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The Team Today: Back on Ice

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers


The Oilers squad joined back this morning for practice after a well deserved day off yesterday. Patrick O'Sullivan looked to be in full strength and is expected to play tomorrow night against the Ducks. Hemsky was back on the ice with the team today and although will not be ready until next season, is happy just to be back with the team on the ice and hoping for a quick recovery.

Devan Dubnyk also took part in the morning skate however did not look quite himself and admits that he is hardly at 100%. He is taking it day by day and hopes to get back between the pipes sooner than later.

One notable observation is that Sam Gagner did start practice with the team but left pretty early. There is no confirmed report yet but Quinn has commented that he feels it is a hip injury that he has been battling with for awhile and that O'Sullivan stepping in might help the situation in a big way if Sam cannot play tomorrow.

"I don't have the report yet," said Quinn. "But he did leave early and I do know that it is an injury that he has been fighting for awhile in his hip."


Patrick O'Sullivan joined the Oilers at Rexall today for a full team practice. He has officially been medically cleared to play in tomorrow night's game against the Anaheim Ducks.

" We felt that he had quite a bit of time off so we wanted to test him on the ice a little bit and see where he was at conditionally," said Pat Quinn. "He's had two or three practices now so he's probably ready to come in."

O'Sullivan commented after practice that he felt ready and could have played against the Canucks. He said that it's managable and he's good to go.

""Either I play or I don't," said O'Sullivan. "It's not going to get any better unless I stop playing. It's ok to play and I want to play. It's one of those things where it's going to take time to heal and playing hockey isn't going to help but we'll be done in a couple weeks and it'll be ok."


After being hit hard by a flu bug on Monday night and unable to report to the bench to face the Canucks on Tuesday night, Dubnyk returned to the ice today for practice.

"I feel better than I have in the last few days but still not feeling great," said Dubnyk. "Just tired and my stomach doesn't feel too great but it's good to get back on the ice and hopefully it continues to get better.

This flu bug definitely did not come at the best time for Dubnyk . He was arguably playing some of his best hockey coming off back to back wins and most likely heading into his third.

"It's never good timing  to feel like this," Dubnyk said. "Obviously not great being in the situation that I was in but
it's one of those things that is completely out of my control."

Author: Kristi Hennessy |, with files from Bob Stauffer


The Oilers held an optional practice Tuesday morning, with 14 skaters taking to the ice. Notable additions were defenceman Dean Arsene, who was called up Monday afternoon as a replacement for Theo Peckham, and forward Ales Hemsky, who continues to rehab from his shoulder surgery.

But perhaps the most newsworthy item from the skate concerned goaltending. While
Jeff Deslauriers manned one of the nets, Devan Dubnyk -- who won the Oilers past two games and was expected to start tonight vs. Vancouver -- was absent from practice.

Head Coach Pat Quinn later confirmed that Dubnyk is sick with flu-like symptoms and, after a blood test confirmed the bug is contagious, was told to stay home.

"We're currently trying to make some arrangements to get someone in, otherwise we're going to dress him."

Edmonton's go-to goalies from earlier this season are unable to make game time.
Bryan Pitton  is on the east coast with the Falcons in Springfield, Mass., while Oil King Torrie Jung has left town due to the end of the WHL regular season. The University of Alberta 'tenders are at CIS Nationals in Thunder Bay, ON.

Quinn admitted that he doesn't know who could potentially fill the back-up position.

"The search is out," he said. "We don't have an answer yet and that's why Dubs might still have to come to the arena and then we'll figure out."


Dubnyk is the latest Oiler to fall victim to the illnesses and injuries that have plagued the team this season.

Last game vs. San Jose, defenceman
Theo Peckham separated his shoulder on a hit by Douglas Murray, forcing the club to call up Dean Arsene.

"I knew there was a guy at my back and I just tried to brace myself for the hit. I didn't know exactly who it was, if I had known it was Murray, I probably would have braced myself a little bit more," Peckham recalled. "But I understand what he's trying to do -- he's trying to finish his check. I would have done the same thing and it's part of the game.

