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GENE'S BLOG: Re-Mark-able Career

In his latest blog, Gene Principe looks at the career of Mark Letestu, who played his 500th career NHL game on Wednesday in Detroit

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

For every Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent Hopkins or Leon Draisaitl, there is the seldom heard success story of an unwanted or at least undrafted player who makes it to the NHL. While the trio of Oilers were destined to be in the League and important parts of their team that was never the case for Mark Letestu or it wasn't until he made a case for himself.

A self-made professional hockey player whose path to the pros wasn't paved with a lottery pick or even a draft pick. No, for the Elk Point, AB native it was slow and steady steps to success which led him to a milestone moment of his career on Wednesday night. 

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GENE'S BLOG: Greatest Team of All-Time

In his latest blog, Gene Principe writes about the 84-85 Oilers being named The Greatest Team of All-Time and his experiences that year

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

The Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s were incredible. The team, right in the middle, of that decade is the greatest of all-time - as voted by the fans. In fact, four of the top 10 teams to go along with the NHL's Centennial celebration vote were from Edmonton.

It was quite a decade, and for any of us who were alive and old enough to remember, what a time it was in the city. They were the moments in sport that transcend into your life. A goal, a win, a playoff series victory, and ultimately the Stanley Cup, connecting the real world with the sports world. 

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GENE'S BLOG: Welcome Strome

Off-season acquisition Ryan Strome will play against his former team on the Oilers upcoming road trip

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - This morning, the Edmonton Oilers left for New York. 

The start of a three-game stint in the tri-state area before they finish the road trip in Washington. It begins with a game against the New York Islanders. A first one between the two teams since their draft weekend deal that saw Edmonton send Jordan Eberle stateside and get Ryan Strome in return.

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GENE'S BLOG: Everything old is Nuge again

The resurgent offence of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a welcomed asset to the Oilers

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Looking at him, you wouldn't know or guess that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the longest-serving Edmonton Oiler.

There are no wrinkles on his face and there is certainly no grey in his hair. There's nothing about Nugent-Hopkins that makes you think age.

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GENE'S BLOG: Kailer Road Trip

In his latest blog, Gene Principe writes about Kailer Yamamoto and life on the road for the Edmonton rookie

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver were the Edmonton Oilers road stops in the pre-season. In the regular season, there was a short plane ride back to the West Coast before the team embarked on its first longer getaway of the season.

Chicago, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - in that order. Leave on a Wednesday, and come back on a Wednesday. It's nothing new really new to any of the Oilers, except for one: Kailer Yamamoto. The rookie is getting his first chance to live life on the road in the NHL.  

"It's the same, but different," said the quiet and well-spoken rookie. It is the same in that he's playing hockey. He's done it every fall and winter for as long as he can remember. Rink, hotel, bus over and over again. What's different is the addition of a plane and the locations. Trade small, homey, and heart-warming communities across the prairies and in the United States for large, upscale centres full of people and places to go. There has been a lot to experience for Yamamoto, which includes life on the road.

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GENE'S BLOG: Eriely Familiar

In his latest blog, Gene Principe talks about the connection Connor McDavid has with his old junior town in every stop along this three-game road trip

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

It must feel like old home week for Connor McDavid even though he's not anywhere near Toronto or his hometown of Newmarket. Instead, he and the Edmonton Oilers are weaving their way through a tough road trip that started out Thursday night with a thriller. A 2-1 OT win over Chicago. The opener of a tough three-game road trip that takes the team to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Along the way, every stop has a connection through players or proximity to where Connor played his junior hockey. 

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GENE'S BLOG: Hot Toddy

Sportsnet's Gene Principe blogs about Todd McLellan's coaching style

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Todd McLellan is a polite and pleasant man, but don't get him upset.

Don't get him mad or you get to see the other side of him. You need both sides when you're an NHL coach. I believe McLellan has mastered, or at least close to mastering, the dual personalities necessary to be a coach in this league or any major league sport. Understanding sometimes it's a pat on the back that works best, or a quiet word of encouragement or reinforcement.

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GENE'S BLOG: Fast-en your seatbelts

Connor McDavid's speed was on full display in Wednesday's home opener against the Flames

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - If you drive 40.9 km's an hour in a school or playground zone, you could end up with a speeding ticket in Edmonton. However, if you go that fast on the ice it could lead to what we saw Wednesday night in Edmonton's game against Calgary: Connor McDavid flying up the ice and flying by the Calgary Flames to score his second goal of the night. He had one before and he had one after but the one everyone was talking about was the goal where McDavid looked like he had Flames coming out of his feet or at least his skates. 

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid opens season with hat trick

 

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PRINCIPE: Carrying On

Sportsnet's Gene Principe blogs about Matt Benning's increased role this season

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

On Thursday, the Edmonton Oilers skated at the Rogers Place Community rink as the main ice surface was off limits because of a Nickelback concert. At the end of practice, Matt Benning was carrying 15-20 sticks back to the main room when he was intercepted by PR to do some interviews. He dropped the sticks, did the interview, and in the meantime the Oilers PR group - the nice guys that they are - had brought the sticks to the dressing room for Benning.

The next to be interviewed was Todd McLellan and as he finished, there was Benning again. This time he was carrying his teammates' sticks back to the community rink before turning right around and returning to the main room. Now that's a commitment to finishing what you started. 

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GENE'S BLOG: Advantage Edmonton

Penalty enforcement could favour the Oilers in 2017-18, Sportsnet's Gene Principe says

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - This past weekend I split my time between Edmonton Oilers camp and the Davis Cup. It was off to Rogers Place for hockey and then Northlands Coliseum for tennis. Apparently, I wasn't the only one as I spotted Darnell Nurse and Connor McDavid courtside at Dennis Shapovalov's match on Friday night.

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