Flu hits the Oil

Yesterday the entire Oilers team got the day off, but today at practice many of them still were still MIA. Ken Lowe, Barry Stafford and crew are on high alert as they try to get some bodies healthy enough to play. They don’t think this is H1N1, but they are being cautious.

Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios are still out with concussions.

Ryan Stone had an MRI yesterday, and today he was getting a scope on his knee. They think he has a meniscus tear, but won’t know until they see it on the scope today. It looks like he is gone for at least two to four weeks. They will know more following the scope.

Ladislav Smid and Gilbert Brule didn’t skate due to the flu, and this same strain had Ales Hemsky bed-ridden for three days — both are questionable for tomorrow.

We also saw three new lines at practice this morning.

Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff have been split up!

Horcoff was centering Mike Comrie and Patrick O’Sullivan, while Hemsky skated with Dustin Penner and Sam Gagner.

Kelly Buchberger was in the middle of JF Jacques and Robert Nilsson, while the only line that remained intact was Andrew Cogliano, Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.

Right now, Steve MacIntyre is the only healthy extra body around, and he was practicing again on defence. If one of Smid or Brule can’t go then he is in.

The injuries are an issue, but I’m sure one of Brule or Smid will be ready so they can ice 18 skaters, but the bigger story is that Hemsky and Horcoff have been separated.

A new first line?

Without stating the obvious, both have struggled. Neither has looked comfortable, and a change of linemates might get both of them going. I’m not going out on a limb when I say that Horcoff won’t continue to be on pace for only 20 points this season, and that Hemsky will eventually look like a game breaker again, but it is clear that Pat Quinn doesn’t want to wait much longer.

This team is 5-2-1 without a sniff from their two top offensive players. That’s a sign they that have some depth, but eventually they need these two to start contributing.

Quinn doesn’t want to keep Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky as a line right now. He said if he has to go back to them he will, but he wants to have balance so those three won’t be together just yet.

Many have wanted to see Gagner and Hemsky together, and now we will see how they do. The way Penner is playing they might stay a unit for awhile.

A draft for all seasons

There’s still time to enter a few Edmonton hockey drafts to win prizes. NationDrafts.com is hosting three:

It’s free to play, and free to win. You can access all three using this link. Hurry and enter, as we’re closing entries this weekend!