It’s finally here. Game 1 of the season kicks off tonight at Rexall Place at 8:00. The game is televised on CBC. Grab your beer, and pull up a chair, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for.
If you haven’t watched it yet, get yourself amped up even more by watching that incredible video above. I found it hunting around youtube. Credit to “Arpeggio4″ for creating it (looks like he did it recently).
Edmonton Oilers Line Up (Per Oilers)
Jacques – Horcoff – Hemsky
Stone – Comrie – O’Sullivan
Penner – Brule – Cogliano
Moreau – Gagner – Stortini
Souray – Visnovsky
Gilbert – Grebeshkov
Smid – Staios
Flames Projected Line Up (per Flames message board)
Moss – Jokinen – Iginla
Dawes – Langkow – Bourque
Glencross – Conroy – Boyd
Nystrom – Prust – Sjostorom
Bouwmeester – Regehr
Phaneuf – Giordano
Kronwall – Pardy
Post your predictions in the thread, if you like. As usual, feel free to chat about the game in this thread.
Random Tid Bits
Mike Comrie led the league in points for the 2009/10 pre-season, and was tied for first in assists. Tom Gilbert led all defencemen in points. O’Sullivan was tied (with 15 other players) for 4th in goals. The Oilers finished the pre-season tied for 4th in the Western conference.
This is the home and season opener for the Oilers, of course, but the Flames have played 1 regular game already. They defeated the Canucks 5-3 in a tough battle at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal also wrote a piece on how the three players involved in the Dany Heatley near-trade are looking for vindication. It’s a good read, and it’s good to hear the Oilers involved showing confidence in their abilities. Personally, I think Heatley will struggle off the get go, but I can’t see how he wouldn’t blow the doors off of the trio’s totals playing with Jumbo Joe. And that’s no slag against Penner, Cogliano or Smid. It’s just that Healtey should have a career season. As for our three Oilers who were left hanging for a while, I think each of them will have very good seasons.
Injury Update / Khabibulin Sweat-Watch
Sorry, couldn’t resist the Khabibulin comment. But there is an article up on the Edmonton Journal site that talks about the tactics Khabibulin uses to keep dry in the game. It also gives some insight into why he gets so dehydrated. The article says that in one game he can lose eight to 12 pounds of weight! Perhaps they should steal the “beer hat” technology and strap some water bottles to the sides of Khabibulin’s mask.
Also, just to confirm, Ethan Moreau is in the lineup tonight. He had an infection in his ankle that was giving him problems. However, some ice and good ol’ antibiotics have put him in game shape.
Also, here’s a good quote on Ethan Moreau that addresses a topic that came up on the Oilers Message Board a lot (what makes a good captain):
Ethan is a guy that has been here a long time, he’s established his worth as a hockey player. Has he been a 40, 30, 25 goal scorer? I don’t think so very often, but does he show up every night, use his skills, is he a leader by example, does he care about his teammates? Those are the issues that make good captains in my opinion, not how many points they get on a given night.
1st Period Summary
1:52 – CGY – Glencross from Boyd, Conroy
Boyd skates behind our net and fires a back pass to Glencross, who buries it.
6:14 – EDM – Penner from O’Sullivan, Comrie
Powerplay just comes to an end, and Comrie skates hard after a dump in along with Regehr. Regehr pansies out, thinking he’s going to get hit and wiffles a pass to his defensive partner which Comrie intercepts. Comrie fires it back behind the net off where Langkow accidentally mishandles it to the front of the net onto O’Sullivan’s stick. O’Sullivan slaps it and Penner bangs home the rebound.
12:09 – CGY (PP) – Moss from Bouwmeester, Jokinen
Bouwmeester fires a wrister from the point low and wide of the net (intentionally) and Moss tips it in.
- I don’t know who did the intro, but it was kind of a Scottish-themed Cirque de Soleil like production. Baggpipers, violinist, drums, 2 acrobats (one playing violin) and a vocalist played for the intro. Kind of neat, and from what I recall, similar in a way to last year. Didn’t get to see the scoreboard intro/music though if they had any.. was interested in what that sounded like though.
