The Team Today: Welcome to Oil Country
Ryan Jones and Aaron Johnson debut copper & blue at Rexall Place
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2010JONES & JOHNSON SAY HELLO
Jones and Johnson were all smiles on the ice and also while addressing the Edmonton media for the first time outside the locker room.
"It's a great opportunity," forward Jones said. "I don't really know what to expect -- I just got in yesterday. But there's a lot of talent in that room. I looked around and there's a lot of young guys with great speed and skill -- Gagner, Cogliano, Horcoff. Those kind of guys can make plays, and with them on your team, you never know what you can do."
Defenceman Johnson echoed Jones' enthusiasm.
"I think this is a good opportunity for me. I have about 19, 20 games to try to prove myself and earn myself a job on this team and go out and take advantage of it."
LOOKING FORWARD TO FRIDAY
Jones made his Oilers debut Wednesday night in Chicago, but both players are expected to dress in their first home game Friday night at Rexall Place.
The experience will be especially unique for Johnson, who comes to the Oilers from their bitter rivals, the Flames, in exchange for Steve Staios.
"I've played a couple games (at Rexall Place)," Johnson rememered. "It was pretty intense, obviously. It gets pretty chippy out there. I think I might have fought the last game I was in here, but I guess that's just part of the rivalry.
"I heard that's the first trade between the two Alberta teams so obviously I'm really excited to be here and I'm looking forward to getting on the ice."
Jones, who comes from the Predators, said he's expecting the arena to be loud.
"It's a Canadian city and every time I played here, it's exciting. You feed off the crowd and it will be nice to have them on my side for once.
"I always play well in this barn, so hopefully I can continue it."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2010D-MEN DOMINATE D-DAY
At 10:30am MST, GM Steve Tambellini announced that the Oil had claimed winger Ryan Jones off waivers from Nashville. The 25-year-old Ontario native has 11 points in 41 games with the Preds this season and, at 6'1" and 202lbs, adds some size and grit to the front end.
At 1:30pm, the Oilers announced they had struck a deal with the Ducks: in exchange for Olympian Lubomir Visnovsky, Edmonton received another Olympic defenceman, Ryan Whitney, as well as a sixth round choice in this year's NHL Entry Draft.
REACTION FROM CHICAGO
"I felt good that we were able to accomplish some of the things we set out to do," Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said from Chicago, where the team prepared to meet the Blackhawks.
"We knew we needed to make some change, we did that. At the same time we've added the potential of 10 draft picks for this entry draft, we've reduced our cap space significantly in some key positions, and we've acquired some talent that's bigger with Ryan Whitney coming in, and Ryan Jones, we've accomplished that too. It's a good first step."
"It's mixed emotions to say the least," Staios said. "I can't say enough about my time in Edmonton -- great organization. And in this business you don't get to be in one place very long in normal circumstances, but I've been in Edmonton for nine years.
"The Oilers have been just great for me, and I want to thank them for that," he continued. "But at the same time, I'm a hockey player first and foremost and to be able to compete in big games down the stretch with the Flames and the opportunity to play in the playoffs is really the only thing that you look forward to as a player. So I'm very thankful for that opportunity as well."
Visnovsky said he was surprised by the trade but added that going back to California is the "best choice" for his family.
"It's a great offense team, lots of good players, good veteran players and I think they're three points out of the playoffs so it's best for me to play and try to help the team and find the playoffs."
But Visnovsky made sure to express his appreciation to the Oilers and the city. "I love Edmonton and have great memories and thank you very much for everything. I thank the organization, I thank my teammates."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer
TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2010OILERS at PREDATORS:
AT THE MORNING SKATE
Game day in Nashville started with a new experience for Denis Grebeshkov: less than 24 hours after flying into Tennessee as an Oiler, the defenceman donned the Predators jersey and took to the ice for morning skate.
After Preds practice, Grebeshkov said that he's excited to call Music City home.
"I'm looking forward to it and I hope I'm going to help Nashville."
When asked if he's anxious about facing his former teammates so quickly, the soft-spoken defenceman was unsure.
"I don't know. We'll see. But I guess it's going to be weird for me," he admitted. "I'll be professional. It's part of the business. At some point I'm going to play against them so might as well just start right away."
Oilers up next
After Nashville's skate, Edmonton took to the ice at Sommet Center. Head Coach Pat Quinn ran the same lines as during Monday's practice, with Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson on the top line, and Shawn Horcoff centering Ethan Moreau and Mike Comrie. Tonight's game is the first since February 14th for both clubs, and the Oilers are hoping the Olympic Break pays off in a win.
"We've only had two players participate in the Olympic Games so we have a relatively healthy, fresh group back so we have to make sure we capitalize on that," Associate Coach Tom Renney said. "In order to do that we have to push the pace and make sure that our change game is good, whereby we get pucks deep, we get off the ice hard, we go on the ice hard and really try to push the pace in Nashville if we can."
"I think that when you have a break like that, you really have to try to focus early and simplify things," forward Mike Comrie added. "For us to be successful and win tonight it's going to take all of us being on the same page and not trying to do too much."
The Oilers will also be trying not to think too much about Wednesday's trade deadline.
"There's some guys that are nervous about what their future has in store and that's on every team in the league, so everyone has to deal with it," Quinn said. "I think our jobs are the same thing: try to have your guys ready to play and ready to succeed and that's the way that we've approached today."
Andrew Cogliano's name has been mentioned in a few trade rumours over the past few days and he said he's "getting used to it a bit.
"It seems like I'm in a lot of rumours, but unless you hear from Steve (Tambellini) or the organization you don't believe in any of those. It's a situation where it's a business so you kind of go along with it."
MARQUARDT JOINS OILERS FAMILY
Almost exactly 24 hours after the Oilers completed the Grebeshkov trade, the club moved another defenceman, prospect Cody Wild, to Boston in exchange for forward Matt Marquardt. Marquardt, 24, has appeared in 24 games with Bruins' AHL affiliate this season, tallying one goal and nine assists.
PREDATORS 4 - OILERS 3
Mike Comrie started the Oilers off right with the opening goal Tuesday night, but former teammate Denis Grebeshkov helped his new team bounce back by earning a primary assist and then go-ahead goal before the period was out. From that point, the Oilers and Preds traded goals throughout the game but the visitors were unable to jump ahead and suffered a 4-3 loss in Nashville.
Gilbert Brule and Marc Pouliot added a goal and assist each for Edmonton, while goalie Jeff Deslauriers finished with 24 saves.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer