Oilers sporting more experience this season
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 3:13 AM
The Tulsa Oilers are going with more experience for 2012-13.
Members of the media were introduced to a lot of new faces at Media Day on Tuesday at the Oilers Ice Center.
Only 10 former Oilers return, if you count veteran David Alexandre Beauregard, who last played for Tulsa in 2009-10.
Seven new players have been signed and only four are rookies as opposed to last year's team which sported a Central Hockey League-high nine first year players.
"We have a lot more experience than in the past, more leadership and less rookies," said Oilers coach Bruce Ramsay. "With the NHL lockout and the new rules with our rival ECHL where they don't honor our contracts anymore, it means players can jump ship when they want to at any time. If we had a lot of young players they could leave at any time, where with a little older guys I think they will be a little more committed to staying in Tulsa the whole season."
Ramsay has worked hard in the off-season to build a more veteran team that is strong on offense and defense and that he hopes will compete for a CHL championship.
"We have some offensive capabilities," Ramsay said. "We have three strong offensive lines. Our defense is strong but I am trying to make it stronger.
"I think we have a great goaltender in Ian Keserich and I am real excited about our rookie goaltender Dan Bakala from Bemidji State. He has a bright future ahead of him."
After winning both of their preseason exhibition games two weeks ago, the Oilers opened their season last Friday at Wichita, a day earlier than originally scheduled. Quad City was unable to make the trip to Wichita for the host Thunder's opener. The Oilers responded to the last-minute trip with a 4-3 victory.
The Thunder got even the next night, hammering the Oilers 8-2 and sending them home with a 1-1 record.
"There are a lot of positives," Ramsay said of the opening weekend. "The first game we went into a situation where we were not expected to play. It was tough going into that building. Wichita was the regular-season champions last year, and they have a lot of their players back. I was very proud of our guys going in there in our first game and coming out with a victory. We did not play our best, but it is early in the season.
"The next night we made a lot of mistakes that we better not make again. We just gave them a lot of goals. We gave up odd-man rushes."
When the Oilers play at the BOK Center on Friday in their home opener with Quad City, the team will be short a couple of players, but that is not expected to be a problem.
"I released a couple of players yesterday," Ramsay said. "I did not think they were ready to play at this level, but there will be some new players in this week.
"I want to be stronger up the middle and I am trying to fix that right now with the new players," explained Ramsay. "On defense, we still need some work. It will be a work in progress for some of our players, but we are a lot deeper overall, and I like what we have."
Many of the players have yet to set foot on the BOK Center ice and are eager to get moved in for the season and play in front of the hometown fans.
"We have not been to the BOK yet to practice, so we want to get down there and get on the ice," Ramsay said. "Getting on home ice and showing our fans what we can do is going to be great on Friday night."
Original Print Headline: Oilers bet on veterans
Vs. Quad City
7:35 p.m. Friday
At Quad City
7:05 p.m. Saturday
Vs. Fort Worth
4:05 p.m. Sunday