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

    Actually the salary cap is 70 million this year and 64 million next year. Geztlaf last five years 82, 67,66, 77,80 games. Plus he’s younger with size and a centre man, with grit and an Olympian.. Wouldnt u want to spend the money on him than hemsky. Everything the oilers need. If u listen to the radio, a lot of fans want the Oilers to buyout horkoff and give the captaincy to Smyth. Smyth was great in his day and I respect that but his skating has really fallen off and he’s 37 years old.

    • Jason Gregor

      Where did I say I didn’t want Getzlaf? He is a great hockey player. Oh so you do know how the salary cap is going to work, so why did you say it was going down? Thanks for using Wikipedia, to prove me correct. I don’t listen to the radio, so I don’t know people are saying that.

      I just read your first post. Ganger was talking about Horcoff and smyth. Both have admitted that. Maybe it included Hemsky, we don’t know that has no one had come forth.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Is practice tomorrow at 1100 am open to the public? Or is it closed. Is at Rexall?

    Also with the season starting will we see expanded coverage by the Team 1260 on the weekends.Will Strudwick be “the guy” leading the postgame show.Love Struds btw he is really coming into his own as a host and as an interviewer. His personality makes him the perfect host for the 9-12 spot. Laid back and reserved.He definitely offers a different perspective. I would like to see Goerges Laraque join him as co-host some nights.That would be a blast.
    Is there going to be an effort by the Team 1260 to give us not only the most complete Oilers coverage.But the most complete hockey coverage on the weekends. IMO it seems that the coverage during the weekends is very little in terms of the Teams coverage of the NHL. There seems to me dead air come Saturday and Sunday unless your a football fan or a WHL fan. Or a Rush fan. The NHL it seems has to wait till the Monday morning show to become news once again.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Hey Apotheosis, you say that cuz you are one of these Oiler homers that want to keep Smyth and Horkoff around or give Smyth the captaincy. I look at the big picture of this club moving forward. Its a salary cap era and the cap going down next year plus the Nug has to sign for big money. I would rather sign players like Perry Geztlaf. These players will now come to Edmonton and they don’t have injury problems. More bang for ur buck. Zero injury problems

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Well.. Mikey covered most of this…

      but first off… I think it would help if you didn’t treat the players on the team as if it were a zero-sum game.

      You have to ice roughly 14 forwards… just because your preference falls to a particular cluster of players doesn’t mean you can so easily dismiss the talents of the others.

      Also… while you are adding players to the team (Perry and Getzlaf) you might as well throw in Kopitar, Crosby, Gretzky c. 1984, Orr and Todd Harvey.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Who has ever mentioned giving smyth the C? It’s been a salary cap era since 2005. And the cap is not going down. It’s staying at 64mil same as last year. The two players listed will also want “Big money”

      PS Getzlaf has a history of injury…

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Gregor, I think u should come out and admit u have a man crush for Hemsky. I listen to ur radio show and read ur blogs all the time. If another player on the team is having some kind of success in the ahl or khl, you always say its not the NHL. Its a second rate league and i agree. But you always look at the negative of that players success. This year Hemsky has had a good couple months but not once have you mentioned the lack of talent in the Czech leaque, the no hit rule pr playing on big ice. Hemsky has put up the stats in his career but unforntinately he has been injuryed the last three or four years. Thats his own doing cuz when you play in the tough areas plus get older, you have to make sure your body is prepared for the wear and tear. Hemsky has elected not to the extra work. Who cares what he’s done in the past cuz the oilers need to move forward. They can’t afford to have a 5million dollar player who only plays 50 games a year even if they have 45 points. Hemsky has used his get out of jail card with the Oilers. Also when Gagner called put the vets at the end of last year about not accepting their roles, he was talking about Hemsky. Tambo has decided to keep Hemsky around and now they have damaged goods. Best case senerio Hemsky stays healthy and they get something for him. Hemsky has been his own evil due to his lack of professionalism off the ice ie weights. I admit you have somewhat changed your stance on Hemsky this year and they should think of trade him. However the fans want you to come out and say you are secretly in love with him.

