November 23 2008 05:06PM
With Jesse Boulerice being picked up by the Avalanche, that gave the Oilers an open roster spot, and as I reported on my radio show on Friday, they called up Tim Sestito today.
Who you ask? Good question.
Sestito is currently the Captain of the Falcons. His offensive numbers 2-1-3 in 16 games show he won’t be called up to supply offense. He is a typical character player. He is a leader according to his coach Jeff Truitt.
“Tim is here due to work ethic more than anything. He is prepared to play every night, and that is why he is our captain. He is a good role model for the young guys. He competes every shift, and he is a good penalty killer,” said Truitt on my radio show ten days ago.
At the time of the interview, I had asked Truitt about Sestito being a captain rather than a guy who would get the call to Edmonton . But his answer describes the type of player he is. And with Craig Mactavish stating he wants his team to compete harder every shift, then Sestito seems like the type of player they want on their 4th line.
But why not the usual suspects?
Rob Schremp scored his first goal of the season last night and is currently tied for 48th in AHL scoring with 1 goal and 14 assists in 15 games. Schremp is having a good season, but he won’t bring an element of grit, and they don’t see him ahead of any of the kids in Edmonton right now. Ryan Potulny is scoring, nine goals in 17 games, he won’t be a top nine forward here either.
Gilbert Brule is the only one of the three who brings what this the Oilers think they are lacking; grit and hunger. He has six goals, but more importantly he does have some grit to his game.
Brule’s game is coming around, but he is still questioning his instincts on the ice. According to a scout (who didn’t want to be named) I spoke with, “Brule has yet to find the game he had as a junior, where he was a dominant player. His time in Columbus has really screwed up his game. They wanted him to be so defensively aware, that now he is still hesitating in many situations.” This scout doesn’t work for the Oilers or the Blue Jackets, so he is bias free in his assessment.
If Brule is second-guessing his decisions in the AHL, I doubt he will get called up to the NHL, where those split-second decisions can be even more fatal.
But don’t worry; this kid will be in Edmonton soon. “I think Brule will be a regular top-nine forward for many years. I saw him the first weekend of the season, and his game now is 10 times better. His competitiveness is his best asset, he is not afraid to run a guy, and he looks like he has found his confidence,” said the scout.
The lines at Oiler practice on Saturday lead me to believe that Sestito might have a shot at getting in a game soon.
Penner Horcoff Hemsky Nilsson Cogliano Reddox Moreau Pouliot Cole Smid Brodziak Stortini
Gagner didn’t practice because he tweaked an ankle in the loss to Detroit . It doesn’t sound serious and he should be ready to play against the Kings on Wednesday, and when he is back Reddox will find himself on the 4th line.
Sestito could easily take the place of any of those three guys on the 4th line. He is a centremen but can play the wing.
I will say this. If Sestito comes up here and doesn’t hit anyone, or isn’t hard to play against I will puke. I’d rather see Brule struggle and make mistakes, rather than see another player recalled who doesn’t understand what grit truly is.
Sorry to ruin your weekend Oiler fans, but it looks like you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see either Schremp or Brule in Oil silks anytime soon.
—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.