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IN DEPTH: The Right Shot

Deriving from a family of left-handed shooters, Matt Benning was encouraged to shoot right at an early age to fill a National Hockey League demand

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

THE FOREWARD

BY BRIAN BENNING

The first memory of hockey for me was four boys in a typical Canadian family growing up with a rink in the back of the yard. We'd go out there and everybody kind of gathered at our place and everybody would just play hockey. That's what we knew. We called it pond hockey, river hockey, whatever -- that's where we learned the game. 

Then we'd play at the community centre and eventually as we grew older, we'd go to the outdoor rinks after school and play with the older guys. You'd have to skate really fast or pass the puck really quick to play with them.

Back then, when we were kids, there was a special at Mohawk: If you got a tank of gas, you could go to the garbage can and pick out a hockey stick. 

So, my dad got a tank of gas and my older brother Jim went to grab a stick 

He grabbed a left. 

The next time dad fuelled up, the special was still on: get a tank of gas, get a stick. 

My brother Mark went and grabbed a stick. Of course, he grabbed a left because older brother Jim grabbed a left. 

So, we're playing with two sticks and then it was my turn next. 

I grabbed a left. 

At the end of the day, all four of the Benning boys shot left and it made it easy for dad to buy sticks. He'd buy them by the dozen and the kids would use them. We kind of adopted that. 

But now, the next generation is on the other side -- they all shoot right.

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IN DEPTH: Role Model

Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira and Hockey Night Punjabi are growing the sport within Canada's South Asian community

by Ryan Frankson / EdmontonOilers.com

The Foreword

By Harbs Bains, President, Surrey Minor Hockey Association

I met Jujhar earlier this year. The Surrey Minor Hockey Association was hosting a tournament with teams from China and Korea.

When the China team was in town, we were playing at a rink in Burnaby and Jujhar, along with some other NHL players, were there working out and practicing.

A couple of our Surrey kids noticed Jujhar, so I went over, introduced myself and asked him if he would mind coming over and saying hi to the kids. Not only did he come, but he brought a couple of other guys with him.

The kids loved it. He went to the China team dressing room, I introduced him to the coaches and all the parents came in to take photos. He did a wonderful job. 

And then he came over to the Surrey dressing room. The kids all knew who he was, shook his hand, got autographs and took lots of pictures. He was fantastic. I know he was tired, because he had just come off a workout, but he took his time and said whenever we needed something he'd do his best to help us out.

It was a cross-cultural experience and meant so much to those kids, no matter what ethnic background they were. I don't know who had a better time, him or the kids. 

He's a great ambassador for the Edmonton Oilers, a great ambassador for the sport of hockey and a great young man.

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IN DEPTH: Threads

Recount narratives of the Oilers former uniforms in EdmontonOilers.com's first long-form feature of the 2017-18 season

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

From Al Hamilton's perspective, it was Bill Hunter and the Oilers management who exalted the Oilers silks. "They liked them so much that they never gave us our jerseys at the end of the year," the former Oilers defender said. "They kept them. They were more in love with them than we were." Legend Glen Sather later established a club code. "As soon as he became coach, he introduced the rule that the sweater and the logo never went on the floor," said Short, adding that it was adopted from the Montreal Canadiens. "I don't know if it ever got to be, 'We're proud of the logo,' but there was always a strong feeling for the sweater, for the Oilers… and the reality was that this was the Oilers jersey and those who wore it were indoctrinated."

 

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FEATURE: Adjusting to the rules

Slashing minors and face-off violations will be enforced in 2017-18 and the Oilers are planning to adjust accordingly

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - There are no new sheriffs in town and no new rules to enforce. 

There is, however, a bounty out on outlaws who exercise the National Hockey League's most under-the-radar mannerisms: slashing minors and face-off violations.

Video: OILERS TODAY: Face-off Violations

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Seventh man celebration

Forward Zack Kassian and an Oilers fan teamed up in Game 6 to produce one of the best celebrations of the year

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

There was Zack Kassian dashing towards the Anaheim Ducks' net, his head down, solely focused on the puck.

In the stands was Brad Ferguson, his head up, focused on the game alongside his wife and five-year-old son.

And then there was magic.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm6: Kassian goes five-hole on the break

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In Depth: Remember the Run

Revisit the Oilers memorable 2006 playoff run in this week's In Depth

by Cait MacPhail / EdmontonOilers.com

He barreled his way down the tunnel and burst through the doors that led to the Oilers dressing room at Rexall Place, right hand clutched to his mouth and blood pouring from his face - though he didn't feel much. The adrenaline coursing through his body took care of much of the immediate pain.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going back out there."

Former Oilers forward Ryan Smyth was always a believer in leaving it all on the ice and, that particular night, he did just that. He left it all on the ice - including three of his bottom teeth and a fair amount of blood.

The refs scooped up the teeth and worked on getting the blood scraped off the ice while Smyth went off to be attended to by the team physician.

Not 10 minutes later, to the surprise of many, Smyth reappeared on the bench, but not without several stitches in his upper lip. He was back out on the ice minutes later.

 

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In Depth: Levels

From the music in the dressing room to the cheer of the crowd, the sounds of the game have a way of impacting the Oilers

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The discordant noise of 18,000 cheering Oilers fans is somehow so harmonious. When reverberating in Rogers Place, the good vibrations create an exhilarating sensation for the players.

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In Depth: The Rookies

Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning have found their fit with the Oilers together this season

by EdmontonOilers.com Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

"I was 5-foot-6 and about 150 pounds when I got drafted into the OHL."

Oilers rookie forward Drake Caggiula was well aware that his smaller stature wasn't necessarily turning any heads when he was selected in the third round of the 2010 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Draft at the age of 16.

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In Depth: Talbot's Story

Cam Talbot's journey to becoming the busiest goalie in the National Hockey League

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

In the finishing department of Stelco Lake Erie Work's steel mill in Nanticoke, ON, worked Cam Talbot. 

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In Depth: Keepers of the Cup

Phil Pritchard, the '80s Oilers, the city of Edmonton: Keepers of the Cup

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Phil Pritchard wasn't around when Kevin Lowe was dragged to the corner of St. Anne and Perron in St. Albert, AB amid the off-season of 1984. 

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