| OILERS vs WILD: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
The full Oilers squad took to the ice for morning skate Friday, including trade deadline acquirees Ryan Jones, Aaron Johnson, and Ryan Whitney.
For defenceman Whitney, it was his first appearance in the Oilers jersey and said it's an "exciting time" to be joining the Oil.
"Everyone wants to play in a hockey town -- it makes things pretty awesome. And I think guys enjoy playing where the fans really care, and obviously you want to be on a good team and win and that makes it even better," he said.
"That'll happen here I'm sure. Right now it's about finishing strong, meeting the guys, and becoming accustomed to being around here."
Jones, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday morning, views his time in Edmonton as an opportunity to cement an NHL role.
"It's a second chance for me to come to an organization that obviously wanted me to be here and show what I can do at this level," Jones said after the skate. "There's a lot of history obviously in the organization, there's a great group of guys in this room, and a good core, so we'll see what we can do here in the next 20."
Associate Coach Tom Renney expects to see a high compete level from Jones, Whitney, Johnson and the rest of the Oilers as the season winds down.
"Everybody that's here now is here to show us that they can play, that they want to, and that there's still potential in them as players, regardless of their status," he stated.
From blueliners Johnson and Whitney, Renney added that he wants to see "instinctive play" tonight vs. Minnesota.
"You can look at them within the body of an X and O, and all those types of things, and judge their game by how they participate within our team concept, but I think what you look at more than anything else is just their instincts -- that they have the wherewithal, the hockey sense, the ability to just kind of make things happen simultaneously on both sides of the puck."
BETWEEN THE PIPES & ON THE SIDELINES
Head Coach Pat Quinn covered a lot of topics in his season-record 19-minute pre-game press conference ( listen here), including his thoughts on goaltending assignments.
"We're hoping one of them (Jeff Deslauriers or Devan Dubnyk) steps forward and says 'I'm going to be your guy," Quinn said. "That hasn't happened yet, so I think tonight, or at least for the next little bit, the guy that wins will go in. If there's no win, we'll give it to the other guy."
Quinn also gave an update on the club's many injuries:
Ethan Moreau: "The medical staff today said no practice, no game, so we're going to try to get to the bottom of it."
Ladislav Smid: "Smid requires neck surgery and will be out for the season. So they're going to go in and do that vertebrae, at least the disk part, and do some removal."
Sheldon Souray: "Souray is still in (the hospital) with an infection. He is out indefinitely. It's serious enough to keep him in the hospital."
Nikolai Khabibulin: "Khaby is out indefinitely, continues rehab, and they are happy with the progress."
Jean-Francois Jacques: "Jacques had successful (back) surgery yesterday . . . and he clearly is out for the season.
Ryan Stone: "Stone continues his rehab, has started skating, but he continues to have a problem with that knee and I don't know what they're going to do with it eventually down the way."
OILERS 2 - WILD 1 (SO)
It wasn't the final shot count but the quality of saves that stole the spotlight Friday night at Rexall Place. With 28 stops through 65 minutes plus four in the shootout, Jeff Deslauriers outplayed the Wild and his goaltending opponent Niklas Backstrom to secure an exciting 2-1 win for the Oilers.
Mike Comrie scored the game's first goal and the final shootout marker, while rookie defenceman Theo Peckham got third star for his aggressive game.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer