Kids, Roli, hut hut!

Jason Gregor
October 21 2008 03:11PM

Sheldon Souray skated today for the first time since being injured in Calgary on Friday. During most of the drills Souray didn't look like he was favouring his leg, and after practice he was confident he could play before Saturday in Vancouver.

"It felt pretty good today, and we'll see how it responds to treatment. I should be ready to go tomorrow."

At the start of last season Souray shouldn't have played. His shoulder wasn't 100% and that led to him re-injuring it in that wrestling match/tilt with Byron Ritchie. Don't expect Souray to rush back this time. While his knee is not connected to his shoulder, coach MacTavish stated yesterday that the team won't be rushing players back early this season. If Souray doesn't play in Chicago you can expect him to suit up in Colorado on Thursday.

Kid line back together

Sam Gagner looked fine in his second straight practice and both he and MacTavish said he will play tomorrow. That means the lines will revert back to their normal look. In certain drills at practice today Steve MacIntyre was playing defence with Ladislav Smid, which would make you believe there is a good chance Souray will play and also that MacIntyre might sit out Wednesday. He did rotate in on the 4th line on line rushes and other drills, but MacTavish didn't want to tip his hat about his 4th line.

The Hawks don't have any bombers in MacIntyre's class, so he might get the night off. Ben Eager and Adam Burish are guys that Stortini can handle.

Speaking of Stortini, if you were wondering why Ian Laperriere was so fired up at him in the Oilers home opener, it was because Stortini challenged him in warmup. "I'm 36-years-old and have been in the league 12 years and he challenges me in warmup. He is 235 pounds and I'm 195, yet he feels I have to prove myself. He has to grow up," steamed Laperriere. Clearly Stortini knows how to get under guys skin. He will need to do more of that if he wants to stay in the lineup. To be clear, Stortini didn't ask him to fight during warmup, rather he challenged him to fight later.

Roli the Goalie

All signs point to Dwayne Roloson starting in Chicago tomorrow, with Garon playing Colorado and Vancouver. "I would like to get Matty close to 60 or 65 games and the other two guys will split the rest," said MacTavish. The three-headed monster isn't a problem right now for the Oilers, but the longer it goes the more of a hassle it becomes.

Roloson is no stranger to this format. He was a rookie in Calgary when he was the 3rd goalie behind Rick Tabaracci and Trevor Kidd. Kidd ended up playing 55 games, Roloson got into 31, while Tabaracci played 7 before getting traded to Tampa Bay. At that time Kidd was 24 years old, Roloson 26 and Tabaracci was 27.

This year the situation is much different, with Deslauriers 24 and Roloson 39. It seems inevitable that Roloson will follow the path of Tabaracci back in 1996 and get moved. The list of suitors is short if non-existent right now, but don't be surprised if Roloson gets a new address come November or December.

The Oilers like having the security of Roloson. If Garon gets hurt they have a veteran who can step in, if not, then at least Deslauriers gets some more seasoning until they feel he is ready to be a competent backup.

Esks Note (!)

I know this is the OilersNation, but I'm going to throw out a wild guess here and say some of the Nation follows the Esks to some degree. Interesting to note that Calvin McCarty will start at running back this weekend in Saskatchewan, and that Tristan Jackson will also get some reps in the backfield. Jackson was a runningback in high school, but hasn't played there since.

He is a defensive back by trade, but most of his touches come as a kick return specialist. The thinking in Esks camp is that Jackson can make teams miss once he gets in the open field. Expect him to get some touches on screen plays as well as a few handoffs. AJ Harris will not dress, which is even more interesting. I like that McCarty is the go-to-guy, because I think he has deserved it, the Jackson experiment is very intriguing because of the timing. This is a must win for the Esks if they want to avoid crossing over to the East for the playoffs.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on the TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Ender the Dragon
October 21 2008, 03:38PM
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It's good to know Huggy-Bear is likely to get some playing time. I like SMacIntyre as much as anyone, but at least with Stortini there's always the possibility of 'Laraque-esque' surprise offence; the goal that no one saw coming. I'd bet Wayne a short-haired goat that we don't see a breakaway goal from Smacdown this year.

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#2 baggedmilk
October 21 2008, 03:40PM
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Good news on the Souray and Gagner front. Captain handsome and the all Canadian kid heartbreaker will be big boots to the powerplay Wednesday night. Look for Joey Moss to be tossing fresh towels to Patrick Kane to wipe the tears of failure from his cheeks.

-baggedmilk

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#3 hoot
October 21 2008, 03:52PM
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itchy scratchy! haven't heard that name in a while.

if you're esks fans you probably want them to cross over to the east. we don't have much of a passing game here in winnipeg and look to be easy pickings in the first round.

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#4 The Towel Boy
October 21 2008, 04:03PM
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GO RIDERS!

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#5 Gord
October 21 2008, 04:27PM
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"GO RIDERS!" Hey, this isn't Ridverville. Take your Regina loving across the border. ;)

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#6 The Towel Boy
October 21 2008, 07:47PM
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...I'm ON the border. ;)

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#7 The Goat Roper
October 21 2008, 08:30PM
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I like the Eskies chances better if they cross to the east. Plus, being an ex edmontonian, I'll get to see the esks beat the bombers.

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#8 outKast
October 21 2008, 09:44PM
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ST PAUL, MN - Marian Gaborik's days as a member of the Minnesota Wild could be ending sooner rather than later.

An unnamed NHL team executive told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this week that Wild general manager Doug Risebrough has been actively shopping the star forward around the league and offered Gaborik to his team in a trade over the weekend.

According to the paper, the executive said he was not interested. "When you have guys like Erik Cole and Dustin Penner, you really don't have a need for a 40 goal speedster anymore."

Gaborik, who has a history of abdominal and leg injuries, has missed the past two games because of a lower body injury. The executive responded, "Oh, we have a lot of experience with injuries. But yeah, stop asking. We're not interested. We have Penner."

The young forward, who makes $7.5 million this season, could be tough to move this early in the campaign. "I mean, if they really insist, perhaps we could trade them Penner, Roloson, Schremp, Chorney, 1st round pick, but i i'm just throwing it out there. We're still completely uninterested."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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#9 Fingort
October 22 2008, 02:21AM
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Gregor,

Interesting update, especially the mention of Stortini and MacIntyre splitting the 12th forward role this season. Matt from BoA had an interesting post last night about certain players, most commonly the heavyweights, driving negative results and weakening their teams forward depth. So far, MacTavish hasn't shown much confidence in his playing ability, letting him do his intimidating from the bench for all but minutes of ice a night. I mean, realistically, despite MacIntyre's big hit on Boyd he's been a career minor leauger putting up no more than 5 points playing in mainly the ECHL and UHL. So, you get to talk to MacTavish, yeah? What exactly are the oilers doing to try and help him catch up to speed?

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#10 Jason Gregor
October 22 2008, 09:35AM
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Fingort,

MacIntyre is the last guy off the ice at almost every practice since he has been here. He spends time working with the kids (who clearly like practice because they are always out at the end, doing some sort of competition amongst themselves).

You are bang on that if MacI can't play more minutes it will hurt the team. For now, it has been okay, because it gets Hemsky and Nilsson some extra shifts, but MacTavish did state he doesn't want too use three lines for long stretches of games too often.

The arguement about weakening forward depth is interesting. I'm sure at times it does, but in the Oilers case, guys like Hemsky and Nilsson who don't kill penalties, getting a few extra shifts due to a 4th liner not playing isn't that bad.

Personally I'd rather my skill guys get extra shifts five-on-five, rather than on the PK. Players have to work harder on the PK, and rarely do they get the type of offensive chances that the would five-on-five.

Right now Stortini is a better player than MacIntyre, but if #33 gets more big hits then his ice time and impact increases.

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#11 Fingort
October 22 2008, 11:38AM
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Thanks Gregor,

That's good to know. I, too, think there's some merit to seeing Hemsky or Nilsson double shift on the fourth line. It gets them away from their defensive matchups, and the increased ice-time can often get that player in the game. I thought hemsky in paricular picked up his offensive game after a couple of effective shifts on the 4th line last week against Anaheim. Let's hope that MacIntyre's extra practice will pay off to the point where he may be able to play 8 or 9 minutes a night and not bleed chances against. Although, with big hits and fights like the ones we saw saturday, I won't mind if he looks out of place here and there.

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#12 oilerman53
October 22 2008, 02:07PM
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Just having Smac out there and the opposing teams we have faced so far especially Calgary haven't tried there usual shenanigans. No one has taken a run at Hemsky, Gagner, Nilsson or any of our smaller skilled players. So it could be a moot point if just having him out there let's the other team know that business will be laid on their face if they even fart in their direction. Added plus extra shifts a night for our smaller skilled guys like has been pointed out already.

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#13 Antony Ta
October 22 2008, 03:07PM
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Hey, I'm collecing Dwayne Roloson moments on my blog so if anyone has some please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

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