Here is a quick look at the lineup for tonight’s tilt versus the Canucks:
Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky
Moreau – Pisani – Penner
Schremp – Pouliot – Gagner
Reddox – O’Marra – Benson
Souray – Staios
Smid – Visnovsky
Peckham – Chorney
The biggest question is, when will Benson drop the flippers? I say six minutes in…
Whoever picks the closest time and what period for Benson’s fight will win a pair of tickets to Wednesday’s game against the Panthers. Your picks have to be in by 7pm tonight (leave them in the comments, and be sure to include a valid email address). Don’t try and get them in after, because The Internets Know What Time It Is™.
The Canucks have a few guys dressed who would be willing to dance, but since we aren’t exactly sure who is dressing tonight, you just have to give the time and period.
It’s interesting to see Pouliot and Schremp playing with Gagner. Both are bubble guys, and clearly MacTavish wants to give them every opportunity to shine. Conversely, O’Marra is a guy who hasn’t played with any veterans at any point in camp and finds himself well down the depth chart.
Also, expect Peckham and Chorney to be partners in Springfield this season—that’s why they are paired together. Plus it will give them a chance to see how they handle NHL players. Garon will go the distance in goal tonight.
I’m upset before the game even starts, because middleweight Rick Rypien isn’t dressed for the Canucks. Rypien and Hans Benson would have been a great scrap, but I’m 100% certain that Benson will go tonight.
Oilers start Pisani’s line with Souray and Staios. MacTavish really wants to get Pisani comfortable at centre. I will be watching the pairing of Smid and Visnovsky. I’m curious to see how they play together.
:54… Krog takes an interference penalty and the Oilers put Horcoff’s line with Souray and Visnovsky.
1:21… It takes all of 27 seconds for the Oilers to score. Souray takes the puck off the boards and rips a bullet by Schneider. The interesting thing is he was playing the left point. There has been much speculation as to who will play the left point, with both Visnovksy and Souray
2:28… Canucks respond as pugilist Jeff Cowan puts it home. Garon made a great save seconds earlier coming across the crease to stone Labrie, but Benson couldn’t tie up Cowan’s stick and standing in the crease he slides it home. Labrie and Kesler with the assists. Benson really wanted to go with Cowan, but settled from a minus instead.
3:30… Souray walks in from the point and rips one off the crossbar. Schneider didn’t even move. He has yet to adjust to an NHL slapshot it seems.
4:13… Pisani takes a hooking penalty away from the play. Canucks send out Sedin, Pyatt and their chunky off-season acquisition, Kyle Wellwood. Interesting to note that Penner and Pouliot are on the PK. Pouliot is no surprise, but Penner? MacTavish hinted he wanted to find different ways to get him ice time, but I don’t see this come the regular season. Brodziak, Pisani, Moreau and Horcoff are the top four killers, with Cogliano the 5th.
6:37… Souray with his 4th shot of the period from the left point, Scheider actually saw this one and makes the save, but the rebound goes right to Eric Cole and he bulges the twine. All three now have two points. The first seven minutes have been highly entertaining; hopefully the teams keep it up.
10:56… Visnovksy on the score sheet, with a hooking call. Moreau and Horcoff start the kill, with Pisani and Gagner out next. Canucks tie it up as Ohlund moves into the slot, takes a pass from Sedin and puts it between the pads. Wellwood with the other assist, and if he can keep producing his coach might cut him some slack when it comes to his lack of conditioning.
12:13… Nolan Baumgartner gets a hooking call and the Oilers send out the same five on the PP. As the teams line up for the faceoff to the left of Schneider, Hemsky and Davison are engaged in a lengthy conversation. Ryan Rishaug and I are wondering what they could possibly be talking about. It seemed like a cordial conversation. Maybe Davison said, “Ales I really need to make this team so don’t embarrass me.” Hemsky replies, “I don’t even know who you are, but don’t stand in front of the net if Souray is shooting, because he might take your head off.” Oilers never have consistent pressure and now they are 1 for 2 on the PP. Pouliot’s line finished the man advantage and they didn’t do much either.
14:33… Taylor Chorney finished a rough shift by taking a penalty. After turning it over in the neutral zone, he then allowed Dan Gendur to walk around him and Chorney took the hooking call. He skates very well, but he will need some seasoning in Springfield and a weight room. He needs to get stronger. Penner is back on the PK, as he and Reddox do a good job of ragging it in the neutral zone. Canucks don’t register a shot and we are back to five-on-five.
