What a difference twelve wins makes. The Canucks have 28 wins compared to the Oilers’ 16 and it was apparent in their practices this morning.
The Canucks were joking around, laughing, playing shooting games and having some fun competitions while the Oilers didn’t even have a full squad on the ice. Dustin Penner and Shawn Horcoff didn’t skate and the Oilers skate was very brief this morning.
However, you get the sense that the Oilers will be ready to compete tonight after their worst performance of the season on Monday. Even the Canuck players were talking about how they expect the Oilers to be in a feisty mood tonight.
The Canucks with Ryan Kesler, Shane O’Brien, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, Rick Rypien and Darcy Hordichuk are feisty most games, but expect more emotion tonight than the past few games we’ve watched at Rexall Place.
This is the fifth meeting of the season between these teams and so far it has been a homer series. The Oilers won at Rexall on October 19th 2-1, while the Canucks have won three straight games at home v. the Oilers by scores of 2-0, 4-1 and 7-3.
The Canucks have been resting after a stellar 6-2 win over the Penguins on Saturday and they are rolling going 6-2-2 in their last ten. Henrik Sedin continues to be the surprise of the NHL leading the league with 67 points. Henrik is averaging 1.39 points per game, while his brother Daniel is averaging 1.3 and has 39 points in 30 games.
The Sedins have killed the Oilers in their career and along with Alex Burrows they are the hottest line in the NHL.
In the last ten games they’ve combined for 44 points. Henrik has four goals and 17 points, Burrows has eleven goals and fourteen points while Daniel has three goals and thirteen points. As a team the Oilers have scored 19 goals in the past ten games while the Sisters and Burrows have potted 18.
That shows how good they’ve been as a line, while also demonstrating how unproductive the Oilers have been as a team.
The good news is that normally at least these two teams put on a good show. The Oilers will be pissed off tonight and the Canucks are always ready to play a chippy game so we should see some fireworks tonight.
Roberto Luongo will start for the Canucks while Devan Dubnyk will get the call for the Oilers. Also Pavel Demitra will play centre tonight for the Canucks on their 2nd line.
Welcome back Comrie
For the first time in over two months Mike Comrie skated with his teammates this morning. Comrie is feeling better and is hoping that he is four or five good practices away from returning to the lineup. The Oilers would welcome him with open arms.
He’s played 16 games, but admitted that in the last four games he probably shouldn’t have played because he had no energy, but he still managed five goals in 16 games which put him on pace for 25. He is excited to get back on the ice and talked about helping the young guys deal with some scoring issues. He mentioned how important is was for him to have Doug Weight, Ryan Smyth and Anson Carter around when he was young and how they gave him some tips to be more offensive.
I think it’s fair to say that Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson could benefit from having Comrie’s advice not to mention watching how he is able to score despite his size.
Trade talk is heating up
I mentioned last week how Anaheim and Ottawa have an interest in Ethan Moreau, and that hasn’t changed, although no deal is set in place. But the Oilers have taken more calls and made more calls this week regarding Moreau, Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios. There is some interest out there, and it will be a matter of finding out how serious that interest is.
Staios’ injury might prevent a deal, but he is feeling better and if he can return and play ten games before the Olympic break he could be dealt. Some quiet whispers that once again the Kings might be interested in Souray and maybe even Moreau but right now they are only whispers. It does sound like there is legitimate interest in some of the Oiler veterans.
You’d like to think that that might light get them to play a bit better because Souray and Moreau haven’t played very well for the past ten to fifteen games.
Also, check out what the enemy is saying at CanucksArmy.com.