Meanwhile, in practice-land

skate-or-die-quinn

I spent a bit of time at the Oilers’ skate session today. Ethan Moreau didn’t skate; he pulled something late in the game last night and will be evaluated this afternoon.

The lines looked like this today:

Jacques — Horcoff — Hemsky
Penner — Comrie — O’Sullivan
Cogliano — Gagner — Stortini
Nilsson — Brule — Stone

Reddox, Schremp, MacIntyre, Brennan and Eberle mixed in on different rushes. Moreau, Pouliot and Pisani didn’t skate.

Defence had:

Souray — Staios
Gilbert — Grebeshkov
Smid — Visnovsky
Strudwick — Chorney

Khabibulin, Deslauriers and Dubnyk

If Moreau’s injury isn’t serious, look for him to skate with Cogliano and Gagner, and then Stortini will move down with Brule and Nilsson.

You could see Nilsson and Moreau swap during the game depending on how the game is going. You saw Quinn move Nilsson back with Cogliano and Gagner in the second period when the game became more of a free-wheeling style. If the game is tight, he won’t play them together all the time but has no problem moving Moreau and Nilsson around.

These lines aren’t set in stone, because of the injuries, but they give a pretty good picture of what the opening day roster could look like.

On the blueline, the pairings aren’t set. Quinn said there are lots of discussions still happening amongst the coaches on who will play where.

Today was the most relaxed practice I’d see so far. Quinn had lots of drills focusing on offence and skill. In fact at the end of practice, Hemsky, Gilbert and Penner had to skate three laps as punishment for spraying the goalies with snow. It was not a hard skate, but more of a joke amongst the players.

Quinn also said, “I shouldn’t speculate but I think cuts will occur on Monday.” So we will see how it plays out.

To me Brennan, Reddox, Eberle, Schremp, Chorney and Dubnyk are obvious cuts. That would leave two more forwards to get cut, of course Peckham and Rajala will be re-assigned once they are healthy as well.

  • BarryS

    ronaldo wrote:

    I would like to see Penner and JFJ swapped in those lines. Now that Penner is a step faster, our old first line could be decent.

    The issue with Penner is he does not want to play on the first line, to much pressure I guess. In my opinion, he has looked the best in preseason when playing with Comrie and O'Sullivan and second best when paired with Gagner. In either case he is the recipient of passes and not dependent on rebounds as when playing with Hemsky

  • Matt Hanson

    Skate or die was a great game, does anyone remember the game Deja Vu, that game was fantastic.

    I wouldn't mind Hemsky getting traded during the season if he doesn't do as well as is expected

  • Robin Brownlee

    To me Brennan, Reddox, Eberle, Schremp, Chorney and Dubnyk are obvious cuts. That would leave two more forwards to get cut, of course Peckham and Rajala will be re-assigned once they are healthy as well.

    Jason, if I'm reading things correctly, you can add Nilsson and MacIntyre to that list.

  • Fisher

    Except that you have to think Moreau and Pisani (and possibly Pouliot) would draw in as well. Assuming that Jacques keeps the top-line job (?!?) that would mean something like this:

    Jacques – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Penner – Comrie – O’Sullivan
    Cogliano – Gagner – Pisani
    Moreau – Pouliot/Brule – Stortini
    Nilsson, Pouliot/Brule

    It does make a certain sense if Quinn really does plan to role his lines. Unfortunately, it leaves Horcoff as the only viable L hand choice for defensive draws, and one of Pouliot/Brule in the same spot for R hand defensive zone draws, but there isn’t much Quinn can do about that.

    I love these line combo's. Simple change of JFJ and Penner is a good choice and easy to do. I also like JFJ on second line. It's also not a band option to occasionally swap gagner and Horc now and then. With all that i'm hearing about Nashville and us making a date i see it as entirely possible that that Nilson for Marcel Goc (left handed center with some size and a pretty good FO%) OR (Trade him for a pick and sign Betts-also a Left handed center, but not as good in the dot, with the coaches connection for cheap) Sub either of these two in on the 4th line and i think were looking solid. Easy trade and solves the cap problem both ways. I'm thinking Goc; he's done little offensive and they need some scoring. DO IT, either way i'm smiling. DO IT!!!!

  • Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Jacques – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Penner – Comrie – O’Sullivan
    Cogliano – Gagner – Pisani
    Moreau – Pouliot/Brule – Stortini
    Nilsson, Pouliot/Brule

    I definitely don't like these lines as much as the ones that we have in practice today.

  • DaGongshow

    I am not sure why everyone is so hung up that the team will have to be set by the start of the season. I can almost guarantee that 1 or 2 guys will start the season on IR allowing management and coaches to have an extra 5 -10 games to make the "hard" decisions. We are not starting the playoffs yet, so there is no need for guys to play through pain.

    Quinn: "Fernie we are gonna start you on the IR to begin the season and give you an extra 10 games to get healthy. We know what your gonna give us down the stretch and going into playoffs. So get healthy and we'll get you in there!"

    Pisani: "Okay Coach!"

    Problem solved to get a couple extra looks at guys like Eberle, Nilsson, Brule, and maybe even Schremp. Just my take on how I see things shaking out!

  • Usual Suspect

    "of course Peckham and Rajala will be re-assigned once they are healthy as well."

    Rajala left for Brandon yesterday.

    http://www.cklq.com/index.php?cmd=TmV3cw==|U3BvcnRz&t=MTY3NzA=
    "Finnish forward Toni Rajala arrived in Brandon Thursday night"

    http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com/2009/09/farm-report-sept-25.html
    "Finnish forward Toni Rajala is now skating in Brandon but is not expected to be game ready for a couple of weeks. Rajala left Edmonton with the Oilers as they flew to Winnipeg for their exhibition game against Tampa Bay on Thursday."

