November 10 2009 11:43AM
The injuries just keep coming for the Edmonton Oilers, as they get set to take on the Ottawa Senators tonight.
Robert Nilsson is out with a concussion, and with Florida claiming Steve MacIntyre on waivers this morning, the Oilers have recalled Ryan O’Marra for tonight's game. Taylor Chorney has a bad ankle and is out, so Ladislav Smid will draw back in.
Does someone have a voodoo doll and every few days decide to take down another Oiler? Maybe the producers of the lamest movie I’ve seen in years, Paranormal Activity, are making a sports-like spin off that has alleged demons stalking the Oilers. I can’t believe that Theo Peckham told me he had to sleep with the lights on after watching that movie. I’ll be juicing him hard when he gets back to Edmonton. There was nothing remotely scary about that movie. Plus the acting was worse than the Carolina Hurricanes.
I really don’t think losing Nilsson is a big loss, and Smid is better than Chorney at this point, but you wonder how many more injuries this team can handle before it takes a toll on their salary cap.
With Nilsson out, my best guess would see Andrew Cogliano move to the wing and play with Gilbert Brule and Mike Comrie. Lately Pat Quinn has tried to go with two offensive oriented lines, and moving Cogliano there makes the most sense.
That would leave Sam Gagner with Dustin Penner and Patrick O’Sullivan, while Ryan Potulny would centre Fernando Pisani and Liam Reddox, and O’Marra can play between Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau.
Know thy enemy
The Sens sit in 2nd place in the Northeast division, but like the Oilers they're currently out of the playoff picture. The Sens are 7-5-2 and are averaging three goals for and three goals against in 14 games.
Jonathon Cheechoo has been a bust since coming over from San Jose, with no goals and two assists in 14 games. Cory Clouston said he has realistic expectations of what Cheechoo can produce.
"That was a real special year for him (56 goals), he’s worked extremely hard, is an intelligent guy and a real good teammate. I don’t think telling anyone that he will score 50 goals again is realistic."
He added that Cheechoo is a 25-goal man, and maybe can reach 30 again and that is what they will look for from him. If Cheechoo gets 25 goals this year I’ll be stunned. His foot speed is not good enough for him to get to the open spaces anymore. He is willing to go in the tough areas, but he can’t get there fast enough anymore.
The Sens PP is 23rd in the league and they have only drawn 51 penalties thus far, only Calgary has drawn fewer penalties, 49, but the Flames have scored 12 goals to put them 5th overall on the PP.
The Oilers have had 68 man advantages, 13th most in the league, and after their four goal performance in Colorado they sit 6th on the PP at 23.5%.
Jeff Deslauriers’ favourite team growing up was the Buffalo Sabres, so I’d guess that Khabibulin will start tonight and JDD will get the start tomorrow. With back-to-games tonight and tomorrow and then on the weekend in Atlanta and Columbus it looks like Deslauriers will double his games played in a five day span.
Report on O'Marra
O’Marra got off to a good start in Springfield, and finally seems to understand that if he's going to play in the NHL it will be as shut-down centreman. Rob Daum told me last week on my show, that his play had tailed off a bit of late. He did respond with some better play this past weekend.
O’Marra needs to show up and be good in the faceoffs, strong on the puck and be physical. He is one of the few centremen they have in the organization who has any sort of size. If O’Marra understands he needs to be physical, not fancy, there is an opening for him on this team. They desperately lack size down the middle and if he shows he can provide that, he might not be the first guy sent down when Horcoff, Hemsky and Jacques return.
Trade... for the Rush
I know you guys love the Oilers, but the Rush will announce a major trade this afternoon. They have acquired Gavin Prout along with Dean Hill from Colorado for a 1st rounder in 2010 and a 2nd rounder in 2011. Prout and Colorado couldn’t agree on a new deal, and so the Rush made a call.
Prout is a top-ten scorer in the game. He has 230 goals and 671 points in only 127 games. He will quarterback their PP and along with Brodie Merrill the Rush finally have some elite talent. Hill might chip in if he stays healthy and in shape. In his only full season he scored 32 goals in 14 games in 2007. He was banged up last year.