| OILERS PREPARE FOR FLAMES
The Oilers regrouped this morning for a long practice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park. The team was split evenly between both rinks with six white, six blue and six maroon defencemen in each group. One side had all the expected players for tomorrow night’s game against Calgary here in Edmonton while the others are likely to be sidelined.
STACKED SQUAD EXPECTED FOR WEDNESDAY
Looking at the lineup prepping for tomorrow night, it looks like the Oilers will be dressing their strongest team of the preseason so far. Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Mike Comrie, Patrick O'Sullivan, Andrew Cogliano, Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and other top vets are slated to play.
Nikolai Khabibulin should get the start against a strong Calgary team that will likely include Miikka Kiprusoff, Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf among others however Jeff Deslauriers is also expected to dress. Final starting goaltender will be announced tomorrow morning.
JACQUES SKATES ON TOP LINE
On the top line, skating together was Horcoff, Hemsky and JF Jacques.
“I don’t change anything, I’m still going to play the same role I’m used to on the fourth line even if it’s on the first line. It doesn’t change anything for me. “ Jacques said when asked about playing on the top line.
Comrie, O’Sullivan and Stone formed the second line of forwards. As for the expected third line, Andrew Cogliano, Kip Brennan, and Ethan Moreau played together, and last but not least, Dustin Penner, Gilbert Brule and Robert Nilsson created the remaining line.
Defensive pairs included Sheldon Souray and Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov with Lubomir Visnovsky, and Jason Strudwick together with Ladislav Smid. In net Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk played with the expected game players for tomorrow however Khabibulin could very well get the start against Calgary. Final starter TBA.
After the first hour of practice, Quinn directed his group to move to the adjoining rink to combine groups. For 25 minutes, both groups blended and continued drills and situational plays. The fun then began at 11:25 when ALL players were given two pucks to go out and just play hockey. They looked like 10 year old boys playing pond hockey together. Grinning ear to ear, they fought for the puck, shot as much as possible and raised their sticks in victory when they scored.
QUINN TALKS ABOUT STRATEGIES “Our responsibility as coaches is to try to instill a method of play for us, and that’s been taking time. We’re still looking. The last five days are critical days, because we’ll be down to our numbers then. “
“But it’s still important for people to feel good. They’re here to be Oilers, and you don’t want to snuff that out. You don’t want to send the ones chosen to go back, to go back with no hope in their hearts because they want to be national leaguers.” Coach Quinn said after the two hours of practice.