Oilers Land O’Kane, All-American Puck-Stopper, and Canadian College Standout

TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Oilers announced on Wednesday the signing of forwards Kyle O’Kane and Stephen Blunden and goaltender Brady Hjelle (JELL-ee).  The Oilers, entering their 23rd consecutive season in the Central Hockey League, have 23 players officially signed to the 2014-15 roster.  More player signings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.




Merger rumors?

There has been a lot of talk in the ‘silly season’, but the big rumor floating around this summer is that the CHL is potentially being absorbed by its not-much-older brother, the ECHL.

An SB Nation article details how it might shake it (or should) if it were to happen.


Section 111/Section 112/Section 6/Section 101 – Welcome to Section 103

It’s been some time since there has been a force reckoned with as fans of the Tulsa Oilers.  Back in the early days (around 1999) for me, it was Section 111 in the old Convention Center, which consisted of about four of us who were some of the loudest people I’d ever met.  Since I’ve not conferred with any of them, I won’t mention names.  Suffice it to say we were loud and disturbed opposing teams with reckless abandon.  One of my favorite heckles of the time was a friend of mine posted what one opposing player misconstrued as a racist slur to an African-American referee and his linesmen on a whiteboard we kept handy.  “Welcome Hootie and the Linesmen”, during a time when Hootie and the Blowfish were quite popular.  And this referee was a dead ringer for Darius Rucker.  One of the opposing players mouthed the words ‘no class’ to the group.  The author of the whiteboard simply yelled back “That would be funny to you…if you could read!”.

We moved to Section 112 – the ‘Pie Section’, since it was in the little wedge of seats right next to where the referees would have to walk by to get to and from the locker rooms.  Needless to say, we were loud and great heckles were born from those moments.

Most of those guys left for greener pastures, but some of us remained..me, mainly, and I brought in some new blood, and met some new blood.  Mainly in the same area of the convention center.  Many from Section 6.  This would be the last seats I would have before the Oilers would move over to the BOK Center in 2008.

After the BOK Center move, many of us moved to Section 101 right on the glass.  It felt a little less intimate than the CC did, and the glass configuration made it difficult to really get into heckling referees or players.  Other things made it difficult to renew season tickets, and as of about 2012, most of us only went occasionally to the games.

When Jeff Lund relinquished ownership of the team to the Steven Brothers from Wichita (who now own Tulsa, Wichita and Allen), there was some excitement that things would change.  I went to a few more games that first season and liked what I saw.  Front office doing better things for fans, listening.  Although I never really blamed the front office — there was little they could do.

So here’s a warning to all opposing players coming into the BOK for the 2014-2015 campaign.  Section 103 starts right above the tunnel where opposing teams must walk through to get to the ice and must walk back to get to their locker rooms.  A group of about 8 very loud season ticket holders have renewed their tickets to serve up the verbal barrage on you.  Don’t forget to bring your Kleenex.


The silly season 2014, CHL style

First off, congratulations to the Allen Americans for winning their second straight CHL President’s Cup for the 2013-2014 season.

Now, as the CHL playoffs have concluded, the silly season begins.

For those not familiar with the silly season, I have followed it for about 15 years now.  It’s always about the strange happenings in the off-season for minor league sports.  Specifically the league I follow, the CHL.  There have been a lot of strange happenings, but not necessarily confined to the off-season.

However, the first casualty of the silly season is —- the St. Charles Chill.

There are also some grumblings about the Denver CutThroats being in some financial trouble, but no word of any closure.

In more upbeat news, the Allen Americans have changed owners, with the Steven Brothers (owners of both the Wichita Thunder and Tulsa Oilers) purchasing the team.

In front office/coaching news, the Wichita Thunder have extended the contract of head coach Kevin McClelland.  In other Steven Brothers team news, the contract for Tulsa Oilers head coach Bruce Ramsay has been extended as well, and two players with the club last season — defenseman Jake Obermeyer, and defenseman and team captain Nathan Lutz — have been re-signed for the 2014-2015 campaign.

