After the most talked about, and hyped summer in Oiler history, we finally get to see the "Future" in game action when Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and the rest of the Oiler rookies take on the Canucks rookies at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
The SOEC is a spectacular facility with a seating capacity of 5,200 with an additional 1,300 standing room if needed. Penticton has really embraced this tournament with some very affordable packages. You could get a ticket to all eight tournament games for only $66. And the first 1,000 packages purchased also recieved a pass to the Canucks’ veterans training camp.
The organizers have planned out every day for each team. For the Oilers they were on the ice today from 10-11 a.m., then they had the gym from 11:15 to noon. Lunch was 11:30 to 1:00 and then they have a post game meal from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight. Tomorrow, the only day the Oilers don’t have a game, they will be on the ice from 1:45-2:45 and then have lunch right after. The organizers have a schedule for all five teams, and they run a tight ship here at the SOEC. Our friend, Elliotte Friedman couldn’t even get in the building without two pieces of ID. You know it’s tight security when even Friedman has to abide by the rules.
Looking ahead to tonight’s game, Milan Kytnar, a 5th rounder in 2007, must be the happiest guy in the rink, as he will centre Hall and Eberle tonight.
Here is what the lines should look like tonight.
Taylor Hall (1st, 2010) Milan Kytnar (5th, 2007) Jordan Eberle (1st, 2008)
Magnus Paajarvi (1st, 2009) Tyler Pitlick (2nd, 2010) Phillipe Cornet (5th, 2008)
Curtis Hamilton (2nd, 2010) Chris Vande Velde (2005, 4th) Kristians Pelss (7th, 2010)
Teemu Hartikainen (6th, 2008) Ryan Martindale (3rd, 2010) Cameron Abney (3rd, 2009)
Martin Marincin (2nd, 2010) Nolan Toigo (FA)
Brandon Davidson (6th, 2010) Alex Plante (1st, 2007)
Johan Motin (4th, 2008) Jeremie Blain (4th, 2010)
Olivier Roy (5th, 2009) will start and Tyler Bunz (5th, 2010) will back up.
On paper the Oilers have the most talented rookie team at this tournament, but as Oiler fans have learned the past four years being talented or competitive on paper means absolutely nothing once the puck drops.
The Canucks will ice a team with more non-drafted players than drafted ones.
Kevin Clark (FA) Jordan Schroeder (1st, 2009) Bill Sweatt (Hawks 2nd, 2007)
Rai Prab (5th, 2008), Alex Friesen (6th, 2010), Matt Fraser (FA)
Aaron Volpatti (FA) Stefan Schneider (FA) Kellen Tochkin (FA)
Brad Smith (FA) Pierre-Olivier Morin (FA) Dan Gendur (7th, 2007)
Kevin Connauton (3rd, 2009) Chris Tanev (FA)
David Fischer (Habs 1st, 2006) Evan Oberg (FA)
Taylor Ellington (2nd, 2007) Adam Polasek (5th, 2010)
Eddie Lack (FA) will start and Michael Houser (FA) will play the second half.
The Canucks only have seven of their own drafted players dressed tonight, while the Oilers have 19 of their own picks dressed tonight.
You can tell these guys are younger than the pros with songs like Tic Toc by Ke$ha blaring over the speakers. Paajarvi looked great in warmup. He scored three goals with all three coming in a different area. I’m looking forward to seeing him live for the first time. Paajarvi must be fairly big in Sweden, as there is a Swedish reporter sitting next to me in the jammed packed pressbox.
They are expecting a sell out tonight.
I will be tweeting during game and will give a few updates here and there on here. I want to focus on a few players, but I will have a post game wrap….