THE TEAM TODAY

The Team Today: Farm Fresh

Oilers call-up Dubnyk from Springfield, announce AHL franchise in Oklahoma

Tuesday, 09.02.2010 / 6:02 PM / The Team Today
By Jen Sharpe  - edmontonoilers.com
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The Team Today: Farm Fresh
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2010
FROM SEA TO SEA

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PHOTO OF THE DAY
After arriving in Anaheim from Phoenix late Monday night, the Oilers held an afternoon practice at Honda Center Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the Oilers swapped goaltenders with their AHL affiliate on the opposite coast, recalling Devan Dubnyk and reassigning Bryan Pitton to Springfield.

The long cross-continental flight kept Dubnyk from arriving in Anaheim until the evening, limiting the Oilers to just one goalie -- Jeff Deslauriers -- for practice.


ALL SKATERS, MINUS SAM

As the only goalie, Deslauriers was kept busy throughout practice, especially since all healthy skaters were present. Forward Sam Gagner, who tweaked his knee Saturday in Colorado, flew back to Edmonton Monday afternoon for an assessment. There is no timeline for his return to the line-up.

With Gagner out and a 6-1 loss to the Coyotes clear in their minds, Pat Quinn and the other Oilers coaches switched up the lines. Most notably, Ryan Potulny replaced Marc Pouliot at center on the top line, and Shawn Horcoff slipped into Potulny's place between Patrick O'Sullivan and Mike Comrie.

The complete practice lines were as follows:

Dustin Penner - Ryan Potulny - Robert Nilsson
Patrick O'Sullivan - Shawn Horcoff - Mike Comrie
Gilbert Brule - Marc Pouliot - Fernando Pisani
Ethan Moreau - Andrew Cogliano - Zack Stortini / Jean-Francois Jacques

Ladislav Smid - Lubomir Visnovsky
Denis Grebeshkov - Jason Strudwick
Steve Staios - Tom Gilbert

As for between the pipes, Oilers Associate Coach Tom Renney confirmed that Dubnyk will get the start in one of Edmonton's next two games, likely Thursday night in Los Angeles. "My guess is he probably won't go tomorrow," he said.


OKLAHOMA IN OCTOBER

Downtown Oklahoma City will be the home of Edmonton's primary AHL affiliate next season.
Midway between Anaheim and Springfield, Oilers representatives gathered at Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City to make a special announcement.

Starting in October, the Oilers will reactivate their dormant AHL franchise and entrust their top prospects to the passionate hockey fans in OKC. Until last summer, the prairie city was home to the Central Hockey League's Oklahoma City Blazers, who first introduced pro hockey to Oklahoma in 1965.


BROADCASTER'S OLYMPIC BREAK

Also on Tuesday, the Oilers notified fans that Hall of Fame broadcaster Rod Phillips, the voice of the Oilers for over 30 years, will be taking a well-deserved break for the next five games. Colour commentator Bob Stauffer will slide into the play-by-play seat for Wednesday night's game, and he will be joined by Kevin Karius and Rob Brown on the broadcasts during Rod's absence.


Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2010
OILERS at COYOTES:
AT THE MORNING SKATE


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PRE-GAME VIDEO POST-GAME VIDEO
GAME PHOTO GALLERY
After taking a full day off Super Bowl Sunday, the Oilers were slightly revamped during Monday's morning skate at Jobing.com Arena. But rather than opting for a youthful makeover, the club was a little bit more experienced, especially on the blue line. After missing 10 and eight games respectively due to concussions, defencemen Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid will return to the line-up tonight vs. the Coyotes.

"I'm really excited," Smid said after the skate. "It's been almost three weeks since I played the last game, and I just feel 100% and really excited to be back in the line-up."

"When you sit up there (in the press box) the game looks really simple, but on the ice it's a different story. It's always fast. I watched six games, I think it was, and I hope it's going to help me sort out the game."

Smid is expected to be paired with
Lubomir Visnovsky tonight, while Staios should skate with Jason Strudwick. As a result of the players' return, youngsters Taylor Chorney and Alex Plante were reassigned to the AHL's Springfield Falcons Sunday afternoon. BRULE & NILSSON BACK IN

Another two players who are looking forward to seeing some game action tonight are
Gilbert Brule and Robert Nilsson. The forwards were healthy scratches for the past few games and are eager to put the experience behind them.

"Obviously I'm very excited to be back in the line-up -- that's where I want to be, and I've just got to treat it like any other game and give it my best foot forward," Brule said. "I think [the coaches] just want me to go out and play my game, be more consistent. I think that's the key. I need to get more shots on net, I need to get hits, I need to skate. That's my game."

Brule will play with
Ryan Potulny and Patrick O'Sullivan tonight, and he had only good things to say about his linemates.

"It's a great line we're playing; we have a lot of speed," he said. "Pots (Potulny) is a really smart defensive player, and we can all score goals, we can all make plays, and we all work hard."

Nilsson is expected to skate with
Dustin Penner and Marc Pouliot.

"Bobby is one of those guys that you spot, you see the potential for big plays, and you hope that you find the consistency that you'd like to have there," Head Coach Pat Quinn said. "Bru, when he was healthy, he was playing quite well for us and is our third scorer I think still, even though he's missed a bunch of games."

GAGNER RETURNS HOME

After aggravating his knee Saturday night in Colorado, Sam Gagner made the trip to Phoenix with the team but will fly back to Edmonton today for assessment.

"I hurt my knee a couple of weeks ago and it's just been bugging me and getting worse," he explained. "I just tweaked it a couple times, so Kenny (Lowe, Oilers Head Athletic Therapist) pulled me and we talked about maybe going back and getting this done.

