CALGARY – The Edmonton Oilers are ready to start the season under a new head coach, but first they’ll have to get through the preseason, which begins tonight.
The Oilers will take on the Calgary Flames in a split squad exhibition game with the first of two contests taking place at 8 p.m. in Calgary.
“There are a lot of nerves that go into starting the season,” said Jordan Eberle, who is part of the Oilers roster in Calgary. “But there are a lot of guys in this room who haven’t played in the NHL and haven’t had a taste yet, so this is their first time.
“There are a lot of nerves that go into playing Calgary your first game but I think once you get your first few shifts under you, things kind of start to roll from there.”
For the new faces in the Oilers locker room, it’s exciting to finally be hitting the ice in game action.
“I’m really pumped,” said forward Derek Nesbitt. “The last couple of days have been really tough getting going and it’s nice to jump right into a game this quick, get that feel back and get ready for the season.”
A SURREAL SITUATION
For the Oilers, it’s a surreal experience skating in the Scotiabank Saddledome, which was victim of severe flooding earlier this summer. There was speculation, up until September, that the Flames arena would not be fit to play in when preseason came around.
However, the damages were fixed, the walls painted over and the arena is in playing condition.
“I live here during the summer so I got to see a lot of it,” said Oilers goaltender Jason LaBarbera. “Obviously, everyone saw the pictures of what it was like down here. They did a great job. It was pretty impressive for them to be able to turn it over as fast as they did. I know there was a lot of skepticism as far as if it was going to be ready in time for this game tonight.”
“You’ve seen some reports on it and then just around the room to see some of the pictures from the wreckage,” said Nesbitt. “This is my first time in this building but everyone seems to think it looks pretty nice, the new renovations, so they did a heck of a job.”
“I live here in the summer and was around the devastation of the floods,” said Eberle. “To see this rink come together like this… I didn’t think we’d be in here either. They’ve done a great job. Kudos to the men and women who put this together.”
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
The Edmonton Oilers begin their 2013 pre-season tonight when they play the Calgary Flames in a split squad match.
One Oilers squad will play at Rexall Place in Edmonton while the other will play at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Oilers hosted an intrasquad scrimmage yesterday to prep for their pre-season opener. The Edmonton Blue and White teams battled to a 3-3 tie in regulation and went to a shootout. The Blue squad took the 4-3 win courtesy of shootout goals by Linus Omark and Nail Yakupov.
14 Jordan Eberle 27 Boyd Gordon 28 Ryan Jones 46 Derek Nesbitt 47 Tyler Bilcke 48 Ryan Hamilton 55 Ben Eager 57 David Perron 67 Travis Ewanyk 68 Tyler Pitlick 89 Sam Gagner 96 Greg Chase
2 Jeff Petry 5 Ladislav Smid 15 Nick Schultz 36 Philip Larsen 80 Martin Marincin 81 Taylor Fedun
1 Jason LaBarbera 30 Richard Bachman
Eberle - Gagner - Hamilton Perron - Gordon - Jones Bilcke - Ewanyk - Nesbitt Eager - Acton - Chase
Smid - Petry Schultz - Fedun Marincin - Larsen
10 Corban Knight 11 Mikael Backlund 13 Mike Cammalleri 18 Matt Stajan 19 Blair Jones 20 Curtis Glencross 22 Lee Stempniak 23 Sean Monahan 48 Greg Nemisz 54 David Jones 57 Emile Poirier 79 Michael Ferland
5 Mark Giordano 7 TJ Brodie 49 John Ramage 50 Patrick Sieloff 55 Shane O’Brien 67 Ryan Culkin
There are reasons why the Calgary Flames made Sean Monahan the 6th overall pick in 2013 and he has been displaying those reasons for Flames fans at training camp this week.
Monahan scored four points in an intrasquad scrimmage yesterday with two goals and two assists in a 5-1 win for his team.
"Here's a big-sized centre that takes care of his game in the three zones,” Calgary Head Coach Bob Hartley said, according to the Flames website. “You can tell just by talking to him, by watching him that once you give him a mandate, he wants to do it as a pro. I think that's huge.
"Usually, first-year kids coming into camp, there’s still lots of kid left in them ... you can start judging their progression usually in their second camp. But with Sean, we can already see a very good progression, a very good understanding of the game."
The scouting report on Monahan was that whichever team drafted him was getting an intelligent and highly skilled centre with elite offensive abilities.
Monahan has suited up the past three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL, scoring 78 points each season. It’s that offensive ability that Monahan is displaying with the Flames as he attempts to make their roster at only 18 years-old. Veteran centre Matt Stajan raved about Monahan.
"He looks good," Stajan said, according to the Flames website. "He's a big kid, he's a little shy so far but I think today he scored a nice goal, showed his hands in front of the net, tucked a few nice goals in that second game. Playing in the middle against him, he does the little things right, lifting the stick and he's a little sneaky.
“As a centreman, you have to be. He's got a bright future and he's getting better and better every day and as he gets confidence, he'll keep getting better."
The Oilers will be sporting a new goaltender tonight as free agent pick up Jason Labarbera will don the blue and orange for the first time as a member of the Edmonton organization.
Labarbera was drafted by the New York Rangers in the third round, 66th overall, in 1998.
He has resided with the Phoenix Coyotes since 2009, serving as a back up. Last season, he played in 15 games and tallied a 2.64 goals against average with a save percentage of .923. On the Flames side, Joey MacDonald is slated to get the start.
MacDonald played in 21 games for the Flames last season, allowing 55 goals. He had a goals against of 2.87 and a save percentage of .902.
The Oilers Rookies and Flames Rookies battled at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C. on September 5. The Calgary prospects took that one in a decisive 5-2 victory.
The Oilers fell behind 3-0 in the first period, before rallying back to 3-2 by the end of the second period.
Our ‘Player to Watch’ from our above preview, Sean Monahan, scored 51 seconds into the third sparking the Flames to run away with the contest.
Ty Bilcke, Travis Ewanyk, Greg Chase and Martin Marincin all played in that game for the Oilers and will be trying to stop history from repeating itself in Calgary, tonight.