January 05 2009 11:55AM
Already down their first line RW, the Oilers might face the Islanders tonight without their first-line centre, as Shawn Horcoff will be a game-time decision with back spasms. Horcoff's back flared up this morning and coach MacTavish is hoping his ice-time leader among forwards can go when the bell rings.
Marc Pouliot will play tonight, but where is yet to be determined. If Horcoff can't go then he will play centre; if #10 is in, then Pouliot expects to be back on the wing with Cogliano and Moreau. Horcoff's status will determine who sits out tonight either way. If he goes, it will either be Brule, Reddox or Strudwick drawing in.
Dwayne Roloson will start in goal tonight.
Change in Style?
Zack Stortini seems to have shaken his Huggy Bear moniker by being much more of a chucker in his last five fights. He has also tested his endurance with some lengthy bouts that have lasted more than a minute. Stortini credits working with former tough guy and current assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Rocky Thompson.
"I've been working on improving my fighting and Rocky has been great. He works on how to use different angles, the positioning of my hands, and how to move my head more. His advice has given me a lot more confidence and I'm feeling more comfortable in that area."
Whatever advice he is getting from Thompson and Jason Strudwick seems to be paying off, and Stortini's overall game has improved. He has been move involved physically and that fourth line, while they're not scoring as much as last season, has become more noticeable every game.
Steve Tambellini and Garth Snow spent a long time talking at the morning skate today. Some of the talk involved Steve's son Jeff who will play for the Islanders tonight, but you wonder if those two are looking to make a deal. The Islanders will clearly be a seller as the season goes along, and outside of Mark Streit and Rick Dipietro you would think every other Islander is available.
Trent Hunter would attract the most attention, but Snow is hesitant to move him. Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and Mike Comrie are all UFAs at the end of the season, and only Guerin has a no move clause. So look for at least one of them to be moved.