Does anyone know what Bulk Barn is? If you’re wondering why I’m asking such a random question so early in the morning it’s because, the Oilers were supposed to be on the ice at nine, and as of this writing, I’m sitting here watching Khabibulin and goaltending coach Freddy Chabot do through the paces. Bulk Barn is one of the logos on the ice, and I have no idea what they are.
As you know I’m not a fan of goalies — more so goaltender commentators, but it was interesting watching Chabot warm-up Khabibulin. They were out for at least 20 minutes before everyone else. Chabot had 50 pucks in the slot and he would rotate firing them at Khabibulin’s left and right side. Every shot the Bulin Wall would put into the corner. He put eleven straight from the left side in the exact same spot; directly to the corner under the NHL.com logo on the boards. Pretty impressive puck control from Khabibulin.
The lineup tonight looks very similar to Tuesday’s game in Calgary.
Jacques — Horcoff — Schremp
O’Sullivan — Comrie — Stone
Lazo — Brule — Linglet
Brennan — O’Marra — Stortini
Gilbert — Chorney
Staios — Arsene
Strudwick — Plante
Khabibulin and Dubnyk
We’ll see Brule and Khabibulin for the first time tonight, along with O’Marra, Linglet and Lazo.
Brule was scheduled to play in Calgary but sat out due to the flu, and he says he feels fine now.
Things to watch tonight
- JF Jacques needs to be much better than he was on Tuesday. He wasn’t physical and on four separate occasions he didn’t help Horcoff on draws. Quinn pointed it out on Wednesday, and I’ll be curious to see if Jacques “gets it” tonight. Jacques better show he knows he has to play a 4th line role regardless of who he plays with.
- Brule has a job to win if he wants it. He is much more physical than Pouliot, is just as good in the draws, and plays way more aggressively. I spoke to him yesterday and he is eagerly waiting for tonight. He wants a regular spot in the lineup.
- Can Schremp make some plays five-on-five? We know he is good on the PP, but he won’t make this team if he can’t contribute even strength. He has been much better moving his feet so far this year. It seems he has broken the habit of getting across the blueline and then coasting into the zone. He needs to keep moving his feet.
- I know many of you were impressed by Stone on Tuesday, and you should have been. But he was playing against predominantly AHL players. He won’t stick here, but he can make a good impression and be one of the first guys called up when the injury bug hits.
- Will O’Sullivan and Comrie have the same chemistry or was it only one game? At some point this pre-season, either Comrie or Cogliano will have to play a game on the wing. There isn’t enough room for both of them in the middle. Neither should centre the 4th line, so I’m curious to see which guy will be the first to play the wing.
- How long will it take for Brennan to drop his gloves? He didn’t find a dance partner on Tuesday and you know he wants to make a statement with his fists tonight. Brennan firmly believes he can take MacIntryre’s spot on this team. I don’t see how, since he only has an AHL contract, but he is confident he can.
- Will they play Cotton-Eyed Joe again tonight? I can’t believe they still play that song, since I don’t know any fan or player who gets fired up by that song. It is AWFUL. They played it on Wednesday, and the Islanders scored a minute after to tie the game in the 3rd period. The only way that song should ever be played again is if the actual “Joe” makes a one-night only return to Rexall.You remember him don’t you? The song would come on, and he’d jump out of his seat and start to dance up and down the stairs, then halfway through the song he’d take his shirt off, and finish his dance. He looked like an idiot, but it was entertaining for a year or so. It ended when he thought he should get paid more than just getting to gold seats every game.
***An aside about “Joe”. One night at the old Cocktail Club on the southside, I was drinking after an Oiler game. Brett Lindros was in there and a buddy of mine knew him through a friend. He was retired and now hosting the “Be A Player” show that aired on TSN. We are having few pops and Lindros is telling us some classic stories about his time with the Islanders, when “Joe” comes over and interrupts. “Joe” starts in on Brett about how he should do a variety of things differently on his show. He starts telling him how to ask question better.
To Lindros’ credit he was calm throughout. He said thanks for the tips and turned around to talk to us. Well, “Joe” wouldn’t let it go and gives him the “Don’t you know who I am” line. I’m not lying. Lindros, of course, had no clue who he was, so we filled him in. Lindros starts to laugh and says, “You keep dancing man, maybe one day you’ll be on Broadway.”“Joe” starts on with “My career will last longer than yours did”, and then he must have thought his song was playing because he took his shirt off in the bar and takes a step towards Brett.
Finally Lindros has had enough. He takes one hand and puts it on the face of “Joe” and literally picks him up by the face, and shoves him away and says get lost. The bouncers come over and grab “Joe”, who is fuming now. He challenges Lindros to come outside, but the bouncer steps in and says he’ll take care of it. “Joe” stood outside the bar for an hour and a half waving at Lindros through the window. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. The guy was off his rocker, and he really thought he was an Edmonton celebrity because of his song.
I asked Pat Quinn about what roles his coaches would have this season.
- Tom Renney will be in charge of the defence and practice.
- Wayne Fleming will run the powerplay and be one of the observers from up above.
- Kelly Buchberger is in charge of the PK and will be an in game observer on the bench and relay info to Quinn.
- Quinn will oversee all three of these facets and plans to work closely with all three.