EDMONTON, AB - It was day one and one by one as the Edmonton Oilers entered the Hall of Fame Room at Rogers Place on Thursday, you could tell something was different. Anyone there and for those who watched the day's proceedings on Oilers TV could easily tell they were picking up 'Good Vibrations."
It made me think of the song composed in 1966 by the Beach Boys and specifically Brian Wilson. The title was a result of Wilson's belief in cosmic vibrations after his mother once told him that dogs sometimes bark at people because they are picking up 'bad vibrations."
Unfortunately, around the Edmonton Oilers, it wasn't just dogs picking up "bad vibrations" but humans as well. It was hard not to, but that isn't the case anymore and certainly wasn't evident to begin the 2017-18 training camp.
A vibe that continued into day one on the ice when you could see line combinations, defence pairings and the planned tandem in net. Everyone is excited at Rogers Place, on Whyte Ave., at City Hall and anywhere else you work, live or go to school. Prior to this training camp, how many times would people be discussing the Oilers upcoming season and it was always with a hint of uncertainty. Not wanting the results of season's gone by to continue, but uncertain if they would. Unsure how another tough season would impact the start of a new season.
That has all changed.
The Oilers, their fans and the organization are not going into a season wondering and worrying about anything bad happening, but instead about all the good they expect to occur this season.
It was the way they walked, the way they talked, their body language and the English language, which it made it clear to everyone this was a fresh start to the season. Sometimes it's what you see and hear and sometimes it's what you feel. The Edmonton Oilers are feeling good about themselves, but not too good. They're happy about a year that brought them within a win of the conference finals. One decade of disappointment was wiped out by one season of elation. The bad times not forgotten, but the good times the focus for the present and the future. It's not only around here but the giddiness over the Oilers can be located from east to west and north to south.
Connor McDavid worked on his shooting and his faceoffs. Milan Lucic spent the off-season in LA training with former NFL star Terrell Owens. Ryan Nugent Hopkins worked on some things he hopes will help him find more offence to go along with his emergence as a two-way player. Patrick Maroon came back lighter than before and focused on continuing to be McDavid's wing man. Ryan Strome, the biggest off-season acquisition, spoke of how exciting it was to see the Oilers in the playoffs and now he is one of them. There was a story to be told by each of the 61 players who hit the ice this morning for the start of training camp.
There is a lot to be excited about but a lot of work ahead for this season's version of the Edmonton Oilers. Not every day will be a great one but more more good is expected than bad. Hard to predict how this will all play out but for now I'm just going to continue picking up "Good Vibrations."