Thursday, September 4, 2008

The quest for the 2009 Enerflex Cup

Some could say the Okotoks Oilers missed their chance to hit pay dirt. All the pieces seemed to fall in place last year for one of the league’s newest franchises: a record number of wins, league MVP goalie Bradley Eidsness, a great veteran defensive core and a number of players who were natural goal scorers.

A second round playoff exit was definitely not in the cards. Now the question is how to get back to the brink with only eight returning players. “We hope we recruited well enough to move forward,” said coach Dan MacDonald.

With 14 new players, mainly picked out of the midget AAA ranks, the Oilers are sure to have a lot of overwhelmed players who will need a lot of adjusting just to make it through a 62-game schedule. Fatigue is a concern to MacDonald and it should be. To combat the weary-leg syndrome, the Oilers have taken the high road and won’t be as high-flying as they once were. Baby steps, with a grown up elbow here and there, are definitely on the menu. “Last year we were a finesse team,” said MacDonald. “We are trying to get away from that. This year it will be more of a blend (of finesse and physical play).”

Brought into the fold to help with that are two true imports. Forwards Andy Singerhouse of Minnesota and John McInnes who hails from the Boston area, are big players in the 200 pound range and will be expected to set the physical pace.

from the AJHL website

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