All posts by Kyla Lane

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Ryan Smyth: A Legacy Retires

As you’re all probably aware, Saturday night marked Ryan Smyth’s last NHL game, but more than that it marked the exit of one of the greatest players to wear an Oiler’s jersey. He was never the fastest or most skilled player but he created a legacy with his sheer determination, heart, grit, and dedication to not only the Oilers but to the city of Edmonton. Smyth played for four NHL teams, but the Edmonton Oilers was the only team he truly belonged on.

Saturday night was a reflection of the respect and admiration that Smyth earned throughout his 19 year NHL career. I will never forget the atmosphere or the events that took place in Rexall Place that night. An entire stadium stood on their feet for one of the greatest men to ever wear an Oiler’s jersey. It was an emotional night for Smytty and every fan in that building: Canuck’s fans and Oiler’s fans alike came together to give Ryan Smyth a well-deserved send-off.

Ryan Smyth has always been my favourite hockey player and it’s been an emotional time coming to terms with his retirement. We all knew it was coming, but the reality of never seeing number 94 on the ice again is hard to accept for some of us. I don’t think it matters what team you cheer for, Ryan Smyth is a player that is respected throughout the entire league. Not only will Oiler’s fans miss him, but the sport of hockey will miss him.

All we can do now is hope to see him in a position within the organization — a man that loves the game that much won’t be able to stay away for long — and thank him for an incredible career. I know I learned a great deal from Ryan Smyth: I learned that hockey isn’t always about the points, it’s about having a passion for the game and ultimately being in love with the game. I believe his legacy is something we can all learn from when it comes to the sport of hockey and when it comes to life in general. Thank you, Smytty for your inspiration throughout the years, you will be missed.

 

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Oilers.NHL/photos/

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Top 10 Tuesday: NHL Names

There have been some pretty awesome names in the NHL through the ages. Some are still playing, others have long  since left the NHL. Here’s a list of the ten best names formerly and currently in the NHL:

10. Zarley Zalapski

This guy played for 5 different NHL teams in the 80′s & 90′s. The double Z’s are a bit of a tongue twister but make for an awesome name.

9. Jordin Tootoo

Is there really a need to expand on a guy who’s last name is Tootoo?

8. Jonathan Quick

Not a particularly cool name on its own, but add in the fact that he’s a top goaltender and it makes the name ironically fitting.

7. Rob Klinkhammer

Just an all around fun name to say. Say it out loud a couple times… that’s why it’s on the list.

6. Cal Clutterbuck

Paired with his epic mustache, the Islanders’ forward’s last name is not easily forgotten.

5. Jeff Buekeboom

Known as a hard-hitting defenceman, it’s only fitting that his last name ends with boom.

4. Harry Dick

He only played one game in the NHL but… shame on his parents.

3. Janne Niinimaa

The amount of vowels in his name alone places him on the top 10 list.

2. Jonathan Cheechoo

Cheechoo. Enough said.

1. Bill Quackenbush

I would’ve killed to be around in the 40′s and 50′s to hear people saying this last name during games. Better yet, he had a brother also playing in the NHL: what’s better than one Quackenbush? Two Quackenbush’s!

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Best Hockey Pranks (April Fools Edition)

Happy April Fool’s day everyone! Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is dedicated to the best hockey pranks to pull on your teammates for April Fools (or any other day of the year). I apologize in advance to the victims of these pranks.

10.  Twist the top off your teammate’s water bottle most of the way so that when they go to take a swig of water the top completely comes off and they get a nice little bath on the bench.

9. Mess around with your teammate’s car after they’ve pulled up to the rink and are inside. This can range from saran-wrapping their car, or filling it with the styrofoam used for packing.

8. Put some A535 in your teammate’s gloves or any other piece of equipment that directly touches their skin. Observe as they take off their gloves and try to figure out why their hands are hot and tingly. You can put it on their jock if you’re feeling particularly brave.

7. Take the plug out of your teammate’s stick and throw some coins into the stick, put the plug back in and re-tape the stick. Watch as your teammate struggles to figure out what the racket in his stick is. If you’re feeling particularly scheme-ish you can fill the stick with water so it weighs a ton when he or she picks it up.

6. Throw a funny sticker on the side of your teammate’s helmet. He or she will be getting chirped and have no idea why.

5. Spray some whipping cream (or shaving cream) in the bottom of your teammate’s skates so they’re in for a nice surprise when they put their foot in to lace ‘em up.

