Photo by Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and edmontonoilers.com
First impressions, second looks and, perhaps, final chances. Hockey season officially returns for 2010-2011, with the kick-off game featuring two Northwest Division rivals in the 2010 Young Stars Tournament; a chance for prospects to show what they have early on in preparation for main camp and the season ahead.
After a long summer following the disappointing 2009-2010 season, Oilers fans will get their first glimpse of the future Sunday night when the Edmonton Oilers Rookies face-off against the Vancouver Canucks Rookies at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, BC.
After reporting to Rexall Place on Friday morning for fitness and medical testing and taking part in a team practice on Saturday afternoon in Kelowna, anticipation for the tournament is high for the Oilers Rookies:
With a late afternoon game to start off the Young Stars Rookie Tournament, the Oilers opted out of a morning skate for game-day players and instead practiced eight players who won't be in the line-up vs. the Canucks.
The players who skated and thus won't play in the tournament opener were Jordan Bendfeld, James Livingston, Drew Czerwonka
, Dominik Schlumpf, Chase Schaber, Dallas Ehrhardt, and Mike Thomas.
Goalies Bryan Pitton and Tyler Bunz
also participated in the practice but there is no word on who will back-up Olivier Roy
, who was confirmed as the Oilers starter.
The skate did not progress perfectly. Midway through practice, Ehrhardt slid into the back boards, collapsed to the ice, and immediately yelled out in pain. The young defenceman favoured his right knee and grimaced during an on-ice assessment by team trainers and while being helped off the ice.
Oilers Head Coach Tom Renney had no update on the injury when he addressed the media after practice.PUMPED FOR PUCK DROP
While many fans will be focusing on the performances of Taylor Hall
, Jordan Eberle
, and Magnus Paajarvi
, the rest of the Oilers rookies are equally excited to show what they can do.
As the man between the pipes, Roy is eager to make a great impression.
"I just have one game tonight and I just try to focus on that game, not to look too far," he said. "I just want to have a good game tonight and see what happens after."
Like many of his teammates, Roy is a fan of this year's Rookie Camp format, which includes the Young Stars tournament.
"I think it's going to be very exciting," he said. "Last year we just played against the University, they were pretty good, but I look forward to playing against other guys in the same situation as us tonight so I think it's going to be an exciting game."COACH'S COMMENTS
|Todd Nelson |
The man behind the Oilers bench tonight will be Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson. Although Nelson admits he's still learning the ins and outs of his rookie squad, he is excited to see how they perform and wants to come out with a win.
"I think the biggest thing from our coaching staff and management is just to take a look at the players and how they do in the competitive environment playing against other good prospects," he explained. "The kids are very excited and so are we. There's going to be some nerves today but it's going to be a pretty fun time tonight."WEBCAST STARTS AT 5PM MT
Even if you can't make it to Penticton to watch tonight's game, you can catch all the action right here at edmontonoilers.com. The puck drops at 5:00pm MT.Sunday's Pre-game Audio:Saturday's Post-Practice Audio:Saturday's Video:Friday's Audio:Friday's Video:
Recently introduced and highly-touted prospects Jordan Eberle
, Magnus Paajarvi
, and Taylor Hall
will anchor the top two Oilers lines in the opening matchup of the tournament. While Eberle is now a veteran of the tournament with having participated in the past two rookie events in Camrose and Leduc, Paajarvi and Hall will be making their camp and game action debuts in an Oilers uniform. A mix of skill, size, experience, and recent draftees will make up the Oilers lines. Here's what they used on Saturday with the full lineup expected to be confirmed by Sunday morning.
Dallas Erhardt - Dominik Schlumpf
* - Petry left practice injured but it's not believed to be serious.
Tournament packages, which include a ticket to each of the eight games, are available for purchase, starting at $66
plus applicable fees. Tournament ticket packages are available online at www.valleyfirstTIX.com
, by phone at 1-877-763-2849, or in person at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office. Single game tournament tickets are also available.
