Today was day 2 of camp and there were some positives to take from it. Here is a summary of the days events. Also check here for todays training camp lines.
Visnovsky’s shoulder is still an issue. He told Dan Tencer in an interview earlier that it isn’t 100% yet and he’s still having problems with the rotation. He is at least a week away from seeing any action, but he should be recovered in time for the start of the season. ”The shoulder is good, it’s strong. The doctor said I need one more week for re-hab, maybe I’ll miss the first week of the exhibition games,” Visnovsky told reporters. Today was Visnovsky’s first practice since being injured last year in a game vs. Chicago on February 3rd, 2009.
Pat Quinn had a lot of glowing remarks to say about him today. “From what I see, he has tremendous talent. What happened to him last year might be less than what the expectation might be for that skill level.” Jason Gregor also mentioned on Oilers Nation that Robert Nilsson looked to be the best player on the ice today.
I’ve been slowly forgetting everything I’ve said about waiving Nilsson, and this is making me regret that even more. But as I’ve always said, I love to be proven wrong when it comes to negative criticism of players. That definitely benefits our team.
Hopefully he can keep it going though, as he’s really in the fight of his life to keep his head above water. “He’s in tight,” Quinn explained. “We have more contracts than can play on our team right now. He’s going to be challenged for position and a lot of it has to do with last year. Although I never watched him play, so I don’t have anything but trying to pick the right guys now and he could be the right guy. It may be a good opportunity, the kind of style we’re going to play will play into his hands and play into his skills a bit better than it might someone else. He’s certainly a player of terrific skill that has to find a way to play better.”
Patrick O’Sullivan is looking to make his mark this year and may get a chance, playing with the top line with Horcoff and Hemsky. O’Sullivan is happy about the opportunity to play with the two.
O’Sullivan had a difficult year last year in which he seemed to have trouble burying his chances. “I’m frustrated on the side of what I was able to produce,” O’Sullivan admitted. “I’m definitely capable of doing better than that. I’ve shown that before I got here; I was doing that at a pretty good clip, and obviously the year before I put up 20+ goals. I know what I can do, and obviously I put a lot of pressure on myself after that trade to come in and do that and it just didn’t happen. I was getting lots of good chances and hitting posts.”
Despite his offensive struggles, Patrick O’Sullivan still managed to help the Oilers defensively, seeing some limited time on the penalty kill. “I think I was able to come in and kill penalties and still contribute in other ways that I can help the team out with. It was definitely frustrating on the offensive side, but I’d like to think I did the other things that I’m good at, at least a little to help the team.”
O’Sullivan’s natural position is a center, something the Oilers have in bulk, but he says he doesn’t mind playing any of the 3 forward positions. “That’s something I just kind of learned out of necessity. My first year in L.A., I was bouncing around on different lines and I had to show that I could be good defensively to get more responsibility. I don’t mind where I play, that’s up to the coaches, and wherever they want me to play I’ll play.”
While last year was a struggle for him, offensively, his hopes are that this year could be a much improved year for him. “Last year was a difficult year with the contract problem I had to start, and then the trade. I think the year before was really the year that I established myself as a player and I think naturally I’d like to take another step forward this year.”
Although he’d like to have his best season this year, O’Sullivan states that his individual effort aren’t what matters most to the team. “At the end of the day, I want to win games and I want to be successful in the playoffs. That’s a cliche thing to say but I don’t really care personally how I do, I want to be on a winning team with a winning organization. That’s why I was happy when I did get traded here because I know the Oilers are serious about that and I’m happy to be in a place where that is the case.”
Sounds like he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders. In ways he reminds me of Shawn Horcoff, but with more potential. He’s got a fairly complete game, is a smart player, and has a great attitude. I’m looking forward to see what he can do this year. Sounds like he’s off to a good start this year so far at camp too, as Gregor said he looked like he was keeping up nicely with Horcoff and Hemsky, and predicts him to be the break out player on the lineup.
Rob Schremp Hockey
Reports from those in attendance were that “Rob Schremp Hockey” was on in full-effect today. He had a bit more jump to his game, scoring a nifty goal and making a very nice saucer pass on another play. Jason Gregor calls the goal: “Schremp undresses Jake Taylor and then goes top shelf over a sprawled Pitton. Best goal of the day so far.” Schremp later scores another goal to which Gregor comments: “Schremp just pots another beauty off the post and in. I don’t think he has a chance of making the team, but in a practice situation his natural skill is very noticeable. His skill set is world class.” It still remains to be seen how he fares in 5 on 5 hockey, however, so don’t get too excited.
Dustin Penner has slimmed down and it shows. Gregor says he pulled a nifty through-the-legs deke move only to be stopped by JDD. Later in the day, he fired a hard slapper that rocked Olivier Roy. Unfortunately, it seemed to have hurt him, as Roy left the ice in pain. He wouldn’t be playing here this year anyways, but hopefully he’s OK. Gregor stated that he looked fine in the dressing room afterwards.
According to Jason Gregor, the players have really bought in to what Quinn is selling and are really fond of him. “has been interesting listening to the players talk about Quinn. Every player I spoke with raved about his motivation tools and how inspirational he has been already,” Gregor reported on Oilers Nation. My is it ever refreshing to hear that. “He’s been great. He’s proven he’s a winner,” Sam Gagner said of Coach Quinn. “He’s got a great respect level among guys in this room. Everybody listens to him very intently on what he has to say. So far it’s been great.”
What to expect for day 3
Looks like Pat Quinn is going to shake things up tomorrow. He saw some good things from some people today, and likely some bad. But there’s going to be some new line combinations generated while he looks for some chemistry and tries to figure out who is going to show up this year. That bodes well for a few players (sounds like Nilsson might be one of those players). “What we were trying to do was get a little balance in the three groups. Tomorrow will be a different setup, we’re going to do two groups then pull them together and do a bit of a scrimmage,” Quinn commented.
Also today was all drills. Tomorrow we’ll see some scrimmaging, as Quinn mentioned. That will be a better showcase of what these guys can do.
- Stortini’s skating seems to have improved.
- Devan Dubnyk looked very solid today. He might not get a start up here this year, but that is promising.
- Colin McDonald laid a thundering check on Bryan Lerg.
- As per Tencer: “Bill Moores is sitting in the stands with the Oilers management team. He has 1 year left on his contract and will stay on in a scouting role.”
- Peckham is currently out with an ankle injury. No word as to when he will return.
Here’s also a video of Quinn’s interview. There’s a lot of interesting bits in that, especially about his thoughts on lines and ice time:
Click here if the video doesn’t show up, above.