| OILERS vs WILD: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
A full contingent of Oilers took to the ice Monday morning for the second-last gameday skate of the season at Rexall Place.
After being scratched Saturday night in Phoenix, Ryan Potulny returned to one of the top lines at the morning skate, centering Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano.
Potulny said sitting out the game was for the best.
"I think it was good for me to just sit and watch a game, to sit back and take it all in. I think at times here this last little stretch, I was over-thinking the game, trying to do too much, and that's not really my game. My game is to play simple and let my reactions kind of take over, my hockey sense."
Associate Coach Tom Renney says it's common for young players to faulter when attempting to take their game to the next level.
"I think a lot of times when you see a young player that's trying to get that NHL traction they over-think the game, they try to do too much within the execution of the game plan," Renney explained. "They're there in the first place usually because they've got good instincts and can play hockey, and I think for a guy like Ryan, he's just got to come back and let the game happen for him."
RUNNING THE LINES
In addition to the Penner-Potulny-Cogliano combo, Oilers coaches showcased the following lines this morning:
Ethan Moreau - Shawn Horcoff - Fernando Pisani
Robert Nilsson - Marc Pouliot - Patrick O'Sullivan
Ryan Jones - Mike Comrie - Zack Stortini
Call-up Charles Linglet is expected to sit out, as is Gilbert Brule, who suffered an ankle injury Friday, April 2 at Dallas and will likely miss the rest of the season.
Devan Dubnyk will also get the start tonight vs. the Wild.
OILERS INK OMARK
After the skate, the Oilers announced that they have signed Swedish forward Linus Omark to a two-year entry level NHL contract. Omark, 23, tallied 20 goals and 36 points with the KHL's Moscow Dynamo this past season. GM Steve Tambellini said he expects Omark to compete for a position with the Oilers next season and, if he doesn't make the cut, to play with the club's AHL affiliate in Oklahoma.
When asked if Omark is ready to play the North American game, Tambellini said he's optimistic.
"He's got some attributes there that are well above average. Whether he can bring that package and make this team, I don't know. We'll have to see, and we'll have to see what this roster looks like when we get to next September."
Head Coach Pat Quinn said that although he doesn't know very much about Omark, he's heard that he's skilled and hopes to see more of the intangibles.
"Skill is a part of the equation. If you've got it and you've got some other stuff to go with it, boy, you're lucky," Quinn explained. "I'm not a big hot-dog fan, I don't like the pretty stuff if it doesn't come up in a result. These backhand flip passes that are lofts -- and in practice you can even hear the players say 'ooh, isn't that pretty' -- well it doesn't win a lot of hockey games.
"But if he's got the kind of skill that can come in here and play an NHL game, then I like that."
OILERS SIGN CHRIS VANDE VELDE
In addition to Omark, the Oilers added another prospect to their inventory Monday. Chris Vande Velde, 22, signed on for a two-year entry level contract after completing the past season with the NCAA's University of North Dakota.
OILERS 4 - WILD 1
Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau teamed up to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead over the Wild early in Monday night's game, and the same duo -- albeit in reverse order -- capped a 4-1 win at Rexall Place.
Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Potulny, and Tom Gilbert each posted two helpers in the game, while rookie goalie Devan Dubnyk finished with 25 saves and his third career NHL win.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer