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Emotional night for Oilers as Ryan Smyth plays last game in Edmonton

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By Nick Stoico

It was a very emotional night in Edmonton, Alberta.

After announcing his retirement from the NHL on Friday, Edmonton Oilers captain Ryan Smyth played the final game of his 20-season NHL career on Saturday. Smyth received a standing ovation for the entirety of his final shift at the end of the Oilers’ 5-2 win over the Canucks.

Emotions got the best of Smyth while he was on the bench before stepping on the NHL ice for his last shift. Following the game, Smyth made his way around the rink waving to fans and shook hands with each coach and player on the Vancouver Canucks, as well as the game officials.

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  • Published On Apr 13, 2014
  • Watch: Oilers’ Sam Gagner ties game late before winning it in shootout

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    Sam Gagner basked in the spotlight Friday night as his late game heroics turned the Oilers around from a one-goal deficit with a minute to go in regulation into a shootout win over the Coyotes. Gagner netted both the tying goal as well as showing off some crafty moves in the shootout to seal it up.

    Oilers winger Jordan Eberle should not go unnoticed as he played a critical role in coordinating the game-tying goal with 41 seconds remaining in the third period. With Edmonton netminder Ben Scrivens on the bench, Edmonton got the puck deep in the offensive zone behind the net. Phoenix goaltender Thomas Greiss made a costly error as he played the puck in the trapezoid only to have Eberle come around and pick his pocket with hardly any difficulty. Eberle got the puck out in front of the net for Gagner to put it away. Eberle was awarded the first star of the game afterward.

    A winner could not be produced in overtime and both Scrivens and Greiss shutout the first three shooters in the skills competition. In perhaps one of the more exciting shootouts of the season, Scrivens turned aside Oliver Ekman-Larsson who had a goal and an assist on the night.

    Gagner redefined the cliche of dangling a goalie of their pads as he showed off a little back hand toe-drag to get by Greiss. Greiss didn’t know which way to go and may have looked more helpless than when he was robbed by Eberle behind his own net a few minutes earlier.

    Below is Greiss’ fumble that sent the game into overtime:


  • Published On Apr 05, 2014
  • GIF: Oilers fan throws jersey on the ice during blowout, Scrivens throws it back

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    Scrivens jersey throw

    By Mike McMahon

    It’s tough to be an Oilers fan, and Saturday’s game did nothing to brighten the mood.

    In the midst of an 8-1 shellacking by the Calgary Flames on home ice, one fan had enough and decided to no longer been seen in an Edmonton sweater, throwing it onto the ice. Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens, who had come on in relief of Viktor Fasth, tossed it back into the stands and later told Sportsnet, “You’re a fan, you get to say and do whatever you want. Call me whatever name you want. But when it comes to that logo, that’s a sacred thing for us and it’s disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way.”

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  • Published On Mar 23, 2014
  • SI.com NHL fan misery rankings: No. 5 Edmonton Oilers

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    Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers

    Nail Yakupov was supposed to help lead the Oilers back to the playoffs, but he may be leaving instead. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Sometimes it’s just plain awful to be a fan.

    We’re not talking about the occasional emotional bump and bruise, the kind fans get from a devastating last-second loss or a disastrous season-ending injury — or even when they watch their favorite team bow out in the conference finals, one round shy of a shot at the Stanley Cup. We mean years of suffering at the hands of a club that almost seems to delight in tormenting those who freely give to it their hearts, minds, time and money.

    This is the sixth in our series on the 10 NHL franchises that take an ongoing toll on their fans, the teams that suggest that their devoted followers are either bottomless wells of hope or certified masochists — or perhaps just a touch crazy. Today we look at the Edmonton Oilers, the once proud dynasty of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr that steadily devolved into a perennial loser whose draft-day hauls prompt visions of glory while managerial incompetence dooms it to yet another playoff DNQ.

    TEAM 10: Winnipeg Jets | 9: Dallas Stars | 8: Columbus Blue Jackets | 7: Vancouver Canucks
    6:
    Florida Panthers | 4: Washington Capitals | 3. Buffalo Sabres | 2: New York Islanders
    1. Toronto Maple Leafs

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  • Published On Mar 14, 2014
  • Jordan Nolan suspended one game for throwing sucker punch at Jesse Joensuu

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    It was a busy night for the penalty box in the Kings-Oilers game. (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

    It was a busy night in the penalty boxes as the Kings and Oilers mixed it up. (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

    By Darian Somers

    The NHL announced on Monday that the Kings forward Jordan Nolan has been suspended for one game due to his sucker punch of Edmonton’s Jesse Joensuu in just one of the heated incidents that broke out during Sunday night’s game.

    After a scrum in front of the Kings’ net, Nolan and Joensuu scuffled in what appeared to be a common post-whistle exchange. Then, out of nowhere, as officials began to separate the group, Nolan threw a cheap shot at Joensuu — a punch in the face while the Oiler winger wasn’t looking, then tried to throw two more hits before he was stopped. Nolan was assessed a double-minor for roughing and Joensuu was given two for cross-checking Nolan.

