MEDICALS AND MORE

The Edmonton Oiler players are up and at it early this morning as medicals started at 7:30 a.m. The usual eye test, VO2 max and overall checkups will take close to 90 minutes. Then the players will do a plethora of photo shoots and promo campaigns before they hit the ice tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. at Rexall Place.

Usually the players loathe medicals, but after being locked out for four months all of them were smiling as they made their way from station to station. The players are just as excited, maybe even more, than the fans to get the season started.

The Oilers open up on the road on next Sunday in Vancouver, and then their home opener is on Tuesday January 22nd v. the San Jose Sharks. You can see the entire schedule here.

The big difference about medicals this year is that the Oilers need to be out of here by noon due to the Edmonton Rush home opener at 2 p.m when they host the Toronto Rock. It will make for a hectic day for those administrating the tests, because usually they’d have all day to tear down their stations, but they have a mucher shorter deadline.

QUICK HITS

  • Lost in all the hype surrounding Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall’s offensive numbers in OKC and the KHL is how healthy Ales Hemsky is. Hemsky hasn’t been 100% healthy in almost two years, but he feels great and was tearing up the Czech league with 14 goals and 32 points in 27 games. The kids need to be solid, but if the Oilers are going to compete for the playoffs I think Ales Hemsky and Ryan Whitney need to be the players they’ve shown they can be in the past. Hemsky is still an incredibly skilled player, and now that he’s healthy I expect him to have a solid campaign.
     
  • Nikolai Khabibulin is injured and Yann Danis will be here according to camp roster. Oilers are saying it is precautionary, but with Khaibulin’s recent injuries it has to be a bit of a concern.
     
  • With Hall, RNH and Eberle likely to start the season together, Hemsky won’t have to face the best defender every night, and he should flourish against 2nd and sometimes 3rd pairing defenders.
     
  • Interesting decision by the Canadiens. They have told Scott Gomez to stay home and they will buy him out next summer. The Habs will pay him $5.5 million to sit at home while he takes $7.35 million off their cap hit. Ouch.
     
  • Tim Thomas is not reporting to Bruins camp and will be suspended. Thomas’ $5 million cap hit will count against the Bruins’ cap unless they trade him. The Bruins only have $1.3 million in cap space right now and Thomas’ decision not to report could impact what they do at the trade deadline.
     
  • Jamie Benn and P.K Subban didn’t report to camps this morning. The Stars and Habs need them in camp soon, but right now Kypreos reported they aren’t close to a deal.
     
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looks like he’s put on five pounds of muscle. His upper body is a thicker and he said his shoulder feels fine. He’s only played six games since Dec 3rd, so he will be rested and ready to go when the season starts.
     
  • If you are itching to see some action at Rexall Place I’d recommend watching the Edmonton Rush today at 2 p.m. First overall draft pick Mark Matthews makes his Rush debut, and the 6’4", 225 pounder sniper is the first superstar forward the Rush have ever had. He’ll be worth the price of admission.
     
  • The Oiler practices on Monday- Wednesday will be open to the public. Doors open at 10 a.m and practice starts at 11 a.m.
     
  • UPDATES

  • Justin Schultz will be paired with Nick Schultz to start camp said Krueger. 

  • Contrary to earlier reports Yann Danis is not in attendance at camp. Khabibulin and Dubnyk will be the only goalies in camp, to start at least. Interesting that Danis was on camp roster early in morning but not now.
     
  • Krueger said he will start season with 14 forwards and 7 D-men. I wonder if that changes before Sunday. The Oilers choose 2nd on the waiver wire behind Columbus and the Blue Jackets don’t need any D-men. I think the Oilers will want to add another veteran D-man, and might look at the waiver wire.
     
  • Cam Barker has signed a one-year deal with Vancouver. Many teams are desperate for some depth on the blueline, and the Oilers and Red Wings are at the top of that list. Things are dire when Barker lands a contract. I’m happy for any guy who gets a contract, but I will be surprised if he plays more than 15 games for Van. They signed him as depth guy. Oilers need to find some depth for their blueline, because none of their defenders in OKC are ready to step in and play if the injury bug bites the Oilers.
      
  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Hemsky: not liking him is a fan’s privilege… but making crap up is just silly.

    His money isn’t hurting the team; he’s not preventing ST from doing anything to help the team; his injuries are regrettable, but hardly out of place in hockey; He’s not old; his career production (even through these dark years) is on par with the rest of the near-elite players in the league; he is an exceptional two-way player; he takes bruises and keeps playing

    … and last year a lot of media types got embarrassed after haranguing Hemsky about practice only to have Renney slap them around because Hemsky was getting physio done… ie., not being lazy.

