The first game at home after a lengthy road trip is tough on many teams, but over the years the Oilers have struggled to put forth a good effort — and they know it.
They had a meeting this morning that focused on ensuring they don’t have a let down tonight. With five straight wins, they have raised the bar and we’ll see if they can live up to their new standard.
The Kings didn’t skate this morning after losing in Vancouver last night, but don’t expect the Kings to be fatigued. This is their 7th set of back-to-back games this season, and they are 3-2-1 in the second game so far this year. Three of their first six games went to a shootout. They are 3-3-1 in the opening game of back-to-backs so they’ve been pretty much the same team both nights.
The Oilers need to be aware of Anze Kopitar, but they have to be more concerned if he gets a point in the first period. Twenty-three of his 38 points have come in nine games, and if gets an early point he seems to smell blood.
Sheldon Souray declared he’s ready to play as did Denis Grebeshkov so it looks like there will be some line-up changes. Pat Quinn hinted he might dress seven D-men, something he contemplated in St. Louis, but elected to go with the usual 12 forwards and six D-men.
If he goes with only eleven forwards it will be interesting to see who he sits down. It looks like it will be JF Jacques or Patrick O’Sullivan.
The top three lines should be as follows:
Penner — Gagner — Brule
Nilsson — Horcoff — Stone
Moreau — Potulny — Cogliano
Zack Stortini will dress for sure so that leaves Jacques and O’Sullivan. If Quinn elects to go with seven D, then I’d bet Jacques gets the short straw because Jason Strudwick can play forward and his game is more like Jacques’ than O’Sullivan.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
When Bill McCreary gave Souray ten minutes and a game misconduct, it was the first of Souray’s career. He’d been given misconducts for fighting or a major penalty, but never for talking.
Souray said he was surprised it escalated that quickly.
"I really didn’t say much. I thought he wasn’t protecting our goalies very well, they scored one goal right on top of him (Deslauriers) and then they got a couple whacks on our goalie. I skated off and said, ‘Bill you are having a bad game tonight,’ then he gave me a ten and called me name. I said, ‘So are you’ and he gave me a game."
Souray chuckled afterwards that once he got the game misconduct he said a couple more things because he had nothing to lose, and wanted to be like a manager in baseball.
SOURAY’S BACK PROBLEMS
Souray admitted his back has been bothering him all season, but it’s something he can play through as long as it doesn’t get much worse.
"I’ve had an issue with my back since I came in this year. It’s something you have to stay on top of and get rest and the proper therapy. There hasn’t been a lot of time to take a day off, but the past few days were a good time to stay off the ice and get a little healthier."
Jim Matheson asked Quinn if there was a chance that Khabibulin would be practicing with the team soon.
"We are hoping. He has to go through a procedure today and hopefully it helps him improve. He’s made some progress and we’re anxious to see him comfortable enough to get back on the ice."
Then I asked Quinn what procedure?
"It has to do with spinal stuff that they do. Enough said. We don’t talk about injuries that much."
So Khabibulin is getting a procedure done today. There has been speculation that he had a herniated disc, and had surgery. I can tell you that as of right now he hasn’t had surgery. That doesn’t mean he won’t need it in the future, but as of today he hasn’t had surgery.
When Ryan Stone needed surgery Quinn said it right away, similar to Comrie and mono, so based on that I’d believe Quinn when he says it is a procedure that Khabibulin is having on his back today. What we don’t know is if he will need surgery later on or if the procedure/treatments will be enough.
I spoke with a doctor right after the press conference, and he told me that in many cases they will do traction on a back to try and relieve the pressure. Traction is distraction of the spine, it is also called spinal decompression. Another common procedure would be a cortisone shot.
Most surgeons would try one or all of these procedures before surgery.
There are many types of herniated discs. A slight protrusion, or a complete herniation or a prolapse of the disc which is when the piece of herniated disc separates completely from the disk itself. Technically it is the nucleus (the jelly inside the disc) that herniates not the disc itself.
Where it herniates is the most important. If it pushes on a nerve that causes lots of pain, or if it is in the upper back it can push on the spinal cord if it is a large central contusion.
It would seem the Oilers are trying some procedures before they decide if surgery is necessary.