19:55… Staios with a horrible giveaway right on the stick of Cowan. Cowan streaks down the left side and bulges the twine, but it was the outside of the net. The goal judge is in preseason form as the red light switches on. Fans in the 300 sections start screaming, “Staios you’re a bum,” “Get off the ice 24”, but their taunts stop quickly when they realize the puck never went in. I’m surprised it took almost an entire period for the diehards in the 300s to start in on Staios. He seems to be one of their favourite targets.
Oilers outshoot the Canucks 15–10. A decent period for preseason, but only one hit the entire period. Peckham ran over Cowan midway through the first, but at the time I didn’t think it was worth mentioning, but now that was the only one we saw, kudos to Peckham.
1:23… Labrie takes a hooking call in the offensive zone and the Oilers go back on the PP. Pouliot’s line starts with Staios and Chorney on the backend. They never seem to get comfortable, and after 50 seconds the #1 unit is back out. Cole will be choked—he could have had two goals. First, a nice three-way passing play from Hemsky at the left boards, sends it across to Horcoff at the right circle to Cole on the left crease and Schneider gets a pad on it. The rebound goes to Hemsky on the left wall. He waits, and then finds Cole in the low slot, but he redirects it wide. If Cole can stay healthy I might up my 37 goal prediction to 41.
7:00… Schremp has to learn to challenge the D-men. Twice on this shift he comes across the blueline and looks to make a play rather than keep his feet moving and forcing the defender to back off. He has made smart decisions tonight and looked much more comfortable, but until he stops gliding the minute he crosses the blueline his progress will be slow.
8:21… Souray crushes Jaffray with an open-ice hit right at the Oiler blueline. Labrie comes over and jumps Souray, but doesn’t throw a punch. Souray has no interest in fighting as he just bends over with Labrie riding his back. Souray has been excellent tonight. His shot is still a rifle and he has been physical. If he stays healthy, he should help in many areas. Labrie gets an unsportsmanlike penalty and Cowan draws a roughing penalty. The #1 unit starts and they get some decent chances. The best one is a Visnovsky one-timer that Schneider snares with his glove. After 1:23, Pouliot, Schremp and Gagner come out up front. Souray and Visnovsky play the entire two minutes, but the Oilers can’t beat Schneider.
12:02… Schremp, Gagner and Pouliot with their best shift. They are cycling down low and Schremp with three great passes. His skill is there, but eventually he needs to put up some points. Rishaug and I agree that this is the best game we’ve seen Schremp play in an Oiler uniform. It looks like he is going to get a long look this camp.
13:25… Finally: we have a winner! Benson and Rob Davison drop the mitts. Davison gets Benson’s helmet off early and fires some close-range shots, but none really land. Benson responds with a one of his own before they lose balance and fall to the ice. No winner here, not much of a fight. But someone just won tickets to the Florida game. We’ll check the predictions.
14:48… Down a man after a Cole penalty, the Oilers create chance after chance. Once again, Penner is out on the PK and he starts a 3-on-1 with Staios and Reddox. Penner comes down the left wing and feeds Staios in the slot, who is robbed by Schneider. Fifteen seconds later, Garon moves it to Staios who sends Gagner in all alone. Gagner waits, then goes to his backhand to give the Oilers a 3–2 lead.
16:29… Delayed penalty coming to the Canucks, and the Oilers get the extra man on. Schremp comes off the bench and sets up at the right dot. Hemsky controls on the left boards, saucers a pass to Schremp but he doesn’t get all of and it rolls to the corner. Schremp looks skyward knowing he should have buried that. On this PP, Gagner replaces Cole on the #1 unit.
17:50… Schneider with another nice stop, stoning Horcoff down low. This kid has played well for the ‘Nucks. Second PP unit sees Schremp, Penner and Pisani with Staios and Chorney at the point, but they don’t generate any quality chances.
19:24… Moreau with a hooking minor and the Canucks will start the 3rd on the PP. They are 1 for 4 on the PP so far.
After 40 minutes the Oilers lead 3–2. Kudos to Oilers fans as they pack the house for a preseason game. You have to love the passion in E-town.
CONGRATS to Alphah who predicted Benson would fight 10 minutes in to the second period. He was the closest. Enjoy the game on Wednesday.