4. Throw some glitter in your teammate’s bag. Nothing sticks to everything like glitter, plus it’s almost impossible to get off.

3.  This one is best suited for practice, unless you’re looking to make someone late for a game or not play at all. Cut your teammate’s laces up the middle of the skate, but not all the way through! Make sure you leave it so that just a few of the threads are attached so your teammate doesn’t notice anything suspicious until they start to tighten their laces and they begin snapping.

2. The good ol’ sock tape on the bottom of the skate. Slap it on the bottom of your teammate’s skate blade when they’re not looking and if everything goes as planned they won’t notice until they hit the ice… literally.

1. This is beer league hockey, right? Swap out some of your teammates’ water for beer or spike it with vodka and watch as they take their first drink.

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Motivation for Struggling Oiler’s fans.

I’m not naive enough to think that the Oilers aren’t currently as bad as they seem. They’re bad. I get that and it’s frustrating. I’ve been too frustrated for words on multiple occasions over the past eight seasons that they’ve failed to make the playoffs and this year is certainly no exception. The longer the Oilers remain in the basement of the standings the higher my frustration level gets, and I’m not alone. But no matter how frustrated I might get, I still remain loyal to the Oil: they’re my team and I’m not about to give up on them now after eight less than mediocre seasons of standing behind them.

Yesterday I was asked if I was humiliated to be an Oiler’s fan. My answer? Of course I’m not humiliated to be an Oiler’s fan: I still plan my schedule around Oiler’s games so I can watch as many as possible, I continue to drive my car with a large Oiler’s decal on the back window, I still proudly wear my jersey, I still go to games, I STILL SUPPORT MY TEAM.

The better question would have been: am I frustrated being an Oiler’s fan? And my answer would’ve been that a lot of the time I am, but I’m also really proud to be an Oiler’s fan. Being frustrated with the Oiler’s is a far cry from being humiliated by them. I wouldn’t even say that I’m embarrassed to be an Oiler’s fan. If anything I’m proud to be a fan that stands by my team even when it’s extremely difficult to do so. If someone is only a “fan” when a team is doing well then I wouldn’t consider them a fan, I consider them a bandwagon-er. Ain’t nobody got time for fake fans.

When I was young I fell in love with the game of hockey and then I fell in love with a team that inspired me to continue loving the game. When I wear my jersey I don’t think about how awful the Oiler’s current record is, I think of the guys (past and present) who are a big part of the reason I wear the jersey: Ryan Smyth, Dwayne Roloson, Wayne Gretzky, and most recently, Ben Scrivens, among others. Being a fan isn’t just about your team’s current record, it’s about your favourite players, your favourite memories, your passion, and most importantly it’s about sticking with your team through their lowest points so that when they reach their highest point you’ll have free rights to drink your face off and cheer like there’s no tomorrow. But seriously, sticking it out when your team is less than adequate only makes their success even more special.

Being an Oiler’s fan doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to get frustrated, it just means that you grab another beer or glass of wine and remind yourself that there’s always next year. I’m not saying it’s easy to be an Oiler’s fan these days but this can’t last forever. For now we just need to embrace the positive things like Smytty being one power play goal away from breaking an NHL record, Ben Scrivens’ record breaking 59-save shutout, or the amazing wins the boys have pulled off that no one ever saw coming. If you give up on them now don’t bother coming back when they start making it to the playoffs because the true Oiler’s fans don’t want you.

Go ahead, have another Rexall crack beer if that will get you through, but DON’T GIVE UP ON THIS TEAM. One day they will achieve the greatness that everyone knows is within them and when that day comes we can all stand proud with our team knowing that we supported them through the worst times. Keep bleeding copper and blue, folks, I have a feeling we’re going to be drinking for celebratory reasons rather than “drowning our sorrows” reasons soon (I mean really, how long can this possibly go on?!).

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Top 10 Tuesday: Best Goalie Masks

Unlike players, goalies have the ability to design their own equipment from the color and design on their pads, glove, and blocker to the painted design on their mask. NHL goalies have unlimited creative opportunity when it comes to painting their masks and this post is dedicated to the best ones:

10. Mike Richter:

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A simple, yet awesome design resides on Richter’s mask who was a Ranger his entire career.

9. Ilya Bryzgalov:

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Bryz waited a long time for his Oiler’s mask because he had to wait for his children to finish their artwork so he could put it on each side of his mask. Though he hardly got to wear the mask before he was traded, including his children’s artwork was both classy and creative.

