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At the Rink blog

Eager back in lineup, faces old friends

Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 1:19 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Eager back in lineup, faces old friends
Following Edmonton’s Sunday skate at the United Center, Oilers coach Tom Renney said that former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager – who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010 – will return to the lineup against his former team (7 p.m. ET)

Eager was a healthy scratch Friday night in Detroit. Renney, however, hasn’t made his mind up about who will come out of the lineup to make room. The thinking among Edmonton reporters is that Lennart Petrell will be the odd man out, but after two straight losses it could by a number of guys.

Renney said he will think about it Sunday afternoon and make a game-time decision. Eager played against the Boston this past Thursday, but Renney said it wasn’t anything he did in that 6-3 loss that prompted his exit from the lineup against the Red Wings the next night.

“I don’t want guys out too long,” Renney said. “We’ve got a young team here and players have to play. It might not be what they’re not doing out on the ice (when they get scratched). It’s who’s out and who needs to get back in.”

The Oilers are looking forward to wrapping up this six-game road trip and hoping to end their two-game losing streak. They’ve dropped three of the first five on the trip.

“Our last really, really good game from start to finish for us was (vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 3),” Renney said. “That was because nobody really cared, other than making sure we all played off the same page and just did a really good job of everything together. We need to get back to that.”

Since that game, Edmonton has averaged just two goals a game and won just once in four outings. Simplifying things against the Blackhawks is what the Oilers are hoping will get them back on track.

“Sometimes when you’re squeezing the stick, whether you’re young or old or a forward or D-man … even a goaltender, you go a little outside of yourself and outside of what’s required of you within the team concept to have success,” Renney said. “That can be damaging.”

Here's the projected lineup for the Oilers tonight:

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle or Alex Hemsky
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Alex Hemsky or Jordan Eberle
Ryan Jones - Sam Gagner - Eric Belanger
Ben EagerAnton LanderLennart Petrell or Magnus Paajarvi

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Corey Potter - Andy Sutton
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk
Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic