Tuesday, February 13, 2018


It’s no secret that when referring to the Edmonton Oilers in the 2017/18 season that their special teams units have been anything but special. Not so special would be more appropriate, or special for all the wrong reasons, or especially bad even.

After sitting through another loss I decided to crunch the numbers and delve a little deeper into just how bad these historically awful units have been. Inexplicably the Oilers are dead last on the PK at home whilst boasting the best road PK in the league. How can the same unit be so terrible at home while being rock solid on the road?

Let’s take a look a look into the numbers, broken down by division with home and road splits:


Home Games
Vs Pacific Division:
8 GP, 7 PPG on 25 PP = 72% PK
Vs Central Division:
8 GP, 12 PPG on 24 PP = 50% PK
Vs Atlantic Division:
7 GP, 14 PPG on 22 PP = 36% PK
Vs Metropolitan Division:
5* GP, 5 PPG on 13 PP = 61% PK *both NJ & WSH did not have a PP
28 GP, 38 PPG on 84 PP = 55% PK

Away Games
Vs Pacific Division:
7 GP, 3 PPG on 26 PP = 88% PK
Vs Central Division:
8 GP, 3 PPG on 30 PP = 90% PK
Vs Atlantic Division:
5 GP, 3 PPG on 12 PP = 75% PK
Vs Metropolitan Division:
7 GP, 3 PPG on 20 PP = 85% PK
27 GP, 12 PPG on 88 PP = 86% PK


Home Games
Vs Pacific Division:
8* GP, 3 PPG on 24 PP = 13% PP *all 3 came vs VGK
Vs Central Division:
8 GP. 2 PPG on 21 PP = 10% PP
Vs Atlantic Division:
7 GP, 3 PPG on 16 PP = 19% PP
Vs Metropolitan Division:
5 GP. 4 PPG on 19 PP = 21% PP
28 GP, 12 PPG on 80 PP = 15% PP

Away Games
Vs Pacific Division:
7 GP, 2 PPG on 20 PP = 10% PP
Vs Central Division:
8 GP, 3 PPG on 18 PP = 17% PP
Vs Atlantic Division:
5* GP, 2 PPG on 14 PP = 14% PP * both came @ MTL
Vs Metropolitan Division:
7 GP, 3 PPG on 15 PP = 20% PP
27 GP, 10 PPG on 67 PP = 15% PP

Firstly, thank heavens they only have to play one more home game against the Atlantic Division because they are lighting up the Oilers PK at an unprecedented rate.

Secondly, much smarter men than I will be tasked with fixing the broken Special Teams this offseason and whether that entails a new GM, HC or AC’s, remains to be seen, but things need to vastly improve for the Oilers to have a shot next season.

Thirdly, how a PP containing Connor McDavid & Leon Draisaitl is sitting in 30th place is completely unacceptable.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Thursday morning Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli finally pulled the trigger on the long speculated Jordan Eberle trade and to the shock of absolutely no one, Oilers fans went bonkers. During and after the playoff run message boards and social media were running rampant with vitriol for Eberle. They couldn't run him out of town fast enough, myself included. However where I differ from the rest is I didn't backtrack once the trade was consummated.

After the Oilers were eliminated in Game 7 of the 2nd round by the Anaheim Ducks, I decided that I was finally done with Jordan Eberle as an Edmonton Oiler. His playoff performance, or lack thereof, was the final nail in the coffin for me. How can a $6M player not score a single goal in his 1st playoff appearance? The reason he is a $6M man is because he is paid to put the puck into the net. If he doesn't do that then what good is he? The answer is not very good at all. There are other aspects of the game that a player can do when they aren't scoring to be productive. These aspects include: defensive responsibility, creating offence, physical presence and drawing penalties. Jordan Eberle did none of these things.

The most frustrating part of all this is that once he was demoted to the 3rd line, with Benoit Pouliot & Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, is that they were matched up against the bottom 6 forwards of the Ducks and they could not produce ANYTHING. Pouliot & Nugent-Hopkins aren't getting let off the hook because they needed to produce as well, however they did bring other dimensions to their game that were positive. Unfortunately during the biggest games in Eberle's Oilers career, he shrunk away when the games became tighter and the play became rougher.

