After earning a single point in a strong come-from-behind effort vs. Anaheim Tuesday night, the Oilers were back at Rexall Place Wednesday morning for an off-ice workout and optional skate.
Eleven players took to the ice: Devan Dubnyk, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, Gilbert Brule, Ryan Jones, Jean-Francois Jacques, Theo Peckham, Jason Strudwick, Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini.
But it was several of the absent players who dominated conversation among the media.
Midway through the first period vs. the Ducks, Shawn Horcoff collided with Corey Perry and suffered a knee injury. The captain did not return to the game and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.
Horcoff joins fellow forward Ales Hemsky on the Oilers injured list, depleting the club's offensive arsenal.
"You look for the silver lining, obviously -- I'm a glass half full kind of guy," head coach Tom Renney said. "It does provide us opportunity to look at the depth of our system, and we do have options and that's exciting. That does not change the fact that we're going to miss two crucial pieces to our team."
TWO CALL-UPS, PLEASE
To fill the vacancies, the Oilers recalled forwards Linus Omark and Ryan O'Marra from the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons. Omark currently leads the Barons with 13 goals and 13 assists in 26 games, while O'Marra leads the team in plus/minus with +11.
Press release: Oilers recall Omark & O'Marra
Tom Renney on Omark & O'Marra
"The proper fill-in for [Ales] naturally is our leading scorer down there, and that's Linus. He can play both wings and it's a good fit from that point of view. And with Ryan, he's a centerman and that fills a need for us through the Horcoff thing. It's pretty straightforward," Renney explained.
23-year-old O'Marra made his NHL debut last season with the Oilers, tallying one assist in three games. Omark has yet to play an NHL game but has a bevy of fans and supporters, thanks in part to a handful of spectacular shootout videos that went viral on the internet.
Omark scores six
Omark's breakaway vs. Manitoba
Omark gets creative in shootout vs. MB
Omark's sensational shootout goal
Omark's creativity is easy to applaud, but some have questioned whether he has the maturity or defensive awareness to make the step to the NHL. Renney is confident the young Swede is ready for the challenge.
"I've said a hundred times that the toughest thing to defend in the game is somebody else's imagination with the puck, and so we're not going to stifle that, but we're certainly going to stress the fact that we don't turn pucks over here, and if we do it's damage to the team, naturally, and we can't have that," the coach said. "Be creative, do your thing, but understand that there's four guys on the ice that can skate that will help you get from A to B. And just play the team game."
SETTING THE LINES
Omark and O'Marra shared space on the Barons' top line, but Renney insisted he hasn't finalized the look of the Oilers front lines just yet.
"We're kind of playing around with that now," he said. "The big thing is that we knew we needed offence and we knew we needed a centericeman. That was job one -- now we'll kind of connect the dots and see what we can come up with to make us competitive.
"We'll try to put something together that suggests some balance but with some good attack, but also a defensive awareness as well."
In the latest edition of our fan question series, Jason Toshach of Edmonton, AB submitted a question for Taylor Hall.
JASON: "Is the daily schedule of the NHL what you expected? Is it less or more busy? Do you have as much free time? Have you found anything fun in the city since being here thats not hockey related?"
TAYLOR: "There's definitely not a lot of free time. Not only on the ice for practice, but there's a lot of extra curricular stuff that you kind of have to take care of.
When you're an 18-year old moving to a new city, you have to get an apartment, get furniture, get cleaning people and everything. So it was kind of hectic there for the first little bit but it has settled down now.
There's lots of stuff to do around town, but where you're this busy, hanging out with friends and teammates is usually the most fun."
Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Tom Gazzola