Following roster cuts to begin Day 6 at Oilers Training Camp, the 54 players remaining hit the ice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park for a brisk, one-hour practice. RELEASE: Oilers Trim Roster
Joining the squad was Andy Sutton
, who made an appearance yesterday with the Black Aces, but skated in a more regular role today when his group took to the sheet at 10:45am.
“It was great to be back out there today and it's good to be back in competition mode and out of hospital mode,” he said.
Sutton had missed time early due to the birth of his daughter on Sep. 17, but is eager to be back battling with the team as the pre-season schedule rolls along.
The 6’6”, 245-pound rearguard spent 2010-11 with the Anaheim Ducks, playing in only 39 games and recording four assists and +1 rating.
“Probably the same as any other time,” he said when asked about the transition to a new team and new city. “Just take the extra time when you have it to try and figure out Edmonton a little bit.
“Same thing, try to spend a little extra time around the rink and get to know the guys a little bit and try to get a bit more comfortable.”
Sutton, 36, comes into this season with something to prove. As a physical, responsible and aggressive two-way blueliner, he’s driven to establish himself once more, both on the ice and in the locker room.
“I was always have high expectations for myself,” he explained. “I want to provide solid play for the team and be a good leader for the young guys.
“I haven't talked to Tom (Renney) yet. It's obviously his decision, but there hasn't been a discussion yet about when I’ll play.
“I'm still trying to get my legs under me. I'll be ready when he needs me.”
“There's no question he's an imposing man; he's a big guy, obviously,” Renney added. “He knows his way around an NHL rink, so he's got a great presence.
“Having coached against him in other situations around the league, I know what he looks like on the ice, and what kind of an impact he can have on a game.
“My hope is that he can do that for us and have a calming effect, too, by the nature of the way he approaches the game. He doesn't get too rattled and he keeps things simple.” LATE ADDITION - HORDICHUK ON TUESDAY'S TILT Darcy Hordichuk
was originally slated to play in Saskatoon vs. the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday, but plans changed when the Wild revealed they would be playing tough-guy Matt Kassian at Rexall Place.
It took only seven minutes for Hordichuk to make his mark. He lined up and crushed Minnesota’s Nate Prosser, causing Kassian to step in and challenge the Oilers’ enforcer.
Hordichuk, 6’1” and 211 pounds, gave up three inches and 21 pounds in the tilt. Even so, he hung on well and landed several shots, drawing even against one of the league’s toughest.
“You hope that you land at least one,” Hordichuk explained. “When those guys lock you out, they know how to use their reach. You watch some of [Kassian’s] fights, and he's beat up guys like Jody Shelley, guys that are the heavies in the league.
“Usually, assuming it was someone else, I'd stay in the pocket and try to switch up and take a couple. But I've got some respect for him, for what he's done against some of the other guys that I've fought.
“It's pre-season. Now the next time I fight him, I'll change things up a little bit.”
Hordichuk signed a one-year, $825,000 deal on Jul. 1, replacing and upgrading on the toughness of Zack Stortini, Steve MacIntyre and J-F Jacques. The 31-year-old winger inked in Edmonton because he knew the role he can provide was lacking and that he would get an excellent opportunity in the NHL’s Northwest Division.
“Every night I go in the lineup, I know there's always a tough guy on the other side,” he said. “It's a matter of me fighting for a reason. Every game I'm going to go out there and run around, and that's why every team has a heavyweight.
“It was a good job on [Kassian’s] part to try and slow me down, but at the end of the day, I still think I had six or seven hits.”
It’s unclear whether or not Hordichuk will get the opportunity play his former club tomorrow evening when the Oilers go head-to-head with the Vancouver Canucks, but there’s no question that he’d like to.
“It's going to be fun,” he laughed. “I'm glad to be in this division; to play teams like Vancouver and Calgary. I'm going to be out on the ice running around, and hopefully they have guys that are going to respond.
“There are no buddies out there. I've got the Oilers uniform on and I'm proud to be an Oiler right now. If I can punish somebody out there, that's what I'm going to do.” BOTTOM-SIX BATTLE - BRULE VS. LANDER Anton Lander
began Training Camp as best as he possibly could. The 20-year-old centre scored three goals in two games at the 2011 Young Stars Tournament. One night ago, he responded by posting one goal and one assist, as well as being named the game’s first star in his pre-season debut.
“So far, so good.” Renney remarked. “He's a very intelligent player; he's a very responsible guy. I think he's one of those players who will drag his linemates along, in both ends of the rink, to do the right thing. That certainly bodes well and it speaks to his leadership.”
Perhaps lost in the discussion is the play of Gilbert Brule, who’s coming off a 2010-11 season in which injuries and illness limited him to only 41 games. Lander, Ryan O’Marra, and even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
to some extent, are pushing their way up the depth chart, challenging Brule for a full-time gig.
“I think that's great,” Brule said. “We need that healthy competition here, as long as we're pushing each other to get better and making the guys around us better.” INJURY BUG - TEUBERT, EAGER & FEDUN UPDATES Colten Teubert
did not skate again today, but is making progress and could possibly be on the ice within a day or two.
“It depends on how I react to getting my heart rate up,” he said. “I feel pretty good; I rode the bike today. Tomorrow I might skate, so we'll see what happens.”
Having taken a punch square on the button by Adam Polasek during the Young Stars Tournament opener, Teubert has no qualms about taking the proper amount of time to recuperate.
“With all the recent stuff on concussions, if you take the safe route and be cautious with it, it's okay by me. It's frustrating to watch practice and games, but I'm going to stay positive, and when I'm healthy and ready to go, I'm going to bring it.”
Missing in action at today’s practice was Ben Eager
, who was aggressively crunched by Kirill Tulupov in Sunday’s Joey Moss Cup.
“He does have a concussion,” Head Coach Tom Renney deadpanned. “It's not real severe and I think he's doing really well today. I don't know the timeline with all of that, but as of today he's doing real well.” Taylor Fedun
, who was smashed from behind in yesterday’s contest with the Minnesota Wild, was also absent. As Renney explains, the prognosis is much more positive.
“Not that I've been told,” he said when asked about a possible concussion. “We’ll call it day-to-day and will probably be okay tomorrow.”