Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin arrived in Edmonton yesterday and had his first official duties as an Oiler today with fitness testing.
Khabibulin comes from a team much like the Oilers in the Chicago Blackhawks. The 'Hawks are led by a number of young stars while the Oilers have a talented young core as well hoping for a breakthrough season.
"There's a lot of similarities here, I think," said the netminder. "This team has a little bit more of the veteran guys."
Khabibulin replaces Dwayne Roloson in goal this year. Roloson played outstanding last season and the goaltender was asked if he feels pressure as a result.
"I think there's always pressure on the goalies no matter where you go. When you play up in Canada it's a little bit more," he said. "At the same time, when you play up in Canada it's a lot of fun, too."
SOUR PATCH PENNER
When asked today about his off-ice training, Dustin Penner remarked what he missed the most with his strict off-season diet.
"Sour Patch Kids, that's a favourite of mine. If they're watching hopefully (I can get) a sponsorship deal," he joked.
The 6'4" winger noted that his program worked - he's coming to camp in the best shape of his NHL career.
COMRIE TAKES A NUMBER
When Mike Comrie arrived at Oilers training camp this morning, he found that his familiar number - 89 - was taken by new teammate Sam Gagner. In its place, Comrie is wearing number 91.
The number was assigned by the Oilers and Comrie could potentially change it at some point before the regular season begins. He has no interest in Gagner's 89 but did wear 39 in junior and college. That number is currently being worn by Chris Minard. QUINN SPEAKS
In his first official day as the team's head coach, Pat Quinn spoke to the Edmonton media.
"Without the masks and helmets they all look a little bit different. Almost like hockey school I'm going to ask them to put tape on their helmet (with their names on it)," Quinn chuckled when asked about his familiarity with the squad.
"We're going to practice with three groups here," he said. "With five games in six nights after only two days in practice we're going to keep a lot of bodies around because I really don't want to put those guys at serious risk."
"Maybe after the first Islanders game (September 16 at Rexall Place) we'll think about paring it down"
LINE COMBINATIONS AND SUNDAY, MONDAY ICE TIMES
All practices tomorrow and Monday will be open to the public so pay attention to this next section if you want to see your favourite Oiler on the ice tomorrow:
Team A will be skating on Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The line combos will be as follows: