| OILERS vs BLUES: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
12 Oilers took to the ice for morning skate at Rexall Place Thursday, including Mike Comrie and Gilbert Brule. Both forwards will dress for tonight's game, the first appearance in seven games for Brule and 31 for Comrie.
"It's been tough to be out and away from the team any time, no matter what we're going through," Brule said after the skate. "I always want to be playing and being around the guys, but I was out and not doing much. But I am feeling better now, feeling good and back to normal."
Despite reports claiming he was battling his fourth bout of the flu this season, Brule said it was "just some stomach problems."
Comrie's health situation was more severe: in mid-November, the Edmonton native was diagnosed with mononeucleosis and went nearly two months without stepping foot on the ice. He started practicing with the team early last week and is looking forward to contributing tonight.
"I think when you're in a situation like this, the biggest thing is to create some energy and hopefully generate some chances," Comrie said. "The first few shifts are important to try to get your legs into the game. I'm playing with some guys that are creative (Brule and Ryan Potulny) and hopefully we can make some plays and get the puck in St. Louis' zone and do what we do."
Head Coach Pat Quinn expects Comrie and Brule to play their own roles tonight.
"Mike's a different player," Quinn explained. "We've seen him as a competitive player over his career, and he competes by getting those loose pucks and being an opportunist and making some offensive things happen.
"Bru, on the other side, is a developing player. He's got a terrific shot, he knows how to use it. His challenge is consistency, I think, and playing at a level that meets a good standard every night."
Two in, two out
With Brule and Comrie back in the line-up, the Oilers coaches selected Patrick O'Sullivan and Zack Stortini as healthy scratches tonight. The decision, Quinn said, was made for different reasons.
"One of them certainly, Patrick, hasn't met the expectations of this coaching staff the last little while. We think he can be a better player. With Zack, he gives you the best every night, so there's lots of different reasons why you make decisions."
"It's not rocket science here. If there's 22 guys on your roster, two don't play," Quinn continued. "This is a place to start. It doesn't mean it's forever. We've got two guys that are ready to come in, and we want them to play, so we had to choose two ... Who's to say the two guys coming in are going to be any good? I don't know. We're going to have to see on that."
JD to start
In net, the Oilers will start Jeff Deslauriers for the second consecutive game. After allowing a goal only 44 seconds into Tuesday night's contest vs. the Blackhawks, the 25-year-old goaltender pulled himself together and finished with 33 saves.
"They're at a point now where they both need to play and we're hoping that they continue to develop," Quinn explained. "I made a decision for tonight's goaltender based on yesterday's practice. One I thought practiced well and one I thought didn't practice so well."
After dropping a 3-2 decision in Vancouver Wednesday night, the Blues held an optional skate at Rexall Place Thursday morning. Only a handful of players took to the ice.
Favourite Things continues
The sixth round of the Oilers Favourite Things charity auctions continues at tonight's game, with gift baskets by Jean-Francois Jacques, Ales Hemsky & Ryan Stone up for bid. BLUES 2 - OILERS 1
Edmonton and St. Louis battled closely through Thursday night's contest, entering each intermission even on the scoreclock. In the final frame, the Oilers limited the Blues to only one shot, but that was all it took: Alex Steen's snapshot two minutes into the third period proved to be the game-winner and the Oilers suffered a 2-1 loss, their 12th in a row.
Dustin Penner scored Edmonton's only goal at 7:44 of the second period, while goalie Jeff Deslauriers finished with 18 saves.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com