8. Victor Fasth:

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The Anaheim Ducks paid tribute to the original Mighty Ducks in 2013 and Fasth rocked this epic throwback mask. Kind of makes a person wish the Ducks were still the Mighty Ducks.

7. Yann Danis:

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Though he didn’t play many games with the Oilers, Danis wore a mask that paid tribute to the former dynasty players of the Oilers. The mask features Gretzky, Messier, and Grant Fuhr.

6. Gerry Cheevers:

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After being struck in the mask by a puck at practice Cheevers drew black stitches where the puck had hit. He continued in this fashion creating one of the most memorable goalie masks of all times.

5. Ken Wregget:

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Playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wregget chose the penguin from Batman Returns to be featured on his mask.

4. Carey Price:

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Price rocked this creepy, yet unforgettable mask during the 2011 Heritage Classic. The mask, featuring Price’s hair and ears on the sides was a tribute to Jacques Plante who’s mouth and eyes are featured on the front.

3. Andrew Raycroft:

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Raycroft’s classy Toronto Maple Leaf’s mask pays tribute to important past Leaf players.

2. Tukka Rask:

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Somewhat reminiscent of Cujo’s masks, Rask showcases a ferocious bear with a unique image of its claws on the Bruin’s logo. Paired with the gold cage, it’s hard not to love this epic design.

1. Curtis Joseph (Cujo):

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Courtesy of his nickname “Cujo”, Joseph showcased a depiction of a ferocious dog based on a Stephen King novel on each of his masks.

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Best Flow

Hockey players have the best flow, don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. To show some appreciation and give well-deserved recognition to these players’  beautiful locks I’ve made a list of the top 10 players with the best flow:

10. Steven Stamkos

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He’s had almost every hair style in the books but the long mane remains a fan favourite.

9. Patrick Kane

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He doesn’t always let his flow grow, but when he does he makes the top 10 best flow list. Check out that mullet.

8. Scott Hartnell

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This guy can grow a pretty sick mop. The curls explain it all.

7. Ryan Jones

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Being an Oiler’s fan might bias this one, but there’s no denying that fresh set of strands.

6. Peter Mueller

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His hair is longer than mine. Enough said.

5. Kris Letang

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Check that out. If a guy’s hair flows like that while he’s skating through the neutral zone he makes the list without question.

 4. Shannon Szabados

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You can’t have a “best flow” list without Shannon Szabados. It’s hard to miss her on and off the ice with those long and curly locks. Looking for one of the best female goaltenders of all time? Set your sights on the flow.

3: Ryan Smyth

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Not only is Smytty famous for his greasy goals, but for his mullet too. The pucks bouncing off his teeth into the net just wouldn’t look the same without that beauty flow under his bucket.

 2. Erik Karlsson

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The fact that I had trouble choosing which of the many pictures of Karlsson’s epic flow to use says it all.

1. Brad Pawlowski

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This guy gets the number one spot, hands down — or shall I say, “strands” down — for obvious reasons. I spotted this sick flow when I was watching Shannon Szabados’ debut in the SPHL. Pawlowski plays for the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League and comes in at number one by a long shot.

 

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Szabados Notches Another First

It’s been an exciting ride for Shannon Szabados since February: an epic gold medal win at the Olympics with the Canadian National Team, a Twitter trend to rally for her backing up Ben Scrivens at an Edmonton Oilers game, and practicing with the Edmonton Oilers.  Szabados has another “first woman to …” under her belt as she joined three of her previous NAIT teammates and played her first game with her new team, the Columbus Cottonmouths, in the Southern Professional Hockey League. She is the first woman to play a game in the SPHL.

Being the first woman to play with the boys is nothing new to Szabados: at a young age she became the first female to play in tournaments such as The Brick Novice Tournament and Calgary Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament. She then continued on to become the first female to play in the Western Hockey League, playing a game with the Tri-City Americans backed up by none other  than Carey Price. The AJHL was the next feat for Szabados where she played 5 seasons and won multiple awards including the League’s Top Goaltender in 2007. On non-Olympic years Szabados played for the men’s MacEwan Griffins and NAIT Ooks, leading the Ooks to an ACAC Championship in the 2012/2013 season.

