Oilers Watch: People of power

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The Hockey News’ upcoming 100 People of Power and Influence edition is one of the most talked about issues we publish each year. Whether they admit it or not, the big players – on and off the list – in the hockey world love to see how our staff has ranked their impact and current standing in the game.

I’m not going to reveal in this space which members of the Oilers organization are on the list; you’ll have to pick up that issue (on sale Dec. 22nd) to discover who’s made our cut.

However, I don’t mind providing my own rankings of who holds the most sway in Edmonton these days.

1. Daryl Katz. What, you were expecting Rae Dawn Chong perhaps? Katz is the chief benefactor of The Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

2. Kevin Lowe. Lowe may have vacated the GM title to Steve Tambellini this season, but don’t kid yourself – his is still a very potent opinion when Oilers brass convenes to plot strategy.

3. Whoever is playing well in Edmonton’s net. As embattled coach Craig MacTavish has demonstrated this season, personal preferences and/or contract status means little in deciding who will be between the pipes on any particular night.

4. (Three-way tie) Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky and Andrew Cogliano. I’m sure there are many downsides to being fabulously talented, notably wealthy and 25 years old or younger, but as someone who is marginally talented, notably non-wealthy and 36 years or older, I certainly can’t see it. Goaltending aside, as this trio of forwards goes, so too will the Oilers in the years to come.

5. Chris Pronger’s legacy. Don’t believe me? Well, just tap the person next to you and whisper the following into their ear: “You know, I think Pronger is really just a misunderstood, delicate soul who deserves forgiveness.” Then sit back – while protecting your head and any other sensitive body areas – and marvel at the anger the mere mention of his name still inspires. Now that’s power.

236. Dustin Penner. How the mightily paid have fallen.

This column also appears in the Edmonton Metro newspaper.

Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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