Day one of training camp isn’t very exciting. The media stands around slugging coffee, eating muffins,debating the reasoning behind the training camp lines and wondering how a station can report Pat Burns has passed away, only to recant the report due to erroneous information. ***I’m not making light of Burns’ health, rather how incredibly insensitive we’ve become as a society that people race to be the first to report someone has passed away. It’s disgusting in my view.***

 At Rexall the players get to visit the dentist, doctor, nutritionist, trainers and then find out how hard they worked in the off season during the Windgate and Vo2 tests. The rookies did their medicals last week so they had an easier day.

This year the line combinations were more interesting, because everyone was wondering where Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi would line up. Here’s what you will see on the ice tomorrow at Rexall Place.
Dubnyk (40) and Pitton (50)
Whitney (6)/Petry (58)
Strudwick (43)/Blain (61)
Davidson (60)/Bendfeld (55)/Ehrhardt (75)
Penner (27)/Gagner (89)/Hemsky (83)
Schraber (74)/Pitlick (68)/ Ondrus (25)
Hartikainen (56)/Reddox (85)/Stortini (46)
Cornet (51)/Kytnar (64)/Abney (53)
Jacques (22) won’t be skating. He is still not recovered from surgery.
Deslauriers (38)/Khabibulin (35)/Bunz (1)
Peckham (49)/Gilbert (77)
Petiot (37)/ Plante (48)
Marincin (70)/Taylor (81)/Toigo (73)
Paajarvi (91)/Cogliano (13)/ Brule (67)
Giroux (12)/O’Marra (42)/MacDonald (57)
Hamilton (52)/Moran (20)/ Thomas (59)
MacIntyre (33)/Martindale (66)/ Livingston (69)
Aulin (47)
Gerber (29)/ Roy (1)
Vandermeer (2)/Foster (26)
Chorney (41)/Smid (5)
Belle (45)/Motin (39)/Schlumpf (72)
Hall (4)/Horcoff (10)/Eberle (14)
Jones (28)/Fraser (16)/Omark (23)
Stewart (36)/Vande Velde (54)/Pelss (63)
Gimblett (65)/Marquardt (62) Czerwonka (71)
Keep in mind that these are just training camp lines, but it is clear that Tom Renney wants Ales Hemsky to be excited and motivated from the start of camp. Last year Hemsky wasn’t impressed having J.F Jacques on his LW to start the season.
Horcoff and Hemsky haven’t been on a training camp line for the past three years, so there is still a chance they might eventually end up together, but it doesn’t surprise me that Horcoff, the best two-way centre, is flanked by two rookies.
The line combo that intrigues me the most is the Paajarvi/Cogliano/Brule trio. They have speed to burn, and if Cogliano’s off-season faceoff work pays off, then they could stick together. I don’t see Horcoff starting the season with two rookies, but that’s what the preseason is for.
I’ve been told that Omark will line up with some offensive minded players in preseason, but they also want to see how he can cycle the puck, so it makes sense that he lines up with Jones and Fraser for training camp.
  • ubermiguel

    So Pat Burns didn’t pass on yet? Regardless, it won’t be long by all reports.

    Eberle and Hall showed some chemistry in the rookie games. Hopefully that continues to develop for many many years.

  • Troyboy

    Let the games begin………… Been waiting all summer for this to begin….. Oh what summer!!!! I’ll be interested to see what kind of shape Khabi is in…. Is Jacques hurt again or how come he isn’t skating?

    • Ender

      We say that because we’re Oiler fans and we know who these guys are. A hockey fan in, say, Buffalo looking at these names would probably see far less to get excited about.

      • Ender

        You must be kidding. Team A’s goaltending is average at best, their defence is abysmal, and they have one line on offence. No chance for the JMC for them.

        Team C is the only one with enough balance and depth to be considered a frontrunner. Even there, Gerber will need to exceed expectations to keep them in it.

        (Interesting thought there; if Gerber does hang in tough enough to help Team C win, does that change what the coaching staff think about doing with Delauriers and Dubnyk? I know that Gerber is the only one of our four starting goalies with a 2-way contract, but if he plays better than the two youngsters, is there a chance he stays with the big club as the official #2?)