Szabados is off to a good start on her new team — making 27 saves on 31 shots — despite their 4-3 loss tonight. Besides the awful video stream and the questionable commentators who butchered her name on a variety of occasions and attempted some awful Canada jokes, it was a good game. Szabados looked comfortable in the blue paint and shut down some prime scoring chances from the Knoxville team but her team just couldn’t notch the win. If anything, this game showed that she is more than capable of competing at this level.

Like she said in her Oiler’s interview after practicing with the NHL team, she’s “just another player on the ice with maybe a little longer hair than the rest of them” (though Smytty & Jonesy give her quite the competition in that department). Szabados is paving the way for women: she’s breaking barriers that some people deemed impossible, and women everywhere are thanking her. Thanks for making Edmonton, Canada, and female athletes everywhere proud, Shannon.

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Throwback Thursday: Martin Brodeur

On this day in 1994 Martin Brodeur recorded his third shutout with the New Jersey Devils. Little did people know back then that that shutout was the third of what was to become 124 career shutouts, passing runner up Terry Sawchuk by just over 20 shutouts to lead the NHL.

The 41 year old’s career will soon come to an end — though he won’t admit when he plans to retire — but when the time comes he can retire with ease knowing that he safely holds many of the NHL’s goalie records including most wins by a goaltender, most games played by a goaltender and most minutes played.

The past couple seasons have brought a decrease in numbers for the Devil’s netminder: he’s posted a .901 save percentage the last two seasons and a 2.49 GAA in the current season compared to more impressive numbers in previous seasons. Is it time for the esteemed goaltender to retire or does he have another season or two left in him?

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For the Ladies: Top 10 Hottest NHL Players

I can’t be the only female playing in the NCHL or the only female reading The Hockey Feed, so here’s a little treat for the female audience. Normally I’m not one for making these sort of lists since I love hockey for the sport, not the players but if men can gawk over the hottest female athletes then us women have full rights to the male athletes. Last month a post was published on the 25 Hottest Chicks in the Sochi Olympics and this month I’ve compiled my own list of the 10 hottest players in the NHL:

10: Andrew Ference

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Mhmmm. Not only is this guy a total hunk, he’s also super into saving the environment and making the whole world physically fit with the November Project. What more could one ask for?

9: Jonathan Toews

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There’s just something about the “baby-face” that J. Toews rocks…

8: Jordan Eberle

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Maybe it’s the appeal of the sexy gap in his front teeth but Ebs is definitely top ten material.

7: Erik Karlsson

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Karlsson’s epic flow matched with his charmingly good looks locks him into the seventh spot.

6: Joffrey Lupul 

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This guy’s intriguing light eyes give him a spot in the top ten, not to mention he’s a hometown Fort Sask boy.

5: Patrick Sharp

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Sharp is like the Tom Cruise of the NHL. Maybe after he’s done with the Blackhawks he’ll have a career as a movie star. And look at that smile, those pearly whites are rare in the NHL.

4: Henrik Zetterberg

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There’s just something about the bearded manly-man look that places this guy at number 4.

3: Taylor Pyatt

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Those baby blues just make a girl go wild… need I say more?

2: Sidney Crosby

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Ahh Canada’s golden boy. You can’t have a hottest NHL list without Sid the Kid, though he’s not much of a kid anymore. Not only is he one of the greatest hockey players in the world, but this small town Nova Scotia boy has grown into quite the good lookin’ young man.

1: Henrik Lundqvist

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I may be biased because I’m a goalie, but Lundqvist  takes the cake by a long shot. The guy could end his hockey career at any time and have a full-blown career as a male model. The bonus part of him being a goalie? His ridiculous good looks will never be ruined by pucks and sticks.

 

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Hemsky claims young Oilers need to step up

What’s wrong with the Oilers? This is probably one of the most popular questions surrounding the team and Ales Hemsky chose to answer it today. The new Senator’s forward claimed the Oilers young players need to step up and lead the team to more success.

You can read the details of the interview and Hemsky’s comments here.

The media and Oiler’s fans are having a hay day with this one. Some see this as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, claiming Hemsky never stepped up himself and others think he’s pinpointed the Oiler’s problem.

Whether or not Hemsky is correct in placing the blame on the young guns, the Oilers are still awful. It doesn’t matter how many people claim to have the “solutions” to the Oiler’s woes, they mean nothing until the Oilers start winning hockey games.

The only thing we all know for sure about the Oilers is that everyone — fans and players — are sick of losing. But they can’t stay this way forever, right?