    Thomas: I don’t begrudge the guy his right to hold delusional and fringe views. I do however believe in the power of the marketplace of ideas which functions best when ideas are contested and BS is called out for what it is.

    He’s the one that linked his year off — “hockey’s not very important right now” — to a series of crack-pot tin-foil hat crap…

    Barker: The Oil didn’t pay Barker that money because they thought he was worth it… he was obliged that money because of the old CBA. the Oil had the cap room, were light on D and hoped to re-tool a young D lost in the wilderness…

    at the time it was a safe risk… that fantastically failed.

    The nucks have no excuse to sign him… however, it is also clearly a safe risk… the $ is nothing and he won’t get a sniff of the NHL unless MONO goes through the team, or he miraculously learns how to play D.

    Comparing him to Teubert is an unforced error.

  • Clyde Frog

    There is a difference in being on the 23 man roster and playing in AHL. Kreuger has already stated he is only carrying 7D to start.
    On a side note he is out performing Barker in the AHL this year…

    But I digress, I’m just having fun watching you try and sell that the ‘Nucks picking up sloppy seconds from the Oiler’s is a good thing.

    This has to be the best sign for our team in years.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    There is no defense for Barker. 700k for someone sitting in the press box isn’t any good, and what sort of insurance policy is he? If he ever has to play he is more of a liability and can make your team worse than or even neutral.

    Teubert isn’t ready for the NHL now, and wasn’t a year ago, but to even suggest that any team would rather have Barker over Teubert is delusional, not to mention last year was Teubert’s first year of NHL hockey, while Barker is playing for his 4th NHL team? And if he was drafted 33rd overall probably would be in the Swiss league.

    • DSF

      They’re both inadequate but suggesting Teubert is somehow superior is just goofy.

      As Ryan mentioned , the Kings were very happy to see his back.

      That Teubert, a former 13th overall pic, has only been able to play 24 NHL games with the worst defensive team team in the league 5 years after being drafted, tells you pretty much all you need to know.

  • Oilertown

    Dont expect any moves from Tambelini., old dithers sits on his hands most of the time, dreaming about lotto picks , which my dog could have done. He should have picked up Rosivol or Colovacio [? spelling], last summer, even if it was a two year deal, would have had back end support , while young guns were improving in the AHL. Tubert is a big time bust.

    • Jason Gregor

      Defence wasn’t the issue. They gave up only 10 goals to best offence in the league.

      The Rush transition game stunk. They didn’t create hardly any chances in transition against a team that played the night before. Transition cost them the game, not defence.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Yet another 1st round draft pick from the 2007 draft goes bust. As much as I think the Oilers need an upgrade on him, that Gagner pick at #7 keeps looking better as time goes by. Too bad the Oilers fugged up picks #15 and #21 so badly.

        In any case, that draft will likely go down as one of the weakest in the past 20 years. Mind you, some of the mid-90s drafts were brutal as well.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          no doubt… crap year to end up with three picks in the top 21!!!

          but there are some gems in there… finding Benn at 129 is like a gift from the hockey gods…

          and check out Montreal’s picks that year… they killed it:

          22 Montreal Max Pacioretty L Sioux City Musketeers [USHL] 202 53 61 114 142

          43 Montreal P.K. Subban D Belleville Bulls [OHL] 160 21 55 76 245

          73 Montreal Yannick Weber D Kitchener Rangers [OHL] 109 5 25 30 50

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Gagner was #6 but I’m not arguing – who looks better right now? Maybe Logan Couture at #9? But his point production is marginally better on a better team.Max Pacioretty at #22? Meh. Maybe David Perron at #26 but he’s already missed a ton of games due to injury. No, it really was a collection of swings and misses in the first round.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            In a do-over I’d probably take Couture…. but I think I mostly appreciate his development better… Gagner needed to stew and learn for a few years.

            at any rate, we should be really pleased with Gagner… it could have been a lot worse!

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            So much worse!In fact, as I was doing some “where are they now?” research, I noticed Angelo Esposito(#20 Pittsburgh)now playing for Pelicans in the Finnish League, with none other than ex-Oiler Ryan O’mara as teammate.

    • DSF

      It really is amazing that a team that has drafted in the top 10 so often over the past 5 years has Colten Teubert as their best option for a call up if injury hits.

      And they didn’t draft Teubert.

      • Clyde Frog

        I guess thats what happens when you draft, in the first round, forwards with Hall of Fame potential rather than depth defensemen. We are just talking about Vancouver signing Cam Barker as their 7-8 dman. The last time time they drafted and developed a roster player was 2005.