| OILERS vs BLACKHAWKS: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
15 Oilers skaters, including Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner, joined goalies Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk on the ice for morning skate Tuesday. After injuring his knee Friday vs. Dallas, Gagner sat out Sunday's team Skills Competition and Monday's practice but will be good to go tonight.
Brule, on the other hand, hasn't fully recovered from his fourth bout of the flu and likely won't dress.
"(He's) close to coming back," Associate Coach Tom Renney said. "I think we'll probably look at him for Thursday (vs. St. Louis)."
Renney added the Mike Comrie is also close to returning.
"We'll talk about things with Kenny Lowe, our trainer, and Pat (Quinn) and we'll see what we'll do in terms of integrating him into our line-up now."
STRUDWICK TURNS 600
The Oilers are not only celebrating the impending return of those two offensive forwards, they are also saluting defenceman Jason Strudwick, who plays his 600th NHL contest tonight.
"He's had to bite, claw, and chew to stay as a regular in the National Hockey League, and when I saw him three years ago in Switzerland, a lot of people never would have figured he'd be back here, but he's back here because of his diligence, his preparation," Head Coach Pat Quinn said of Strudwick during his daily press conference.
"What he has is a positive way to affect his teammates, particularly the individual playing with him. He has been able to take some Nervous Nellys and calm them down to allow them to be a better player because of his presence."
When asked about the accomplishment, Strudwick was typically humble but nonetheless proud of his career.
"When there's injuries or different things, I get to play a little more often and unfortunately we've had quite a rash of injuries our last couple of years on the back end," he said. "When you start your career, you think that you want to get to 100, 200, then 400 seems like a number. Obviously, most guys see the benchmark of 1,000 as a great career but for me and my role I'm pretty proud of it."
CHORNEY TURNS 16
While Strudwick looks forward to his 600th game tonight, fellow defenceman Taylor Chorney is anticipating game number 16. Chorney was recalled by the Oilers Monday afternoon and, along with Strudwick, will fill the blueline spots vacated by injured Ladislav Smid and Steve Staios.
Chorney has been back and forth between the Oilers and the club's AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, for the past week, and he said it's a challenge to adapt to the different styles of play.
"It's probably a little bit faster around here, but I think there's a little more running around down there and maybe a little bit less structure, so there's adjustments both ways," the 22-year-old said after the skate. "But lots of guys have had to do that in the past and I'm nothing different so there's no excuses."
BLACKHAWKS 4 - OILERS 2
An early goal by Chicago captain Jonathan Toews set the tone for the first half of Tuesday's game, with the Blackhawks owning a four-goal, 15-shot lead heading into the final minute of the middle frame. At that point, Edmonton's Fernando Pisani kickstarted a comeback attempt to which Ryan Potulny contributed early in the third.
Unfortunately, the early deficit and strong goaltending from Cristobal Huet late in the game proved too much for the Oil and the club suffered a 4-2 loss. Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com