|Clever Edmontonians actually modified the Connors Road sign|
Hey, welcome back. It's been since 2013 that I've posted here when it was called Hatrock's Hockey Blog. For the 2014 season, I was a regular poster on The Hockey Report .net, but that site got changed, and I decided to post just on a new Facebook Page called Oil & Gas, but it's limiting, so here we are and here we go!
The excitement in this city is nothing like I've felt in years. Some Edmontonians are so excited, this morning they went and added "McDavid" to the "Connors Road" sign down in the River Valley. Clever bunch. Also noting they put #EPSStrong.
So, just as we had Wayne Gretzky Drive replace Capilano and Mark Messier Drive up replace some guy's name in St. Albert, why do I now get this feeling that Connors Road will eventually become Connor McDavid Road? Is it just me? It does go uphill from deep in the valley, curves along, has lane controls, has FolkFest, and skiers, is currently being totally repaved from the mess of potholes that inundated it for years, AND it will eventually have the Valley Line LRT on it. So it's a quite fitting symbol considering the trek through the wilderness that Oilers fans have been subject to for the past 9 years.
There is a cover band in town called Connors Road. I wonder if they'll change their name too?
Anyway, as The Holy Annointed One hob-knobs with other draftees in Miami this week, and although everyone knows new GM Chiarelli will select him, you can't help but be equally excited about the big changes in the Oilers organization itself. No longer can Leaves fans (yes, I prefer the proper English usage of the plural of leaf) say that the Oilers will ruin McDavid as they did with Hall, Nuge, and Yak because it's now an actual professionally-run hockey club.
To review the big changes:
- Owner Daryl Katz promotes former Team Canada prez Bob Nicholson as CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG)
- Bob hires former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to become President of Hockey Ops and General Manager replacing both Kevin Lowe and Craig McTavish in one swoop
- But Bob moves prez of hockey ops Kevin Lowe to be VP of the business side. Ok then.
- Yet MacT and Scott Howson both stick around to help Chiarelli. Fine. Whatever.
- Chiarelli hires former San Jose Sharks and IIHF Team Canada gold medal coach Todd McLellan as new head coach to a multi-year contract. Hall and Eberle both indicated they really like playing for him because of his attention to detail and way he explains things. Excellent!
- Chiarelli fires assistant coaches Craig Ramsay and Keith Acton. Expected.
- Chiarelli fires a slough of pro and OHL scouts including Stu MacGregor, Dave Semenko, and coaching consultant Billy Moores. This was the final stroke that made us give a big sigh of relief as the draft and player development record beyond the 1st round essentially only has Anton Lander still around at this point.
- BREAKING: Former Sharks assistant coaches Jay Woodcroft and Jim Johnson are hired.
So, yes, we can be excited for drafting McDavid on June 26, but we should also be equally excited about the big sweeping changes to the org itself, which by the way, I correctly predicted once I heard Katz hired Bob Nicholson to begin with.
And for some strange reason, I can't help but thank Dallas Eakins, MacT and Todd Nelson for ensuring the Oilers ended up third last, so we could have that last lottery ball go in our favour.
Happy McDavid Eve everyone!