| |Superstar rookie Taylor Hall will most certainly help change Edmonton's image amongst the rest of the NHL (Getty Images).
It's an interesting poll that came out regarding a number of NHL related topics that dealt with favorite rink, to best ice (Rexall was tops at 37 percent), to worst coach, to team you'd most like to play for or to the team that is least desirable on your destination list and that brings us to Edmonton.
The Alberta capital which is home to the Oilers finished second at 20 percent. The New York Islanders at 27 percent.
First off, as pointed out to me by one follower on Twitter, 25 years ago Edmonton and Long Island would have been the top two destinations not the bottom two.
Yes times have definitely changed and Edmonton's result in all this can be attributed to a few things. In no particular order Chris Pronger, the weather and the lack of winning. There may be more but I think those would be your top three.
You can't do anything about what Chris Pronger did. He is an elite player who nearly won a Cup in his one and only year and then bolted in highly dramatic fashion. To this day it would have been made all better if Chris had just said listen my family (my wife) prefers to live in the U.S. It's what she knows and likes and left it at that regarding the Prongers.
However what would have really helped is if Pronger had sat down before he left and said you know what I'm not going to get into all these internet rumours but what I will say is I really enjoyed the hockey. The fans were great, I loved being such an important part of this team but for my family's sake, and I hope you'll understand, I requested a trade. I'll have great memories of this incredible year and I also hope one day Edmonton wins what we nearly won and that's a Cup.
Now just like Pronger you can't do anything about the weather. I remember talking to Jason Strudwick when he used to come in here with an opposing team. They would drive 40 minutes from the airport to a downtown hotel normally in the middle of the night then get out in darkness to middle of winter cold temperatures. Next morning on and off the bus and a drive through our not so good part of downtown (I'll admit that needs cleaning up) to the rink play the game another 45 minutes to the airport and away they go.
Not exactly what the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce had in mind regarding selling the city in the best possible light. What will sell the NHL's northern most spot is success and lots of it. Edmonton isn't any farther north on the map in 2011 than it was in 1985 however two things have changed.
First off players have way more say than they once did on location and finishing out of the playoffs four straight years and a soon to be fifth doesn't help. What will help is 'W's, 'W's, and more 'W's. What's that saying about winning cures all or cures all ills. I think that would be the case with Edmonton.
As these kids grow into men and grow into winners players will want to play here. Those that have the opportunity will want to be paired with Ryan Whitney
or play centre for Jordan Eberle
and Magnus Paajarvi
or maybe on the same line as Taylor Hall
Winning is fun, losing is not. The owner treats this organization as well as any in the league..first class all the way.. but one thing that is still missing is success. That success is close and this team is on it's way up. When that happens the percentage of who wants to play in Edmonton will be up as well.