  • ronaldo wrote:

    I would like to see Penner and JFJ swapped in those lines. Now that Penner is a step faster, our old first line could be decent.

    I don't think Penner is even a STEP faster this year. Lots of hype again about being in better shape, and the guy looked MAD lethargic against Tampa. One nice move on net, followed by a game's worth of jelly legs. I wish I worked for a guaranteed contract.

    "Haha, suckers, I ain't e-mailing @#$% today."

  • I read the Journal early this morning so I don't know if I'm recalling this correctly but I think Matheson said that Brule and Stone WILL be on the team, and hinted at Crazy Train being on the first line. I guess that 4 lines in practice confirms them and it seems very likely what we'll be seeing on opening night. O_O!!!

  • Chris

    @ EddieEdmonton:

    hxxp://www.faceoff.com/hockey/columnists/story.html?id=18f88cc7-dae3-49bc-91b9-f4b2a49d61c4&add_feed_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.faceoff.com%2Fcolumnists.atom

    After this little rant Hemsky completely disappeared down the stretch… (And hasn't been seen since)

    Please Ales… you don't have to be the "man"…just be what you were before the all-star break: The guy who was finally shooting the puck!

  • Fiveandagame

    I like these lines. I would think that Pouliot has a much better chance at being sent down over Nilsson.

    I like Nilsson/Stone as our extra forwards.

    I also think

    Moreau Brule and Pisani are a great fourth line. Why not bump up Stortini banging and crashing for Gagner that likes to generate his offense down low anyway. I think it's a good combo.

    Maybe I think to much of the guy but he's a more physical player than Pisani and those two mighty mites could use it.

  • @ ronaldo:

    I'd rather see Sully there for sure. Although, PDP fits on the first line because Hemmer can rag the puck forever, and Horc can cover for him defensively. Penner was a glaring defensive liability playing on a line with Schremp, another guy who isn't the greatest back-checker in the world, (although he definitely showed a willingness to try). In that sense, Penner on LW1 works, but he certainly doesn't excite me the way O'Sullivan or Cogs or Nilsson would from an offensive perspective.

  • heavyd

    Just wanted to let the owners of the site, that there is a website called oilerhockey.com, and they hvae stories from here on there. Don't know if they are affillated with this site or not, but just thought i would say something.

  • RossCreek

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    To me Brennan, Reddox, Eberle, Schremp, Chorney and Dubnyk are obvious cuts. That would leave two more forwards to get cut, …

    Jason, if I’m reading things correctly, you can add Nilsson and MacIntyre to that list.

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Nilsson, eh?
    Bold, if that’s the way they’re going to go.

    How is it bold to dump Nilsson? He's the only guy making any $$ that is repetetive. We've gone over how they can't just dump Moreau & Pisani without replacing them with other vets, so that leaves Nilsson & Staios as the only expendable $$ players. And in the now, Staios has more value to the team.

    @ Robin Brownlee:
    So you see them keeping Stone & Pouliot as the extra forwards? Do you see them moving S-Mac in a deal rather than risk losing him on waivers to a rival? Does anyone pick Nilsson's contract up?

  • Archaeologuy

    Chris wrote:

    After this little rant Hemsky completely disappeared down the stretch… (And hasn’t been seen since)

    He had 14 points in the last 20 games, 9 points in the last 10 games. Not exactly a disappearing act down the stretch. Funny how the memory works isnt it?

  • Robin Brownlee

    @ RossCreek:
    I don't know if anybody will puck up Nilsson with two years at $2M each year. Maybe a bottom-feeder with cap space. Somebody will take MacIntyre.

  • David S

    "Nilsson — Brule — Stone"

    OK. Help me here. Keep in mind I Only know what I see at the games or on TV, and from reading the wide range of excellent Oilogosphere posts. And I don't have NHL 10.

    Last Night I saw Nilsson score a sniper's goal and execute some world class passes. The night before I saw some pretty decent hustle too.

    How in the heck is a guy like Nilsson supposed to thrive with the likes of fringe throw-away players like Brule and Stone, when its patently obvious he works exceedingly well with skilled players?

    It seems to me that all three of Sam, Andrew and Robert have put more of an edge to their games over the summer. Why not challenge the three of them to play like bulldogs on the same line for 10 games or so and see what happens? Might we be wasting an emerging power line because we're overly concerned with "team toughness", so much so that we're basically placing a proven (although inconsistent to date) shooter with dregs. And hey, I love Zack, but no way is he going to be the lubricant for Cogs and Sam.

    Maybe Nilsson at his point total last year isn't worth $2 Million, but if he played hard this year and got a decent set of linemates he could go 25 goals and as many assists.
    Those sorts of numbers would make sense for alot of teams, wouldn't they?

    I guess I'm looking at a situation where a guy knows this is his last chance at an NHL career. With that sort of motivation, wouldn't you want to see if he's up for it before throwing in the towel?

    Cogliano — Gagner — Nillson
    Stortini — Brule — Stone

  • Josh Rose

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    If its me I keep Schremp and Stone as extra forwards, simply because i dont think anyone will claim Pouliot on waivers and Schremp i think would be.

  • Copperhead Mike

    David S wrote:

    Josh Rose wrote:
    and Schremp i think would be.

    We can only hope.

    I think Pouliot is definitely picked up. He has shown he has some skill and is fairly reliable defensively. Someone could get great use out of him as a fourth line centre.

    His versatility to me means he stays. Even as the 13/14th forward. He can easily slot in on LW beside Hemsky and Horcoff and not look terribly out of place, or he can work with Stortini and Stone on the down low cycle too. He won't WOW you in either place but he'll be solid and mostly reliable.