- Comrie, Hemsky, Souray, Khabibulin all get fair sized cheers from the crowd when they skated on ice during the introduction/
- Penner gets hit by Regehr behind the Flames net. Penner manhandles him and throws him to the ice, drawing a big cheer from the crowd
- Jokinen starts mugging Hemsky in front of the net, as he was trying to poke at the puck. JFJ comes to his defense and roughts up Jokinen. Staios and Iginla have words in that melee, as do Souray and Phaneuf. Iginla earns the double minor for roughing and Staios a minor for roughing on the play.
- On the first power play, Penner had a great chance at the corner of the goal. Kipper was sprawled out flopped on the ice while Penner battled trying to jam it in past him.
- Stortini nails Pardy, but somehow takes the worst of it, and skates off limping and is trainers.. looks like he just broke the bottom of his skate off on the play though. Stortini returns to action within 5 minutes.
- The Bulin Wall makes a huge save at the end of the period on Langkow to keep the team within one.
2nd Period Summary
CGY (PP) – Phaneuf from Bouwmeester, Langkow
With Staios in the box. Lankgow drops it to Bouwmeester, who makes a point-to-point pass to Phaneuf. Phaneuf blasts it high and wide from the point off Smid’s upper body and in the net
17:57 – EDM – Brule from Penner, Visnovsky
Brule steps over the blue line and wires a slap shot that beats Kipper.
- Fight: Stortini vs. Prust. Both players throw quite a few punches, but no one really lands anything big. Stortini looked to land a couple, one that knocked the bucket off Prust. But really no damage done for either side, as both guys had the other tied up pretty well.
- Fight: Gagner vs. Conroy. Conroy gets some good shots in early on (and Gagner shows a bit of bruising afterwards from it). But Gagner battles back and lands a few of his own and does well. Gagner reminds me more and more of Mike Comrie… minus the attitude questions (at the same age).
Here’s the fight, for those that missed it:
- Ryan Stone nails Giordano into the Oilers bench… Giordano has a good look at the pools of spit sitting at the bottom of the bench.
3rd Period Summary
13:01 – EDM – Gagner – Unassisted
Ethan Moreau pressures Giordano behind the net. Giordano tries to Steve Staios Ring-it-around-the-boards (TM) but the puck takes a bad bounce off the glass and out front). Gagner gets the puck and swings out front and goes fivehole on Kipper.
19:11 – CGY – Moss – Unassisted
The puck gets dumped into the Oilers zone and is bouncing around. Khabibulin comes out to play it, but Moss is all over him pretty quickly. Khabibulin tries to dump it in the corner, but wiffs on it and Moss taps it easily into the open net. What a horrible way to end an otherwise very good night for Khabi.
- Oilers kick off the period half-way through a powerplay with Quasimodo in the box.
- Announcers just mention that Horcoff has been a master on the dot – 10-2 so far.
- Souray throws the hands up and drops Iginla on his butt as he tries to rush into the Oilers zone down the right boards.
- Khabibulin has looked pretty good tonight, making some great saves at key moments.
- JFJ nails Langkow who tried to step into better position near the Oilers net.
- I predict it will be about game 5 by the time I’ve heard enough “Another Brick in the Wall” references to make me dislike Pink Floyd. Khabibulin is playing SOLID though.
- O’Sullivan gets a glorious chance with just over a minute left, all alone in front, but fires it wide. Shortly after, the Flames get a lucky bounce and score the game winner on a play that Khabibulin mishandled.
Man, what a heartbreaker.
The good: Gagner had a goal and a fight. He looked fairly good for parts of the night. Brule, Penner, JFJ and Stone all threw big hits tonight. Khabibulin played a very strong game, minus the gaff (see “The ugly”).O’Sullivan, in usual fashion, was all over the ice firing pucks.. he couldn’t bury any chances though, but it’s good to see him taking a lot of shots. They’ll go in eventually!
The bad: The Oilers got caught on their heels quite a bit tonight and spent too much time chasing the puck around in their own zone. Staios and Moreau couldn’t have impressed the coaches too much tonight, as both of them took bad penalties.
The ugly: With the puck hopping and on edge coming into their zone, and less than a minute to play, Khabibulin comes out to play the puck. Moss rushes in close and Khabibulin rushes to play it into the corner, but whiffs on it. Moss pokes at the puck and it trickles into the net before a diving Souray can stop it.