Did anybody else wake up excited to watch some hockey today? Just me? I don’t believe you.
As much as I know that I will absolutely get bored of watching pre-season games before the end of this week, I have to admit how excited I am that the Edmonton Oilers (kinda) will be facing off against the Winnipeg Jets (sorta) in only a few short hours. For the first time in 113 days, we’ve got an Oilers game day to get ready for and that’s exciting because it means that the start of the regular season is just around the corner. All we have to do is get through these next eight (8!!) pre-season games and the starting line will be right there. Of course, we all know how the pre-season can start to drag in a hurry, and having two weeks of tune-up games is going to be a slog no matter how you slice it.
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My own impatience aside, the pre-season is meant for evaluating young players, working on systems, and for the vets to knock the rust off, and the biggest thing I’ll be watching for this afternoon is which (if any) of our prospects stand out in a positive way. Since we’ll only get a small smattering of NHL players in these early days, I want to know how prospects like Holloway and Petrov look relative to their peers and if the flashes of brilliance they’ve shown in college and junior can start to translate at the next level. I want to know if the guys I’ve been getting excited about over the years are progressing to the point where they may actually turn into contributors. Aside from that, I’m just happy that hockey is back and I plan on enjoying this afternoon’s game for what it is, the start of a new season that’s filled with hope and sky-high expectations.
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Gotta love that pre-season Kool-Aid, ya know? Delicious.

LINEUPS…

Oilers ***UPDATED***

Foegele-McLeod-Puljujarvi
Holloway-Malone-Virtanen
Benson-Hamblin-Bourgault
Schaefer-Philp-Chiasson
Kulak-Bouchard
Niemelainen-Demers
Murray-Samorukov
Skinner
Of the regulars that the Oilers will have dressed for game one, I’m most interested in seeing how Stuart Skinner looks in his first game as an Oiler since shutting out the Sharks back on Valentine’s Day. As for the rest of the lineups? I have no idea. The Oilers are a little bit slow in announcing who will be playing tonight and with who, so I’ll pop back in and post the correct lineups when they come out. BEFORE ANYONE SAYS ANYTHING IN THE COMMENTS, I AM ALREADY SAYING THIS IS JUST ME GUESSING AND NOTHING ABOUT THESE COMBOS IS ACCURATE! Thank you.
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***EDIT: Line combos are updated!***

Jets

Reichel – Dubois – Perfetti
Maenalanen – Harkins – Gustafsson
Toninato – Appleton – Eyssimont
Stenlund – Malott – Lucius
DeMelo – Sautner
Chisholm – Stanley
Kovacevic – Gawanke
Capobianco
Rittich
Holm
Don’t pay attention to any of these line combos as the Jets’ website just had their group split up into positions. As a result, I have no idea who a lot of these names are or who they’ll be playing with, but this is the pre-season for me too so expecting perfection this early in the year is honestly your fault. I keed, I keed.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers kick off the pre-season with a convincing 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: This pre-season game may be in Edmonton but that doesn’t mean we won’t still run a bunch of airport jokes on Twitter.
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NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: I will be studying this game closely for early indications of a pre-season champ. The Ty Rattie Award is very dear to my heart and I very much look forward to crowning this year’s winner.

#NATIONVACATION TO LAS VEGAS

  • When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
  • Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
  • What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
  • How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy) 
  • Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.