    • OilersBrass

      I can’t wait for Hemsky to silence all of his critics (haters) this year. He plays well with other highly skilled players, and i’m sure we’ll see good things out of him this year.

      Ps. I also have a man crush on Hemsky…. Ya I said it!…. So what?

    • Jason Gregor

      I didn’t know you are the voice of fans. My apologies for not recognizing that you speak on their behalf. My bad.

      I’ve always been critical of Hemsky’s practice habits. I think he has incredible talent, but I wished he’d work harder at practice. If you think that makes me in love with him, then I guess I am.

      The point is the OIlers can’t win with one line…Check out OKC’s record…The kids put up huge points, but the Barons weren’t dominating the league, because they had no secondary scoring.

      Hemsky needs to play well, and as I pointed out he is finally healthy. I pointed him out, because many like you are assuming he is done, and many wanted to trade him for nothing last year. We will see how it plays out, but many other players have returned from a two or three year injury-riddled seasons and played well.

      Hemsky’s talent has eroded, he’s been injured. Now he’s healthy and I expect he will have a good year. I can’t predict if he will stay healthy, no one can, but if he does he’ll be productive.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    My wish list this year:

    Gagner shuts up the “critics” with a break out year

    Hemsky has a full season of health and can be the point/game player he can be

    Dubnyk wins wins 20-25 of the 35 I expect him to play

    Oilers make the playoffs between the 4 and 6th seed

  • justDOit

    The only conclusion that we can draw from Thomas’ actions, is that he’s a man of his convictions. We don’t know his reasons for not playing this season, and therefore shouldn’t be making assumptions on his mental abilities.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Super excited to see Hemsky roll out a full healthy season.

    The kids are obviously the most important part of the puzzle but I still get more excited and/or frustrated by my old stand-bys: hemsky and smid.

    WHat are the chances Tambi throws an offer sheet at Benn or Subban… is that possible?

    (I think I saw Benn at my dentist over the holidays… might have been a hockey mirage)

    @Gregor… are you sure the kids will be sent out against the top QoC? I’m sure Hall could handle the pressure… but I’d expect Gagner-Hemsky +1 to take on those cats and leave RNH-Eberle +1 to tackle the softies…

    @Lucky… Thomas is partly insane and convinced the world needs his vast “faux-libertarian” brain to sort out the problems of executive over-reach

    also… any chance the Oil are saying Nik is “unhealthy” in order to torpedo his final 48 games as an Oiler early… a different version of the Gomez ordeal.

    • Jason Gregor

      I’m sure Krueger will want Horcoff and Smyth playing tougher minutes at home, but on the road opposing coach will likely want his best D out against 4/93/14…

      Krueger said he isn’t going to disrupt his rotation too much just to get matchups. We shall see how the see goes…

  • book¡e

    Thomas is building his own personal bunker for when Obama brings in UN troops to take away everyone’s guns so that he can finish his socialist takeover of the country. Seriously, have you read any of the guys rants online. If I were his teammate, I would rather he not come.

    As per Yan vs Nik, I would rather have Nik as a back up. I think he would the better goalie for 8-12 games and would be a better goalie mentor.

    • justDOit

      I think Subban will be sitting for a while. Montreal has cap problems along with a lot of other teams. Player will see that the new cap era won’t get them historic salary jumps.It will take some time to see where that new normal is.

      If he can be signed for a resonable dollar, it would be great to see him in Edmonton. How about Yak & Gagner for Galchenyuk, Subban and a second.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I dont see that happening imo, even though it would be sweet to have Subban in Oiler colors, I think he wants close to the 6mil mark and that might be a little to much with having to re-sign J.Shultz after next season and RNH after this year, both will want close to that too.

      • justDOit

        And with the way that Petry improved over the course of last season, I think it would be crazy to trade him now – and he just signed a pretty friendly contract.

        • a lg dubl dubl

          Him and Smid have been lights out,for the most part, playing together. Your’re right it would be a shame to trade him right now, Peckham on the other hand….