        • I agree, I think Team C is the most balanced of the teams. Decent blue line and goaltending (when compared to the other teams). Big drop off after the top six, but I think they’ve got the best of the 3 teams 😉

          (p.s. Fifty-FIST!)

  • Jeff Goldblum & Gordon Litefoot & now Pat Burns. I think that as more & more people start to become dependant on “tweets” for breaking news it’s only going to get worse.

    I gotta stop having 2 ON abs open on my desktop…

    *punches self in face for posting in the wrong tab/thread*

    • Jason Gregor

      On ice from 8:15 to 2:15…Different groups will go at different times, and there will be scrimmages in there as well. I think there is a free breakfast for fans tomorrow at Rexall.

      Sunday same time, but at Millenium Place in Sherwood park. Both days open to the public.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Good lord….not even day one and ALREADY we’re saying how awesome the team looks.

    You know…last year’s LAST PLACE team.

    That filled a bunch of useless holes with a crapload of teenagers.

    Hellllllo playoffs.

    I have an idea. Let’s…you know…wait for a little hockey.

  • Petr's Jofa

    @ Ender

    What are you drunk? You think Team C’s defence can hold a candle to team A’s? I assume that the balance your refering to is the fact that team C has it’s suck spread out accross all of their forward lines.

  • fuck off

    I would really like to see Gagner in between Hemmer and Penner. It will remove any reason for him not to do well. I see Penner as big enough to create space for the other two and it gives lots of options for play making they all think the game really well and it is time to put up some numbers for #89.

  • Ender

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    You think Team C’s defence can hold a candle to team A’s?

    Ummmmm . . . yeah.

    I’m looking for the stars you’re seeing on A’s blueline. I see Whitney and I’m not 100% sold on him yet. After that, nothing. (Unless you’re hanging your hat on the resurgence of Strudwick this late in his career.)

    C has Vandermeer, Foster, and Smid who are all NHL D-man. Chorney adds more than many of the other prospects at camp as well. While the corps on C would get killed as a unit in a real NHL game, they’re easily the deepest group of the three squads at camp.

    • Petr's Jofa

      Team A has Whitney who is the best d-man of the bunch and that’s why I like team A’s d-better. I would take him over Smid or Foster

      I see Petry & Chorney as a saw-off. Chorney has more NHL experience, but he was a disaster last year.

      Vandermeer is an NHL d-man and may be slighly better than Strudwick, but not by much.

      Belle and Foster are real wild cards for team C, but I would rather have the surer thing in Whitney.

  • No one has talked about this any where but are the Oilers doing anything to mentor these young guys away from the rink? Either putting them in a vets house or hiring a mature individual to “Care for them” there are many ways a person acting in a care role can help the three rookies become better hockey players
    1. Work out spotter/ trainer etc having some one there on a consistent basis can really help and motivate you in your work outs.
    2. Some one to cook for you. Young single men tend to eat garbage food unless the “good for you food” is easy and convenient. Making sure healthy foods are always sitting around will make a difference in their lives. You are what you eat! You don’t want these guys getting to much Wheat based beverages” just because that is all there is in the fridge.

    3. Some one to clean do laundry etc I’m not just talking maid service here but a “I am here to serve you in order that you can really concentrate on Hockey” mentality. It takes a special type of person to do this as it cant just be about the pay. It has to be a I am caring for you role. I want you to succeed and when you do I will consider that a great reward for all my hard work.

    I really think this is one of the reasons rookies fail they just cant take care of them selves. They need a family and hiring a man and Wife to live in the house and care for the rookies could be a great thing. A great former pro and his wife would be great and money well spent by the organization.

  • I can handle exciting last-place hockey, since that would give the kids a year to develop without loss of icetime that goes along with pressure to win, and we’d then have a good chance to grab a top-3 pick next year too.

    What I can’t handle is the craptacular brand of last place hockey we saw last season.

  • Ender

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    I assume that the balance your refering to is the fact that team C has it’s suck spread out accross all of their forward lines.