Please discuss below, or join discussions in the forum.

Yes, I’m still here…

Well, the last post on this website wasn’t even made by me (by John Hall..thanks for adding contact during your road trip).  I’ve had a busy and eventful few months.

Starting in mid December my mother was ill and I had to tend to her.  I made a few hockey games, but while she was recuperating, I was not able to travel.  Things are getting better however.  Still can’t travel yet, but hopefully by next season I can.

I will make some blog and forum posts to try to catch up on my thoughts about the season and the pending silly season.

Look forward to everyone participating.  Please feel free to comment below.  Post in the forums as well.

Live blog – Oilers at Missouri

Hey gang, I’m in the press box here in Independence and I’ll keep you posted on the action tonight as it happens! Keep refreshing for updates!


That didn’t take long…

3:56 1st – Todd Robinson scores on the backhand, Tulsa leads 1-0. Bochek and Bobo with the assists.

19:59 1st – Oilers put a nice rush together at the end, but none go in.

END 1st – Oilers 1, Mavericks 0.

Second period underway…

1:56 2nd – Mavs penalty, Odegaard for interference. Oilers on PP.  *Update – Oilers fail to score on PP.

5:04 2nd – Oilers penalty, Lutz for unsportsmanlike conduct. Mavs on PP.

6:15 2nd – Scrum in front of Oilers net, matching roughing minors for Bocheck and Courtney.

Oilers kill the penalty

9:07 2nd – Starting to get chippy out there, very entertaining game so far.

9:40 2nd – Tulsa penalty, Bocheck holding the stick. Mavs on PP.

11:40 2nd – Oilers kill the penalty

14:30 2nd – Oilers penalty, Bochek goalie interference. Mavs on PP.

16:30 2nd – Oilers kill penalty. Still 1-0 Tulsa.

19:37 2nd – Oilers penalty, Lutz for holding. Mavs on PP.

END 2nd – Tulsa 1, Missouri 0. Ice tilting towards the Tulsa goal, but Mads is playing well and holding strong.

We’re a few seconds away from starting the third period.

2:48 3rd – Penalties – Tulsa Macaulay high stick, Colt King for roughing. 4-on-4 for two minutes.

4:05 3rd – Mavs penalty, Ramsay interference. 4 on 3 for 44 seconds.

5:32 3rd – shorthanded goal for Mavs, Vossen picked up the puck from a Tulsa turnover and put it in the top right corner to tie the game at 1-1.

6:12 3rd – Mavs goal as penalty expired, Pszenyczny found Ramsay all alon and he burried it. 2-1 Mavs.

6:53 3rd – Mavs penalty, Hayes for slashing. Tulsa on the PP.

8:12 3rd – Tulsa penalty, too many men on ice. 4 on 4.

9:03 3rd – Hayes released from box, takes a long feed and scores. Linesmen out of position, seemed to be a possible offside call that was missed. Mavs 3, Oilers 1.

10:39 3rd – Mavs penalty, Hayes for slashing. Oilers on PP, they need to score here and take some air out of the crowd.

11:51 3rd – Oilers penalty, Pleskach for roughing while the Oilers were cycling on the PP. 4 on 4 for next 48 seconds.

12:19 3rd – OILERS GOAL – Bochek on his own rebound. Mavs 3, Oilers 2 with 7:41 remaining.

13:23 3rd – Timeout Mavs.

13:51 rd – Oilers kill penalty. Still 3-2, Missouri.

One minute remaining

25.2 second left. Mads has been pulled, timeout Tulsa. Oilers will have a faceoff to the the right of Owen with a 6 on 5 advantage. One last push to tie it up.

19:55 3rd – Mavs empty net goal by Aduba. Missouri will win this one 4-2. Nice final effort from Tulsa though.

Road trip stories

I’ve been a fan of the Oilers since about 1996.  That same year, my cousin and I went to a Wednesday night game at the Myriad in Oklahoma City.  We sat WAY up in the 400 section with our jerseys.  Back then, wearing the opposing team jersey in OKC — especially if you were an Oiler fan — was risky.

