| TUESDAY LINE COMBOS |
In the morning's first drill, Edmonton's most-productive line in the final pre-season game remained intact, with Shawn Horcoff anchoring Ales Hemsky and J.F. Jacques.
Hemsky left the ice soon after the drill, and team staff confirmed a pulled groin was the reason for his early departure. There was no confirmation on whether he will play Saturday vs. Calgary.
Patrick O'Sullivan, Mike Comrie, and Ryan Stone skated together on the second line, while Dustin Penner, Gilbert Brule, and Andrew Cogliano formed the third. Sam Gagner dropped down to the fourth line with Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini, while Robert Nilsson and Steve MacIntyre completed the list of forwards.
SAM SLIPS TO FOURTH
After skating on the fourth line rather than the spot on third that he occupied Sunday night, Gagner was asked for his thoughts on how he's played this pre-season.
"I don't really want to get caught up in lines," Gagner said in the locker room. "It's the way it happened today and tomorrow could be a different thing. For me, I've gotta play the same way no matter what the situation. And maybe in pre-season I didn't play that way.
"It's a new coach, a new system, and maybe I was thinking about that too much," he continued. "At the end of the day, you've still got to play and you've still got to play your game. I realize that now, and it's a good thing you get that through with in pre-season and then I'm feeling good and confident going into the season."
"He's a highly skilled player," GM Steve Tambellini later said. "He maybe hasn't been able to perform to his ability right now. I would trust in Sam's character as an athlete that, when push comes to shove, there won't be any issues with him."
Head Coach Pat Quinn said he has yet to see the Gagner that he's heard so much about.
"You certainly look at history to understand what's going on here," Quinn said. "He did, to my understanding, have a real hot spot a couple of years ago in his first year. It's the start of the third year now -- it's time to start moving that up. I haven't seen that part in camp yet, but most people believe that it's there and it's going to come . . . Part of our job is to bring all these guys to a higher level, including Sam or anybody else."
When asked about Saturday's line combinations, Quinn said, "For the purposes of preparing for the opening night, that's probably where he's going to start, so we'll see what happens from there."
WELL WISHES FOR SCHREMP
Word spread quickly around Rexall Place that Rob Schremp had been picked by the New York Islanders early Tuesday morning. Schremp had been placed on waivers after Sunday's victory over the Canucks.
"The short time I was around him, he was a real top individual, his attitude was terrific," Quinn commented. "We bumped into some numbers here of guys that have high skill levels like he does, and so anytime you see a young man getting a chance to play at a top level, you're happy for him."
REDDOX PLACED ON WAIVERS, PECKHAM ASSIGNED TO SPRINGFIELD
During his media scrum, Tambellini also confirmed that forward Liam Reddox had been placed on waivers Tuesday morning. Oilers staff later announced that defenceman Theo Peckham was assigned to the Springfield Falcons (AHL).
ALES HEMSKY: Hemsky left practice early due to a pulled groin. No word yet on whether he will play Saturday.
FERNANDO PISANI: The veteran forward continues to suffer from an undisclosed back injury and was absent from Tuesday's practice.
"He had an MRI yesterday, I believe, to get checked and I know he's had a problem before. It's just not allowing him to move very quickly," Tambellini said. "Fernie is going to be quite some time -- an indefinite amount of time is the best probably I can say. He would most likely go on long term injury."
MARC POULIOT: Pouliot continues to be plagued by an injury to his pubic bone and did not skate Tuesday.