The Most Important Words to Come Out of Training Camp So Far

I'm not ignorant to the fact that there are a number of writers, bloggers, fans and you name its writing tidbits about every inch of the first three days of training camp thus far. I find, like them; that it's more entertaining to watch specific players as they show their stuff in a setting that allows them the opportunity to shine. Unfortunately, skill alone won't be the main element that allows some of these players to make this team.

The way Quinn has been public in his ideas of what will make this a successful team, leads me to believe we might see a few surprises when the final roster for the Edmonton Oilers is announced for October 3rd. It won't have much to do with the skill level of the players in that game, but how they demonstrated their ability to match that skill with an understanding of a few keys words that Pat Quinn made perfectly clear were important for this team.


It was immediately evident that Quinn, Renney, Fleming and Buchberger have a system they'd like the Oilers to play. One that involves getting the puck out of the defensive zone as quickly as possible, quick passes and possibly even quicker shots on net. A system that emphasizes the importance of puck retrieval and puck possession.

It's a new system for this team and one that some players admitted was the focus of their first couple days. They understood as the coaches do, that the players best able to showcase their skills within the confines of the system set before them will have the best chance to make the starting 23 man roster.


It is well understood that the coaches here, while not yet completely familiar with all the players and faces, know damn well what they have to work with. They've been surprised in a few cases, but reaffirmed in their belief that they won't necessarily have that superstar number one line that some teams do. A balance of scoring depth in the form of three, maybe even four balanced depth lines will be how the Oilers succeed.

They'll be looking to four or five 20 goal scorers over creating one or two 30 to 40 goal guys and the way they plan to sort this line-up of forwards will likely mean we aren't looking at creating a point a game type player. Not a big surprise to anyone since it's likely we don't have that level of skill on this roster anyways.


Much of the first two on ice days were spent looking at possible pairings for the season. Quinn is a firm believer in the "there's two guys you always remember" theory of line creation. The Gretzky/Kurri and the other guy line. Or the Messier/Anderson and the third man out there unit. They'll be spending some time trying to see which pairings make the most sense.

Thus far, it seems that Hemsky and Horcoff will be one and Gagner and Penner another, rotating the third man to find the best match for those pairings. It might be important for some of the players on the cusp of making this team to see how they can fit themselves into a pairing, instead of that 3rd man type role. After all, while you want to be flexible to the coaches; nobody wants to be that easy to move or replace on the line type player.

First Impressions

You never get a second chance to make a first impression isn't exactly true when you're at a tryout camp for the Edmonton Oilers in 2009. There are at least 5-6 players currently at camp that have a shot at working their way into the line-up if they can demonstrate their understanding of the above mentioned words Quinn has uttered frequently.

Players like Brule, Schremp, Potulny, Reddox, Eberle, Pouliot, Nilsson and others who are part of the constant debate as final cuts truly have a chance to make a strong case for their place on the Oilers roster. Proving they can be complimentary players in the system set out by the coaches, providing balance on any line and perhaps finding the right home with a player that makes you hard to cut, could be the secret to pushing them over that final hump.

More now than in a long time, I expect to see a few surprises announced when they introduce the starting lines for the first game of the year and that the team won't be made up of pure skill, but players who were able to think the game and understand the style and system of play better and faster than the rest.

There's a lot of new information being thrown around at camp and it will take fast learners to get this team off to a good start.


Post a Comment

More To Read