"I've been hurt a lot this year so it's just to work as hard as I can to get this back to 100% and try to go from there."

This is Arsene's second call up of the season, and the 29-year-old is eager to make the move permanent.

"It's one of those things, when you go down you're not sure if you're ever going to be able to get a chance to come back up, so I'm pretty fortunate and pretty happy to be here," he said.

"Right now, I'm obviously playing for a contract and trying to show that I can play here and be an everyday player. For me, I take it one day at a time like I always have whenever I come up here and hopefully that will last the rest of the year, but it's one of those things: one game, and I try to make the most of it."


An hour before puck drop, the Oilers confirmed that Dubnyk would not be healthy enough to play and signed University of Calgary goaltender Nathan Deobald to an amateur tryout. Deobald, 26, took to the ice for warm-up and manned the bench during the game.


For the third straight game, the Oilers jumped out to an early two-goal lead vs. a statistically superior opponent, and for the third straight game, they rode strong goaltending to defy the standings and hold on for two points.

Tom Gilbert and Robert Nilsson capitalized on a shaky start for Vancouver's Robert Luongo with first-period goals, while Andrew Cogliano added another marker in the second. Jeff Deslauriers finished with 31 saves -- including a handful of unbelievable stops -- to seal a 3-2 win, the Oilers third in a row.
Author: Jen Sharpe |, with files from Bob Stauffer
MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2010


Fresh from Sunday's confident victory over San Jose, the Oilers held a full team practice at Rexall Place Monday morning.

The first player out was Ryan Jones, who hit the ice in a track suit and fired some shots on net. Jones injured his right knee March 5 vs. Minnesota and continues on his road to recovery.

Then, as the rest of the team filed out for practice, Ales Hemsky emerged from the locker room and participated in his first skate since since suffering a season-ending shoulder injury November 26th. Although he participated in the drills, his 'no contact' grey jersey signalled that he is not ready to return to action.

"It's not a question if I want to play, I'm not ready to play," Hemsky explained. "The shoulder is not healed enough to get any body check and stuff like that. If I can take the time and just heal 100% for next year, I will take it."


Hemsky wasn't the only injured Oiler to skate Monday. After skating with the team for the past few days, Patrick O'Sullivan stated that he's ready to return to the line-up Tuesday night vs. Vancouver.

"I've been working pretty hard for the past week. I'm not 100% sure yet but I think there's a good chance I'll play tomorrow and I'm happy about that," he said.

O'Sullivan's injury was a painful and gory one. March 9 vs. Ottawa, the forward received a slash to his left hand. The blow destroyed the nail on his ring finger and sent him to the operating room, where doctors replaced the nail with a metal plate.

"When I got hit, the nail pretty much exploded. It's supposed to stabilize my finger and protect the tissue underneath, which was also damaged," he explained. "It's one of the most painful injuries I've ever had. It's kind of a freak accident -- there wasn't even a penalty on the play."

Patrick O'Sullivan's Terminator-esque injured finger. Right click and choose 'view image' if you'd like a higher-resolution version.
O'Sullivan admits that he's still in pain but added that no further damage can be done and has been cleared to play.

"At this point, it's either I play or just forget about it for the season," he said. "I've got a brace that I'm going to wear in my glove. It's uncomfortable and it's going to bother me, but like I said, I want to play."

The injury is among the latest that has plagued the Oilers this season.

"That's kind of the way the year has gone for our team, so many injures and bad luck," O'Sullivan said. "It's frustrating. I think everybody's disappointed with what's happened, and then you get an injury towards the end of the year, it makes it even harder."


While positive things are happening on the Oilers front lines, fresh injuries continue to plague the blue line. Late in Sunday's game vs. San Jose, Theo Peckham seperated his shoulder after a check by Shark Douglas Murray.

The rookie defenceman is out for the remainder of the season, and as a result, the club called up Dean Arsene from the Springfield Falcons.
Author: Jen Sharpe |, with files from Dan Tencer

Injured forward Ryan Jones fires a few pucks before the rest of the team practices Monday, March 22, 2010.
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