"If there's nothing structurally wrong, I'm going to maybe revisit the team in Anaheim (on Wednesday) and play there, and obviously if there's something wrong, get that fixed so it will be good going into the (Olympic) break."

ODD MAN OUT UNKNOWN

With Brule and Nilsson back in, and Gagner out, the Oilers must scratch another forward tonight. After the morning skate, Quinn still wasn't sure who that would be.

"My list is probably one of six, so I haven't finished spinning the wheel yet," he said.


COYOTES 6 - OILERS 1

Although Edmonton kept pace with Phoenix in shots throughout the game, the home team did a much better job of making theirs count. The Coyotes scored two goals in each period, and while Dustin Penner ruined Ilya Bryzgalov's perfect game with a late Oilers marker, it wasn't enough to challenge for the win. As a result, the Coyotes trotted away with a 6-1 victory Monday night.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010
OILERS at AVALANCHE:
AT THE MORNING SKATE


  MULTIMEDIA

PRE-GAME VIDEO POST-GAME VIDEO
GAME PHOTO GALLERY
There were few changes to report at the Oilers skate Saturday morning, with Pat Quinn confirming that the club will ice the same lines they utilized Thursday night in Minnesota. As a result, the same players will sit out tonight's contest, including forwards Robert Nilsson and Gilbert Brule.

"The criteria that we're going to have to establish here to make our selections about who deserves to play or who needs to come out or whatever it is, we need to do some refining on that because here's a couple of young kids that, on a skill-level, should probably be in the line-up," Quinn admitted after the skate.

Defencemen
Ladislav Smid and Steve Staios will also miss the game due to concussions, but after Friday's full team practice, Quinn said he expects them both back soon.

"They've been both medically cleared. Yesterday was their first real practice after considerable time out. We do a time test on recover, and they both are near good numbers right now. So I would say they'll be in very shortly but not tonight."

Saving face at Pepsi Center

The last time the Oilers were at Pepsi Center was nearly three weeks ago but the club would like to put it further behind them. The Oilers were thumped 6-0 by the Avalanche that night, and coaches and players agree that a repeat performance is not acceptable.

"That was such a disappointing night because we saw a side of our team that to me was ugly," Quinn said. "It's one thing to lose; the other thing is who you are and how you do it. That one was not pretty at all."

Defenceman
Tom Gilbert said that with two wins in the past three games, the club's improvements are obvious.

"I think the biggest difference is that the effort has been there a full 60 minutes. We might have a couple breakdowns, but just the way we respond on the next shift, try to apply pressure to them, control the puck, less turnovers, I think we're doing a really good job of that."

Quinn wants to see more of what really counts: winning.

"There's lots of good things these kids do, they just haven't learned to win on a regular basis or play as consistently as you need to get the result that they'd like to have. But I think they'll be good tonight," the coach said.


AVALANCHE 3 - OILERS 0

Despite being significantly out-shot from start to finish, the Oilers relied on goalie Jeff Deslauriers to keep them in the game Saturday night in Denver. Deslauriers was exceptional by allowing only two goals on 41 shots, but so was his counterpart Craig Anderson.

By turning away all 20 Edmonton attempts, Anderson backstopped Colorado to a 3-0 victory, his third perfect game vs. the Oilers this season.

Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2010
BACK TO SCHOOL

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The Oilers skated on Friday afternoon at the Joy Burns Arena at the University of Denver in preparation for Saturday night's clash with the Colorado Avalanche.

The lines the team went with were the same as last night in Minnesota:

Cogliano - Gagner - Penner
O'Sullivan - Potulny - Comrie
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
Jacques - Pouliot - Stortini

Grebeshkov - Gilbert
Chorney - Visnovsky
Strudwick - Plante

Gilbert Brule and Robert Nilsson skated on a line with Kelly Buchberger as the odd men out.

"Gilbert is another one of our guys like we've had all season long," Oilers head coach Pat Quinn commented. "One of the reasons we had Pisani out of the lineup is he looked like he'd dropped off in his ability to be intense."

Brule's performance against the Flyers was what had Quinn decide to put him up in the press box.

"Gilbert, who had missed a bunch of time with illnesses, had a game where he didn't appear to be in it mentally. Lots of positional errors."

STAIOS & SMID NEARLY READY

Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid also both skated with the team as the two blueliners inched closer to a return.


"I feel good," said Staios after practice. "I feel comfortable with where I'm at."

Prior to the start of practice, the Oilers skated both Smid and Staios hard to see if they're ready physically to make that return to the lineup. With the amount of time both have missed, conditioning becomes the biggest factor in whether they make it back in or not.

"I didn't feel good right after that skate, it was pretty difficult," Staios noted. "And the altitude made it more difficult."

"I'm pretty sure I'm ready to play, it's up to the coaches. Me and Stevie have been working pretty hard the last four or five days and I feel like I'm really close to playing," Smid remarked.

Smid also remarked that the conditioning tests over the past few days, and particularly today, have been tiring.

"Right now I feel really tired after the test but we battled through it," he said.

Their return to the lineup will be a hot topic among the coaches as they lay out their plans for tomorrow.

"We're going to talk about it today. Their drop-off scores (fatigue test) are very much improved over what they have been. We'll talk about the possibility of one or both coming into the lineup tomorrow."


"They were fatigued at the end of only a 35-minute practice," Quinn cautioned.


Author: Marc Ciampa with files from Steve Taylor & Bob Stauffer
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