playing like the team we expect them to be.

Then maybe, just maybe, we won't be inheriting Jordan Eberle as a player that will help the team - but rather, Jordan Eberle will be inheriting a team that will help him as a player.

Prediction: Oilers 6 Islanders 2


The Forgotten Oiler Draft Picks

In case you were still steaming about Riley Nash not making the loaded Team Canada squad, consider this: are there any other Oilers picks that have made the WJC roster for another country?

Jordan Eberle may be the national hero right now but how about Milan Kytnar and Teemu Hartikainen?

Oiler Nation better not forget about them.

Hartikainen was tied for 6th in tournament scoring on a so-so Finnish team, which managed to outscore their opponents 20-14 during the tournament, thanks in part to a 7-1 rout of the tournament whipping boy Team Kazakhstan.

There's no way of telling how many times Teemu was on the ice for goals against, but for the goals for column, you take out Hartikainen and his team leading 9 points and Finland is now trailing their opponents 14-11 instead. This should tell Oiler fans how much Teemu Hartikainen has improved and what to expect when he shows up for rookie camp this off season or training camp in September.

Kytnar is the forgotten son of Oil Country, playing on the surprising Slovaks (who lost to Russia today) which feature only 4 North American players (of which Kytar is one). Kytnar is one of only 7 Slovak players not coming out of the club team Orange 20 Puchov, which seems to be the club of choice for putting out national team players for the WJC tournament.

Certainly, Teemu Hartikainen is no Jordan Eberle, but he's not that bad and may turn out to be better than initial scouting reports may have indicated. It will great to see him at next year's Oilers vs. Golden Bears.

Furthermore, Teemu Hartikainen and Jordan Eberle are neither of them good enough to lay claim to being major leagues sports' next Michael Jordan - because that claim belongs to 6-1, 185 lb defenseman Michal Jordan of the Czech Republic, a draft pick of Carolina in last years entry draft.

He truly is major leagues sports' next Michael Jordan.

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