    The top line of Hall-Horc-Eberle is untested but I expect it to do well. Not Penner-Gags-Hemmer well, but respectable. After that, it’s lopsided. C’s second unit of Jones-Fraser-Omark looks dangerous (in this competition) and Vande Velde on the third unit is no slouch either. On the other side, Team A has . . .

    wait . . . still looking . . .

    OK, you have the New-And-Improved-Huggy-Bear and Rudy. You better hope your top line scores a ton of points.

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    Team A has Whitney who is the best d-man of the bunch and that’s why I like team A’s d-better. I would take him over Smid or Foster

    But do you take him over Smid and Foster? And remember, he’s coming off surgery. The second of such kind for him.

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    I see Petry & Chorney as a saw-off. Chorney has more NHL experience, but he was a disaster last year.

    Petry would have been the same disaster or worse. Chorney is the better player.

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    Vandermeer is an NHL d-man and may be slighly better than Strudwick, but not by much.

    Vandermeer is a lot younger. There’s a big difference between 30 and 35 in the NHL. Strudwick was bubble last year. I doubt he plays much at all this year unless injury hits hard.

    Petr’s Jofa wrote:

    Belle and Foster are real wild cards for team C, but I would rather have the surer thing in Whitney.

    Again, Whitney is only one guy. He can’t fill two or three positions on the ice.

    • You guys are both out to lunch.

      Team B clearly has the better Goaltending and depth to take down the other teams.

      The defense is stacked with Gilbert and solid AHL guys like Petiot, Plante, and Peckham.

      Add in the best of the rookie forwards with a rejuvenated Cogliano and Brule. Follow that up with AHL superstar Giroux and we’re set on team B.

      Did I mention Goaltending? Team B has the starter and the back-up. Team A has a kid that managed 5 good games last year and Team C has Darth Gerber.

      My money’s on B.

      • Chris.

        Wow Arch… I think team B is the weakest of the three.

        Team A may have suspect defence but it also features three of the most talented established Oiler forwards with Penner, Hemsky, and Gagner up front… with a second serving of Pitlick down the middle. (The best rookie camp surprise)

        Team C has the nicest balance… and “Darth Gerber” may just prove to be the best tender at camp… being that he wasn’t on the shelf all last year and is old enough to shave.

        Thing is… it’s hard to predict if Penner, or Hemsky, and the like will really bring it at camp. Vetrans tend to ramp up a little more slowly since their jobs aren’t really on the line…So when I comment that team A is strong I’m speaking more in a world of hypothetical… what if these three teams played out an extended tourney againsty each other with everything on the line?

          • Yeah, it will be interesting when this starts to get boiled down. I want to see those guys slated for the AHL club push really hard. Especially for that 6th/7th defense opening. I’m not sold on Peckham, even if he is waiver eligible.

          • Chris.

            It’s nice that Steve got to play hero and bring all the rookies to camp… but IMO it ridiculous to have more than two full squads going into main camp. 63-64 players… really? Training camp time is limited: let’s stop fkucin around and make the easy assignments pronto so the NHL coaches have more time to work with people who may actually see the inside of an NHL barn this season.

            This is year one of the “new culture” and unfortunately a lunatic standard has been set: all of next years rookies will expect an automatic taste of main camp; and so on… missed opportunity to set a more reasonable standard.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Eskies go 6-2 for the last eight games and make the playoffs. A little leadership goes a long way.

    Jason, has the intensity at practice picked up at all this week?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I really don’t see what the big deal on Jacques is. It’s not like because of him they had no room to sign someone else. They knew there was a chance this could happen when they signed him in the first place.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I keep hearing about “Exciting last place hockey” …. I highly doubt theirs any chance that actually comes to fruition. Has their ever been an excting last place team? I bet their hasn’t.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    i dont like the Paajarvi/Cogliano/Brule line. if it works, excellent, but it seems like it would be a ‘minus’ line. i guess thats what they have to work with though.

  • magisterrex

    That negative website linked above spends a lot of time complaining about either the team or management. Not a lot of objectivity there, IMO. Negativity tends to breed when left unopposed, and that’s what’s happened to that website.

  • Chris.

    Not to brag or anything… but I just took delivery on my season seat package.

    *rubbing hands gleefuly in anticipation of more piss poor hockey in an aging facility*