| HELLO JOE
| 12 hours after landing in Detroit Sunday night, the Oilers took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena for a lengthy practice Monday afternoon.
Injured forward Ryan Jones continues to skate with the team and edge his way back into the line-up. Jones skated with Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule, while Patrick O'Sullivan swapped with Zack Stortini alongside Robert Nilsson and Marc Pouliot.
Edmonton's other two forward lines consisted of Ethan Moreau, Shawn Horcoff, and Fernando Pisani, as well as Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano, and Mike Comrie.
Cogliano said he is looking forward to playing with his new linemates.
"I play pretty good with Pens, which is a good thing. I think they're just trying to shake things up here and there."
GOING FOR THE SWEEP
With three wins over the mighty Wings already this season, the Oilers are looking to make it a perfect four with a victory Tuesday night.
For a team that's had only 24 wins all season, Edmonton credits its success vs. Detroit to preparation and hard work.
"Detroit's a team that will take it to you if you're not ready and not ready to play," Cogliano explained. "We always come very focused and prepared, and when we play well we have a chance to win every game."
Pisani was more specific in his assessment.
"They have a lot of skilled players out there, and if you limit their time and space out there, they're not going to be able to create as many opportunities that they're used to," he said. "I think we did a really good job of keeping a close gap and not giving them too much room."
Head Coach Pat Quinn added that confidence will play a big role in tomorrow's match-up.
"A lot of times, it's tougher to be a good team and stay good than it is to be a rising team," he explained. "I think our team skates against them well, and some teams you get a little confidence against. But that's still a good hockey team, and they'd be someone that probably in that first round that you don't want to bump into."
PLAYING FOR PRIDE
The playoffs are an impossibility for the Oilers this season, potentially challenging the team's ability to stay focused as an early summer approaches. But the Oilers are determined to finish on a positive note, both individually and as a team.
"Next year we don't know what's going to happen with guys playing on the team and personnel-wise," Cogliano said. "You want to do as much as possible to show that you're committed and you're still working until the end of the season. It's a tough situation but you have to put it behind you and work."
That drive to persevere is what the coaches are demanding from the players in the final seven games, even though the big prize -- a Stanley Cup -- is out of reach.
"At the end of the day, you do work for your playoff spots and the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, but the only way you do that is pay attention to your process that we set at the start of the year," Quinn explained. "This is a process, and the process means that you pay attention to how you develop yourself, how you develop your teammates, and that you come to work every day. That is what you owe everybody else in that room.
"We have to stay on top of that and have our players accept that that's what they're playing for now."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer
|The Oilers take a few laps around the ice before practice begins at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com) |