    Jordan Nolan punches Jesse Joensuu (GIF by Darian Somers)

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  • Published On Mar 09, 2014
  • Sam Gagner trade talks cool between Kings and Oilers

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    Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers

    Oilers center Sam Gagner may now be bound for the Nashville Predators. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The Kings have established themselves as one of the toughest, stingiest teams in the league, but with just 12 goals in their last 10 games, they have a pretty clearly defined need heading into the March 5 trade deadline.

    Prior to the Olympic break, it seemed as though they’d found a potential partner in the Oilers, a team that was willing to deal skilled center Sam Gagner for a package of young talent.

    But a report out of Los Angeles suggests that the Kings’ ardor for Gagner, a former first rounder, has cooled. “Things always have a way of changing, but it now appears doubtful that the Kings will resume their pursuit of Gagner,” Lisa Dillman writes.

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  • Published On Feb 18, 2014
  • Edmonton to break ground on new oil drop-styled arena in March

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    By Tim Newcomb

    The shovels will soon start flipping dirt in Edmonton after city officials announced Feb. 11 a March date for the start of construction on a distinctive new arena for the Oilers, a building that is designed to mimic the look of a drop of oil.

    Fitting for all of Alberta, no?

    Scott Ralston, a designer for 360 Architecture, says that while he was struck by the natural beauty of Alberta and the speed and thrill of hockey, “you can’t ignore the presence of oil.” So he didn’t when he started designing team owner Daryl Katz a new home for the NHL team.

    The 20,500-seat arena spills out beyond the seating area to include a “winter garden,” a multi-use climate-controlled public space outside that connects the new $480 million venue paid for by public and private funds to a new light rail terminal, a community rink, and local business opportunities. New renderings of the arena were unveiled, giving us “final designs” and updates on the old look (see below).

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  • Published On Feb 12, 2014
  • Predators add Devan Dubnyk in trade; Oilers obtain Ben Scrivens

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    Goaltender Ben Scrivens of the Los Angeles Kings was traded to the Edmonton Oilers.

    Early season star Ben Scrivens must now duplicate his performance behind the Oilers’ much weaker defense. (AP)

    By Allan Muir

    The update on the health of goaltender Pekka Rinne issued by the Predators last week may have sounded rosy on the surface, but anyone who read between the lines could have surmised that there is a very real chance the All-Star stopper won’t be back this season.

    The team finally handled up on that grim possibility today. Recognizing that their playoff chances were slipping away, and that they weren’t going to climb back into the race with a pair of rookies between the pipes, the Preds sent veteran forward Matt Hendricks to the Oilers in exchange for goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

    Dubnyk began the season as Edmonton’s No. 1 goalie, but lost whatever tenuous hold he had on the job when the team picked up Ilya Bryzgalov in November. That he hasn’t been able to reclaim it while Bryz has gone 3-7-2 with a 3.27 GAA and .902 save percentage illustrates how fully Dubnyk had lost the faith of the Oilers’ coaching staff. And it shows just how little it took to upgrade Nashville’s current situation, where Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec weren’t getting it done.

    Getting out of Edmonton might be the best thing to happen to the former first rounder (14th overall, 2004). He won’t make anyone forget Rinne, but playing behind a more structured defense than he has during the past few years gives him a chance to create some impression of value before he heads to unrestricted free agency this summer.

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  • Published On Jan 15, 2014
  • Edmonton Oilers recall goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from AHL Oklahoma City

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    By Michael Blinn

    The Edmonton Oilers made it officially official on Sunday, recalling goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.

    It’s been a rough few months for the embattled net minder, who was bought out by the Flyers in the offseason, was unable to catch on with a team in training camp and spent a short stint practicing in the ECHL before the Oilers problems forced them to add ‘Bryz.’

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  • Published On Nov 17, 2013
  • Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov signs with Edmonton Oilers

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    During his ten years in the NHL, Ilya Bryzgalov has played for the Ducks, Coyotes and Flyers. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    During his ten years in the NHL, Ilya Bryzgalov has played for the Ducks, Coyotes and Flyers. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s official: Ilya Bryzgalov is coming in from — and into — the cold.

    The Edmonton Oilers agreed to terms with the colorful free agent goaltender on Friday night. Terms weren’t announced, but multiple sources say it is a one-year note worth a pro-rated $3 million. If that’s the case, it’s a low-risk deal that makes sense for a team whose situation between the pipes almost certainly can’t get any worse.

    Edmonton, currently in last place in the NHL’s Western Conference, has allowed a league-high 66 goals this season with Devan Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera and Richard Bachman between the pipes. Dubnyk will stay on board to challenge Bryzgalov for ice time.

    Bryzgalov went 19-17-3 with a 2.79 GAA and .900 save percentage last season for the Flyers, but the team decided he was an ill-fitting part and bought out of the final seven years of his nine-year, $51 million contract over the summer.

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  • Published On Nov 08, 2013


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