I was willing to expose Eberle in the Expansion Draft and lose him for nothing just to get that $12M remaining on his contract off of the books. I was called crazy, among other things, from my friends and respected media members such as Jason Gregor and LoweTide. My reasoning was that it was more beneficial to lose his entire contract than have to take back a bad contract in a trade. The reality was that Eberle's value was at an all-time low and the fact that Chiarelli managed to trade him, without retaining any salary and only taking back Ryan Strome and his $2.5M contract before becoming an RFA next July, is no small feat.

Once the trade was reported, public opinion was "That's it?", "Chiarelli got fleeced by Snow again?", and "What a terrible trade!". To put it frankly, those people are misguided. Come the start of the 2018/2019 season, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are probably going to combine for $20M of the cap. There was zero room for Eberle. By Chiarelli acting now and not waiting until next summer when every GM would've seen him coming a mile away and would've bent him over a barrel so to speak is the smart play. To help swing the opinions of those still on the fence, not only is McDavid's contract up next July but so are the contracts of Maroon, Caggiula, Slepyshev, Strome, Letestu, Benning, Nurse & Brossoit. Of course by then, Fayne will be off the books too, but that is still a lot of contracts to get done and only so much of the salary cap to go around.

Eberle for Strome reminds me of the Oilers trades during the 1990's. The Oilers trade a skilled forward they can no longer afford for a bigger, younger, cheaper, lesser forward. Case in point: Jari Kurri for Scott Mellanby, Glenn Anderson for Vincent Damphousse, Vincent Damphousse for Shayne Corson, Shayne Corson for Mike Grier, Mark Messier for Bernie Nicholls, Bernie Nicholls for Zdeno Ciger, Bill Guerin for Anson Carter, Anson Carter for Mike York and so on. The difference here is that now the Oilers are doing it to conserve cap space for their superstars not because they can't afford their contracts.

I readily admit that Jordan Eberle is the better player right now and most likely when all is said and done, however this trade makes the Edmonton Oilers cap situation much better than it was before this trade. I will always remember his 1st NHL goal in his 1st NHL game when he scored that beautiful shorthanded off a rush to the net. I sincerely wish him the best of luck in New York, it's not personal, it's just business.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


As the final buzzer sounded, ending game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, I was shattered. An improbable, yet magical run ended in misery. I remember it vividly, I couldn't watch the presentation of the Stanley Cup to the Carolina Hurricanes, instead I excused myself from a basement full of people, went up to my room and let out some man-tears over the injustice of it all. Once the sadness subsided, I was hopeful that it was the start of a new era in Edmonton, an era that included many more trips to the Stanley Cup Final and ending up hoisting that bad boy led by our stud defenseman Chris Pronger...

Well I was right about a new era in Edmonton but I was sorely mistaken about the many more trips to the Stanley Cup Final part when Chris Pronger demanded a trade away from Edmonton due to family reasons (his wife hated the city despite unfounded rumors of his infidelity). Just like that, a mass exodus began. It should also be noted that because of this, Edmonton became a dirty word to free agents and those with No Trade Clauses. Yes, I am looking at you Michael Nylander & Dany Heatley!

What happened next was 10 seasons that can be accurately described as being simultaneously kicked in the groin, slapped in the face, given an atomic wedgie, being subjected to a swirlie and then a dog lifting his leg over your battered and embarrassed corpse...yes, it was THAT bad.

It is said that it is always darkest right before the dawn, well here's a Cole's Notes version of just how dark things became:

  • Ryan Smyth was traded to the New York Islanders over a contract dispute, where they were only $750K apart on a deal.
  • Steve Tambellini's entire run as GM.
  • The fact that someone had an Oilers voodoo doll because they suffered an unprecedented run of injury after injury to key player after key player, season after season.
  • Dallas Eakins' entire run as Head Coach.
  • Becoming the butt of jokes from everybody about the Oilers' habitual Draft Lottery status.
  • Remember when The Kid Line of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano & Robert Nilsson were supposed to be the future?
  • Remember when Robbie Schremp was supposed to be the future?
  • Remember when H.O.P.E. was a thing? Well Taylor Hall, Linus Omark & Magnus Paajarvi are long gone.
  • Ralph Krueger being fired via Skype after just narrowly missing the playoffs.
  • The Oilers won the #1 overall pick an unprecedented 3 years in a row (2010- Taylor Hall, 2011- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2012- Nail Yakupov) and only RNH remains,
  • President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe turning the fans against him by classifying them into two tiers.
Year after year my optimism was high as the season started, I would proclaim to anyone who would listen that "this is the year it all turns around" and like clockwork, year after year the season was lost before Christmas, most times well before. It got so bad that I had to stay away from the message boards and switch the station once the radio station's started taking calls from listeners. 