If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch the webcast LIVE here on edmontonoilers.com. Gene Principe will call the game with colour commentator Mike Benton and hosts Kristin Reid and Tom Gazzola. OILERS ROSTERFORWARDS
51 Phillipe Cornet
52 Curtis Hamilton
53 Cameron Abney
54 Chris Vande Velde
55 Jordan Bendfeld
56 Teemu Hartikainen
59 Mike Thomas
63 Kristians Pelss
64 Milan Kytnar
66 Ryan Martindale
68 Tyler Pitlick
69 James Livingston
71 Drew Czerwonka
74 Chase Shaber
78 Jordan Eberle
82 Magnus Paajarvi
84 Taylor HallDEFENCEMEN
39 Johan Motin
48 Alex Plante
58 Jeff Petry
60 Brandon Davidson
61 Jeremie Blain
70 Martin Marincin
72 Dominik Schlumpf
73 Nolan Toigo
75 Dallas EhrhardtGOALTENDERS
1 Tyler Bunz
30 Olivier Roy
50 Bryan Pitton
WHO TO WATCH:
• Recently departed from the NCAA’s University of North Dakota, forward Chris Vande Velde will be looking to make an immediate impression after finishing the 2009-2010 season with the former AHL affiliate of the Oilers, the Springfield Falcons (recording one assist in two games played). Vande Velde has shown significant progression in his career is a responsible, two-way forward with UND and hopes to begin his career as a pro on a strong note in Penticton. He will be counted on to display his strong two-way game as he aims to play against some of the Canucks' top offensive forwards. > View Vande Velde’s career stats and bio
• Drafted in 2009, 6'0" goaltender Olivier Roy
will be continuing his junior career with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 2010-2011. With an excellent opportunity to make Team Canada for the annual World Junior Hockey Championships in January, Roy will want to start his season off on a strong note. As is Roy's most valuable asset, his quick lateral movement will be something to watch tonight. A strong performance from Roy could mean a frustrating night for the Canucks forwards in and around the crease. > View Roy’s career stats and bio
• Naturally, Edmonton's trio of top prospects will be keyed on tonight. Taylor Hall
, Magnus Paajarvi
, and Jordan Eberle
will be counted on for offense as they anchor the Oilers' top two forward lines. Both Paajarvi and Hall will don the copper and blue for the first time in their careers, while Eberle will represent the veteran influence of this rookie event. All three have already established themselves as fan-favourites, so the trio will undoubtedly be ready to peform.
> View stats and bio: Taylor Hall
, Jordan Eberle
, Magnus PaajarviFor more information on the Oilers prospects, visit Edmonton's Young Stars Preview page.
39 Cody Hodgson
40 Jordan Shroeder
42 Bill Sweatt
43 Dan Gendur
48 Stefan Scheider
50 Matt Fraser
51 Kellan Tochkin
53 Prab Rai
54 Aaron Volpatti
56 Alex Friesen
58 Henry James
59 Jordan Taylor
60 Pierre-Oliver Morin
69 Brad Smith
71 Steven Anthony
74 Kevin ClarkDEFENCEMEN
47 Yann Sauve
52 Taylor Ellington
61 Kevin Connauton
63 Adam Polasek
64 Evan Oberg
65 Sawyer Hannay
68 Chris Tanev
72 David Fischer
73 Kris FredheimGOALTENDERS
75 Michael Houser
76 Lack EddieWHO TO WATCH:
• In what will surely be a game of dynamic offensive ability from both sides, the need for a positionally strong puck moving defenseman will be critical in the opening match of the tournament. Kevin Connauton's best asset is his ability to handle the puck and make plays under pressure. On the powerplay, he can be especially lethal with his tremendous vision and patience on the blueline. A strong game from Connauton could mean a good night of puck possession for the Canucks Rookies. > View Connauton’s career stats and bio
• 2009 draft pick Jordan Schroeder finished the 2009-2010 season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose where he had immediate success in his brief 11-game stint with the club; he recorded four goals and nine points, and hopes his early pro success will translate to his first NHL camp. In a game that's sure to feature high-flying and creative offense from both sides, Schroeder's vision and instinctiveness should be a tremendous asset to the Canucks Rookies' offensive game. > View Schroeder’s career stats and bioFor more information on the Canucks prospects, visit Vancouver's Young Stars Preview page.Authors: Ryan Dittrick & Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.comStay tuned to edmontonoilers.com throughout the week, as we will provide live game updates, post-game stories and reaction, as well off-day features to bring you the most comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Young Stars Tournament.