Since that time, I’ve taken more than my fair share of roadies..I’ve been to:

  • OKC, multiple times
  • Wichita, multiple times
  • Topeka, multiple times
  • Ft. Worth, once
  • Texarkana, once
  • Colorado, once
  • New Mexico (Tingley Coliseum), once
  • St. Louis, twice (for the St. Louis Blues)

Invariable, these were with a group, aside from the last two.  This usually makes for some storied adventures.  I have many in my travels.

If you have had a fun roadie worthy of note, please share it with us in the comments section.

A different team now

I usually tell my friends that watch the Oiler hockey games with me that I tend to wait for about 10 games before I make my initial assessment of the team.

If you would have asked me about this time last month what I thought of the team, it might have sounded like this:

  • BoBo (Michel Beausoleil) is too old and has lost a step
  • Our team toughness is next to nothing.
  • Our goaltending is suspect.
  • Where the hell has Todd Robinson gone?

The Oilers began the 2013-2014 season a dismal 0-5-2.  That horrid stretch ended with a loss on November 2 to Allen at the BOK Center.  I was very pessimistic about the rest of the season.

Maybe it’s all about personnel and getting the right people.

It’s not a coincidence, in my opinion, that the day before the last loss, that Adam Pleskach was signed and Brandon Coccimiglio returned from the injured reserve.  While Ryan Menei was injured earlier with a knee problem, I thought that was a huge loss.

Maybe not so much.

Starting with that game on Nov 1st, Pleskach started an eight-game point streak that was only ended at a 3-2 win at the IBC in Wichita on Nov 16th.  In that stretch, Pleskach notched 14 points (7g, 7a).  He was teamed up on a line with newly-returned Coccimiglio.  His game was bettered as well, going on a six-game point streak of his own to start on Nov 1st.  In that six-game stretch, Coccimiglio marked 11 points (4g, 7a).  The second line was scoring nearly at will, once the MacAulay brothers (Blair and Scott) joined the team on Nov 17th.

Since that loss on Nov 2, The Oilers are now a torrid 10-1-0.  That includes a wild tilt in Allen where 18 total goals were scored, and it appeared the game was defense-optional and full of brawls.  The Oilers won that game 10-8, then in the rematch that next day at the BOK center, won by a little more normal margin of 4-2.

I stil think the goaltending is a little suspect, as Shane Madolora’s stats aren’t that impressive yet (8-5-1, 3.22 GA, .899 SVPCT).  Ross MacKinnon is not really any better (2-2-2, 3.22 GA, .877 SVPCT).

Some of the goaltending numbers can be explained by soft defense earlier in the season.  Not all of it can, however.

This team is now scoring goals.  What it needs to do well now is turn them away better.  The defense is improving.  I still see soft goals from time to time though.

I am enjoying watching them.  I couldn’t say that about last season’s team.

Our crew plans a road trip to the IBC on Dec 7th, and we are contemplating the News Years Eve trip to Missouri for that game as well.


First weekend complete

So, where do I start?

This team obviously needs to work on special teams.  Two shorthanded goals against sofar this season?  Penalty kill at 78.9%?  There is definitely room for improvement there.

I know, Allen is the returning championship team.  But to watch this team give up a 2-0 lead TWICE  in TWO NIGHTS on HOME ICE is not acceptable.

Coach Ramsay’s response after last nights game to the Tulsa World

The last three games have been so close it could have gone either way. We are going to stay the course and get back on the ice tomorrow and start working hard. Guys like Todd Robinson and Ben Gordon can score in a hurry once it starts working for them.

I have a hard time hearing quotes like this (essentially relying on two big guns when we should spread the talent). Especially now that we have owners who aren’t afraid to open wallets.  Now maybe he misspoke or I’m taking it out of context.  But we should not look to depend on two guys for our offense, as we did when Lund was owner.

Ramsay is on the clock.  I think he realizes if this team doesn’t make the playoffs, he won’t be around next season.

Please discuss below.