Edmonton Journal article (Face of Oil Kings plays final game?May 25 2012 at 7:10 AM
No score for this post
|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Face of Oil Kings plays final game?
Captain Pysyk may suit up for Sabres' AHL team next season
By John MacKinnon, Edmonton Journal
May 25, 2012
In the end, Mark Pysyk looked mighty weary after his team was eliminated from the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Thursday night.
Which was hardly surprising. The Oil Kings captain had carried the Western Hockey League franchise for the last five years, really, not just in this breakthrough season.
Like his teammates, the 20-year-old Pysyk was sad at how a splendid 50-victory WHL season ended, which was normal.
"It's tough, there's not much we can say to the question you can't really ask, right?" the Sherwood Park native said after what was possibly his final game as a member of the Oil Kings, a 6-1 loss to the Shawinigan Cataractes.
The Oil Kings believed they were primed to rebound from a pair of back-to-back losses in this tournament, but they simply didn't have it against the host Shawinigan Cataractes.
"I thought we started out pretty well, but things weren't going our way," said Pysyk, a Buffalo Sabres first-round draft pick who may well be headed for the Rochester farm club next season. "They capitalized on every single mistake we made.
"Give them credit, they did a great job."
If it was Pysyk's last game for the Oil Kings, it was a bitter ending to an impressive junior career, and long, productive final season.
Pysyk, the first Oil King ever to play for Canada's national junior team, helped Team Canada win a bronze medal at the world junior hockey championship and is a strong candidate to the club's most valuable player for the third straight season.
He has been the face of the franchise almost since the Oil Kings selected the Sherwood Park native third overall in the 2007 WHL bantam draft.
The Oil Kings believe as many as 20 of their 25-man roster will be back next season, which is encouraging, but not the immediate focus, obviously.
Those that won't be back include overagers Jordan Peddle, Rhett Rachinski, for a time the Oil Kings captain, and Tyler Maxwell.
Winger Kristians Pelss, who already has signed a three-year deal with the Oilers, may well be headed for their top farm club in Oklahoma City next season.
"This team we had this year wasn't even favoured to do much this year, let alone come to the Memorial Cup," said Rachinski, an Edmonton native and a two-way stalwart for the club for five years.
"We have a lot to be proud of in our room.
"The guys like me and Mark (Pysyk) that have been through all the bad years, Mark deserves the best and I wish him luck in the future."
The painful present was very much with Pysyk after the game, though.
"It's frustrating in the fact that we came all this way and didn't play our best," he said.
"It's definitely going to sting for a while, but the other teams are good.
"It's not like we just didn't play our best. Other teams forced us to do things that we weren't used to."
The Oil Kings probably will have to get used to not having the versatile, all-around defenceman next season, which will be a tough adjustment for them.
"Who knows what's going to happen next year," Pysyk said.
"I could be back, I could be in Rochester, who knows?
"If it is, it was a good year, and we did a lot of steps in the right direction for the organization. Hopefully, if I'm not back, they can win the Memorial Cup next year."
The City of Edmonton will hold a civic reception for the Oil Kings on Wednesday, a celebration of a splendid season, just not a national championship.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
- Edmonton Journal article ("It's a crappy feeling" - Oil Kings' goalie Brossoit) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:14 AM
- Edmonton Journal art (Cataractes romp to 6-1 win, eliminate Oil Kings from Memorial Cup) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:18 AM
- Edmonton Journal article (Many positives for Oil Kings despite early Memorial Cup exit) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:22 AM
- StarPhoenix article (Blades headed to T.O.) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:25 AM
- Leader Post article (Shewfelt enjoys new challenges) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:27 AM
- Vancouver Province article (Rutherford wins again) - N. W. Bruin on May 25, 7:34 AM