0:00… Oilers start down a man. Pouliot and Reddox do a good job of killing the first minute or so and the Canucks never get a good chance.
2:19… Mason Raymond, the former Camrose Kodiak, gets a cross checking minor. #1 Unit starts the PP again, and while they maintain possession in the offensive zone for 1:30 they generate nothing.
4:32… Garon robs Raymond on a breakaway, and then from his stomach gets a stick on the second shot by Pyatt. Seconds later Raymond takes a run at Gagner and misses. Benson just happens to come off the bench on a change and goes right after Raymond. He doesn’t sucker him; rather he grabs him from behind. Davison comes storming in, and takes Benson to the ice in front of the Canuck bench. Peckham and Pyatt come steaming in, and land on top of Davison and Benson. On the replay you can see Peckham firing shots at Davison. Now all the players are in it, and out of the scrum Smid has Raymond. He tries to fire some punches but can’t get loose. After all is said and done. Benson gets two for roughing, the instigator, five for fighting and a game misconduct. Davison gets double minor for roughing and a game misconduct. So the Oilers are down a man for five minutes.
7:36… Garon with another nice stop, this time kicking out a toe to stop Kesler. I know this is pre-season, but the Canucks have no scoring depth. They will be in the bottom three in scoring this season, mark my words. After the Sedin Sisters and Demitra there isn’t much scoring power to speak of. If they are betting on Kyle Wellwood and Kesler they are in for a long season
9:32… Oilers kill off the five minutes. I will say the in-house camera guys aren’t very good tonight. We’ve yet to see one hot girl on the big screen. That should never happen, especially with a sell out. I was downstairs at the intermission and I saw a few so I know they are here. And while we’re on the topic, Northlands need to hire some ice girls. Trust me, it would add to the game. Nothing raunchy, just some nice Lulu lemon pants. Are you with me boys? And girls?
11:56… Krog trips up Schremp and the Oilers are on their 8th PP. They have moved the puck around nicely but only have one goal to show for it, and that includes a two-minute 5-on-3. The #1 Unit starts again, and they are replaced by Pouliot’s line, but neither unit sustains much pressure. One for eight now.
14:03… Garon another stellar glove save.
14:23… Right off the draw, Chorney, who has struggled handling the puck all night, has it bounce off his stick right to Dan Gendur and he beats Garon between the pads. They give Krog an assist, so it must have bounced off of Chorney, then Krog before Gendur’s first of the pre-season.
15:06… Okay finally they show a girl on the big screen and she FLASHES the crowd, lifting her shirt and bra. Good for you. The best part is Rishaug missed it! Now I don’t condone public nudity, but I will say section 114 row 11 seat 4 good for you. The three guys sitting directly behind her are all now trying to wheel her. It doesn’t look they are getting very far. One guy even moved to the row in front to try and talk to her. He got a handshake. If he had any game he would have flashed her, to show her they have some common ground.
20:00… Overtime her we come. Shocking the Oilers are going to OT. Last year the Oilers went to OT 25 times, so it looks like they want to continue that trend. They were 15–4 in the shootout and 4–2 in OT, so if they can keep that trend going they should be fine.
2:40… Best chance of OT goes to Visnovsky, but he ripped it wide on the short side.
3:33… Garon gets his left pad down to stop Gendur from the just below the right circle.
4:10…. Chorney gets a cheap holding call. Raymond came down the right side, and Chorney steered him to the boards, and at the last moment he used his free hand to push him. A weak call, but the Oilers had their chances earlier so we’ll see if the Canucks can get a win.
5:00… Canucks don’t get a good chance and we are going to the shootout.
I’m calling Hemsky, Gagner and Schremp as the shooters. Wellwood, Raymond and Kesler are my picks.
Wellwood goes first. He walks in fakes backhand and then fires a wrist shot past Garon.
Schremp up for the Oilers. Schremp comes in slowly, gets in tight, makes a few dekes, pulls it to his forehand and Schneider makes the save.
Raymond walks in. Fakes a move and fires wide.
Gagner… Skates in, stick handles in the slot and then snaps it high over the glove of Schneider.
Krog (only guy I didn’t guess). Walks in and roofs it off the crossbar and in. Great shot.
Hemsky. Skates in, goes to his left and then flips it to high over the net.
Canucks win 4–3 in a shootout.