| PREPPING FOR CALGARY |
In the surprisingly warm confines of Rexall Place, the Oilers followed up their thrilling come-from-behind win over the Blue Jackets with a short 11am practice.
In what has become the norm in recent weeks, injuries and illness kept seven players off the ice. Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios, Ryan Stone, Fernando Pisani, and Marc Pouliot continued to suffer from their various ailments, while Gilbert Brule remained out with the flu. Mike Comrie, who missed Thursday's morning skate due to a fever but played that night, was also absent.
"Mike is still sufferent a little bit of the after effects of being ill yesterday, and so he's staying home today," Head Coach Pat Quinn explained. "If Mike can't come down to Calgary tomorrow, then there's a good chance Jason (Strudwick) will be lined up at forward."
On the topic of Brule's status for this weekend's road games, Head Coach Pat Quinn was uncertain. "Our training staff said that he might join us on the trip in practice, but we haven't been confirmed of that yet.
"[The trainers] are very cautious with this, obviously -- as they should be," Quinn continued. "This seems to be a very serious thing. At the same time, they're probably looking at a lot of stuff here. It might not just be only the flu symptoms, although that's what we've been told at this point."
BRING ON BUCHY
With the Oilers line-up depleted, Assistant Coach Kelly Buchberger played an active role in a few powerplay drills. Although he was wearing a track suit and white ball cap, the former Oilers captain and Stanley Cup winner didn't look too out of place on the ice.
DUSTIN DOMINATES CONVERSATIONS
Dustin Penner's five-point performance the previous night was the topic du jour in the locker room after practice.
"We're proud of him, he's played great, but he hasn't really surprised anybody. We know how good he can be," captain Ethan Moreau said. "That's pro sports for you. It's amazing how things can turn around. And it shows you his mental strengths. It could went the other way and felt sorry for himself after everything -- after last year, the trade stuff."
Penner admitted he was overwhelmed by fan reaction, including a standing ovation after his second goal, and hopes to continue giving them something to cheer about.
"It was a pretty special moment," he said. "I wish I could recapture that feeling whenever I wanted just by snapping my fingers. Hopefully if I continue to play the way I have been, maybe those nights will be more frequent.
"My confidence is pretty high right now, but with that you have to worry that you're not bordering on thinking too offensively and being too content with everything. You've got to keep pushing."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com