HOLTY’S BLOG: Oilers at the Memorial Cup

While the Condors may not be playing, this weekend begins an opportunity to catch some of the more youthful prospects in the Edmonton Oilers system.

Sure, we’d all rather the Condors have games this weekend, but as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog…

Oilers 2017 3rd round selection Stuart Skinner was lights out in the Western Hockey League Final. He made 31 saves en route to a 3-0 shutout of Everett in Game 6 to secure Swift Current’s first Memorial Cup appearance since 1993.

Before he got off the ice celebrating, Skinner signed a three-year entry level contract with the Oilers (kidding!), but it was fairly soon after. He would be eligible to turn pro next season.

Another Oilers prospect participating in the Memorial Cup is Cameron Hebig, who was a free agent signing by Edmonton back in December. He plays for the host team, the Regina Pats, who were eliminated by Swift Current a month ago, but since they’re the hosts, they get a berth in the Final Four.

Hebig will turn pro next season and had 32 points (11g-21a) in 26 games with the Pats after being acquired from Saskatoon where he had 58 points (30g-28a) in 40 games with the Blades.

The full Memorial Cup schedule can be found here. Each team plays three games and one team gets eliminated. The top team gets a bye to the final while #2 plays #3. Most of the games will be live on the NHL Network.

You can listen to me drone on and on about Oilers prospects or you could hear from a man who actually knows what he’s talking about as we welcome new Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft to Bakersfield on Tuesday, May 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott. The event is for Condors365 Members only, so all the more reason to become a member by clicking here.

Jay and his wife Jackie will be in town along with Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson and OEG’s VP of Communications Tim Shipton. It’ll be a good chance to chat with the new coach and what he expects for his team this season. Plus, it’s a good excuse to talk hockey.

Both conference finals series in the NHL are 2-1 after Vegas won Game 3 last night. I’m still sticking with my original prediction from before the playoffs started that Winnipeg and Washington will meet in the Cup Final. Wasted opportunity for the Jets last night though as they were the better team for the majority of that game. In the other series, Tampa Bay played as well they could in Game 3 and it’s hard to replicate that.

The AHL conference finals finally get underway on Friday. I’m not sure how anyone slows down Toronto, but Lehigh Valley will take a crack. I picked Texas before the season to win the Pacific Division simply because I thought Mike McKenna gave them solid goaltending, which they had not had in the past. That should be a good series with Rockford who has loaded up and is on a tear.

Lock of the week? Nobody gets past Justify in Saturday’s Preakness. Only eight entries and not really much of a challenge from some of the other bigger name horses coming out of the Kentucky Derby (Audible, Bolt D’Oro). So, that’s where you have to get exotic. Loyal readers of the blog know I’m all about value and life’s too short to bet the favorite. Justify is going to go off at something like 2/5. Maybe even worse. That’s awful value.

My two plays for Saturday:

Exacta box (5-7-8): Good Magic, Justify, Bravazo (rooting for this one to win it even though I think Good Magic is the only one in this race that can touch Justify)

Trifecta box (5-7-8-2): Good Magic, Justify, Bravazo, Lone Sailor (jockey change, got wedged in Kentucky early which won’t be a problem with only eight horses)

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and enters his eighth season in 2018-19. He is all in favor of states legalizing sports gambling. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@BakersfieldCondors.com with questions, comments, or blog ideas.