However, it wasn't all doom and gloom as the team provided a glimmer here, a silver lining there. Here are some of my personal favorite moments during these dark times:
  • Patrik Stefan of the Dallas Stars missing a tap in empty netter, which led to the Oilers going the other way and tying the game very late.
  • Ryan Smyth getting in Jean-Sebastien Giguere's head and causing an epic meltdown that led to him being more concerned with punching Smytty with his blocker than the stopping the puck.
  • That one exciting stretch drive when The Kid Line and the line of Zack Stortini, Curtis Glencross & Kyle Brodziak almost go them into the playoffs.
  • The return of Mike Comrie, which seemed impossible consider how nasty the break up was.
  • The Oilers reinstated the retro blue, white and orange jerseys while doing away with the copper and blue.
  • Sam Gagner's 8 point night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Ben Scrivens' 59 save performance against the San Jose Sharks.
  • Jordan Eberle's thrilling 1st NHL goal against the Calgary Flames.
  • Steve MacIntyre busting onto the scene and busting up Calgary Flames on several occasions, which led to me going out and buying a crested MacIntyre jersey, it might just be the only one in existence.
  • Linus Omark's center ice spinorama during the shootout against Dan Ellis and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Nail Yakupov's tying goal against the Los Angeles Kings and his subsequent sliding on his knees across center ice celebration, thrilling the entire crowd, Eric Belanger be damned. 
  • Ryan Smyth's return and emotional retirement.
Then came the fateful day of Saturday, April 18th, 2015. On that day EVERYTHING changed. It was on that day that the bingo balls came up 5-14-6-1. The Oilers went in with an 11.5% chance of winning the draft lottery and they did just that. However this was no ordinary draft lottery, this was the draft lottery for the right to select the generational talent that is Connor McDavid. In the subsequent days, new Chief Executive Officer Bob Nicholson hired Peter Chiarelli to replace Craig McTavish as GM and Todd McLellan as head coach. When they drafted McDavid, they also debuted a new orange 3rd jersey, which made me a very happy camper seeing as orange is my favorite color.

Connor McDavid came even better than advertised, it was apparent from the start that he was a phenom. He became a talent that was absolute must see to believe. His speed, vision and skills had to be witnessed in person because TV did not do it justice. In one last cruel twist of fate, he was robbed of the 1st Calder Trophy in team history due to a horrific broken collarbone that stole half of his season when Philadelphia Flyer Brandon Manning crashed him into the board during yet another breathtaking drive to the net.

After just half a season it was apparent that this was McDavid's team and it led to Chiarelli trading away Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. A move that was highly criticized by Oilers fan and hockey pundit alike. I was one of the few in favor of this trade. I viewed it part addition by subtraction (due to the whispers of Hall being a locker room cancer) and part trading from a position of strength (forward depth) to shore up a position of weakness (a top pairing defenseman).

Chiarelli moulded the team in the image of his previous team, the Boston Bruins to help the soft, smurf Edmonton Oilers compete with the big teams of the Pacific Division. He added Patrick Maroon, Milan Lucic & Zack Kassian to provide the right mix of size and skill. He added goaltender Cam Talbot to provide a stable starter for the 1st time since Dwayne Roloson. He completely re-made the defense turning it into a well oiled unit rather than the rag tag, leaking chances like a sieve unit's of years past.

This season the Oilers opened the gorgeous, state of the art new arena, Roger's Place in the downtown core. Not many people believed, myself included, that they had a contender to play in it. To say that the Oilers exceeded expectations this year is an understatement of the year contender. They had the best record against the Pacific Division, they had the best record against the Western Conference, they were in the division title race all the way up until the last day of the season, McDavid scored 100 points, Talbot broke the record for Oilers wins in a season, they finished with 103 points and secured home ice advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs.

As I sit here typing this up on the eve of the attending my 1st ever playoff game, I have come to the realization that it was a long, difficult road to get here but damn it the destination is beautiful. Every single thing that occurred following losing game 7, led to winning the McDavid lottery.  For that, I forgive Chris Pronger and his wife for wanting out, I forgive Dany Heatley & Michael Nylander for spurning us. I forgive Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, Craig McTavish, Dallas Eakins & Scott Howson (Nikita Nikitin? Really?!?!) for their ineptitude. I forgive Eric Belanger, Nikita Nikitin, J.F. Jacques, Liam Reddox, Nikolai Khabibulin, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Toby Peterson, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ben Eager & Anton Belov for being terrible at hockey whilst wearing an Oilers jersey. All roads led to McDavid and I am over the past once and for all.

City of Edmonton! Savor this moment, we are about to witness the next step in the journey and I am ready to cheer until my voice gives out and clap until my hands are numb. Just remember, don't be stupid and riot or drink and drive, be responsible, be better.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Hello, my name is Drago, and I'm a Sportsaholic.

 As long as I can remember sports has been a passion of mine. Passion might not even be a strong enough word to do my fandom justice. To begin, I have been an Edmonton Oilers fan since birth, I shall also point out that it is no coincidence that during the season I was born, that they won their 1st Stanley Cup. Through thick and thin the Oilers have always been and always will be my team. I have been to over 70 NHL games in Edmonton, Calgary, Tampa Bay & Dallas. I love to go on sports trips and experience other teams, arenas, stadiums and game day presentations.

After the NHL came WWE, or WWF as it was when I started watching. However, my 1st wrestling memory came from the AWA when the dastardly Corporal Kirschner attacked Superfly Jimmy Snuka by pushing him off the top rope and piledrove him on the concrete floor causing the infamous crimson mask on Snuka. I grew up a Hulkamaniac, wildly cheering for everything Hulk Hogan did, as most people did back in the 80's. Wrestling was something I never grew out of, I am just as much enthralled today as I was back then. It even compelled me to step into the squared circle myself, but that's another story for another day. I have been to 7 of the last 9 Wrestlemania shows. Anyone who is a fan should have this on their bucket list, it is an incredible weekend of events. My current favorite wrestler is John Cena and I own 74 different t-shirts of his. The hardcore Wrestlemania crowds would always give me the gears over being a grown adult wearing Cena merch and cheering for him, but I didn't care, the man is a legend.

I watched my 1st World Cup of Soccer in 1990, and since then I have watched every single World Cup and Euro Cup that has happened. I have a deep appreciation for the beautiful game, all the diving aside of course. I am a long suffering English National Team fan, they find new ways to lose every tournament. Attending a World Cup is high on my sports bucket list.

One Sunday evening in January 1992, I was flipping channels when I came across a football game between the Washington Redskins, led by a Canadian quarterback named Mark Rypien and the Buffalo Bills. I learned this was called the Super Bowl and from that moment on I was hooked. I started cheering for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, solely because of their creamsicle orange jersey's and not because of their skill level, which at that time they were among the league's worst. My faith was rewarded in January of 2003 when my Bucs beat the Raiders to win the Super Bowl. My awesome friends all came out to cheer against the Bucs and me but they proceeded to take the Raiders to the woodshed for one of the most lopsided defeats in Super Bowl history. My favorite player of all time is, without a shadow of a doubt, Tom Brady. I've been to 7 NFL games in San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Seattle & Oakland.

I became an MLB fan during the Toronto Blue Jays World Series run in 1992 thanks to my homeroom teacher who put the games on for us to watch. I became a New York Yankees fan the 1st time I saw those pinstripe uniforms. It helped matters when my 2 favorite players at the time, Tino Martinez from the Seattle Mariners and former Blue Jay David Cone were acquired by the Yankees. During a time when the Oilers were having to sell off all their high priced players because they could no longer afford them, the Yankees became my guilty pleasure team because they had more money than everyone else and would sign All-Star free agent after All-Star free agent. They were basically a fantasy team. In September of 2015, I finally made it to my 1st MLB regular season game as I saw the San Francisco Giants host the San Diego Padres.

All told, I have seen NHL, AHL, WHL, NFL, CFL, NCAA, MLB, AAA, AA, A, NBA, WWE, NXT, ROH & EVOLVE & NLL, along with various other minor leagues in all different sports. Bottom line, I love sports and I want to share my thoughts and experiences with whoever, if any, happens to stumble across this Page.