- The Oilers' game day began with a quick 20-minute morning skate at Rexall Place; and following a pair of call-ups Friday morning, new bodies emerged from the team's locker room, skating in preparation for tonight's battle with the Chicago Blackhawks.
, 24, and Colten Teubert
, 21, are projected to be paired together as they both make their returns, donning the orange and blue for a second time this season.
Chorney was waived by the Oilers on Oct. 10 and was scooped up by the St. Louis Blues, but he was later re-waived and reacquired by the team that selected him 36th overall in 2005.
"It's been a crazy last six weeks traveling around," Chorney said. "I went to St. Louis for a bit and played a couple games, down to OK-City and now back here; but I'm happy to be here. This is where I want to be and this is the team I want to make it with, so I'm very excited to be back.
"I think I had hurt my knee a little bit in the pre-season and was idle for a bit," he added. "They wanted to get me going and play a lot of minutes down [in Oklahoma City] and get back on track because I was having a good camp."
It was a numbers issue as well. No. 41 has scored one goal and seven points in 58 career NHL games, in addition to an assist with the AHL's Barons in four games since the Oilers picked him up on Nov. 10. In struggling to earn a permanent spot on the Oilers' blueline, the 24-year-old understands that he needs to make the most of his latest opportunity.
"For sure," he agreed. "For a guy like me, guys getting hurt is how you get your opportunities; and that goes for a lot of guys here in and in this league.
"It's a great spot, a fun team and I'm going to make the best of it."
Head Coach Tom Renney agreed, adding that the organization didn't want to lose Chorney at all, but are equally as happy to have him back in orange and blue -- especially now .
"Internally, we were hoping he'd get through (waivers)," he said. "We're really happy to have him.
"If they keep the game simple, and that's a standard answer so I apologize, but that's what it will be," Renney added about Chorney and Teubert's assignments tonight. "Keep it simple, move the puck quickly, make direct passes when they're there and when they're not, get it out."
Teubert, who thrives in a simplistic, tough-as-nails role, couldn't agree more.
"It sucks for the guys who got hurt, but I'm going to take this opportunity. We've got to be solid tonight and really show that we belong here. The D's a little depleted, but [Chorney and I] are going to come and play solid and simple."
READY FOR HAWK HUNTING
Mired in a four-game losing skid, Renney will unveil some new line combinations, although they've yet to be dyed in the wool. In all likelihood, however, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
and Ryan Smyth
will be on the same line, looking to rekindle some pre-season magic that worked so well against the very same Blackhawks in Saskatoon on Sep. 20.
RNH is primed for the assignment, but is more concerned with the Oilers' team game, as the club looks to snap the streak and develop a more well-rounded 60-minute effort.
"I think the past couple games we've been making too many turnovers, and we just need to play our game; play Oilers hockey," he said. "We can't be making turnovers against a team like this, because they're such a good counter-attack team that when you do turn the puck over, they're going to capitalize.
"[Calgary] took it to them last night (winning 5-2). We can't sit back at all."
When the Oilers were riding high on a six-game winning streak a week ago, sitting atop the NHL's Northwest Division and Western Conference standings, there was so much talk about maintaining an even keel. Now the club is on the opposite end, but agree that a balance in mindset is required.
"We know that we need to be better and get back to our game," Nugent-Hopkins said. "We can't get too high when you're winning a couple games in a row and we can't get too low when we're going through some tough times.
"It's all about balance."
, who has recorded four goals and 13 points in 18 games this season, agreed. The 21-year-old notched a goal and an assist in last week's 6-3 loss to Chicago to wrap-up the team's six-game roadie, and his eager to get back on the scoresheet (and the win column) tonight.
"It's the opposite now," he said. "We can't get too low; we've got the get the positives and make sure we play to those. We've been going over video, seeing what we're wrong so we can correct those mistakes.
"It's tough coming over here and playing, as [the Blackhawks] have the back-to-back games. They know what it takes to win in those situations, so we've got to be ready to bring what they brought last week in Chicago. They're a high-octane team and if we turn the puck over, they're going to pounce and create chances; so we can't do that.
"We have to make sure we're putting pucks in the right spots and not allow them to counter-attack," he added. "It was a learning experience the last time we played these guys, so I'm sure we'll recover tonight and get the win."
allowed three goals on seven shots Thursday night vs. Ottawa, but will pit his 7-3-2 record, 1.74 goals-against average and .937 save percentage up against a team he spent four seasons and 202 career games with.
sat out Thursday's game with a sore back, but will draw back in tonight at Lennart Petrell
's expense. - View Line Combinations
NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW
Last 10: Chicago 6-3-1; Edmonton 5-5-0
Season Series: The Hawks and Oilers are meeting for the second time in seven days. Chicago whipped Edmonton 6-3 on Sunday in the Blackhawks' last game before their six-game road trip and the Oilers' finale of a six-game swing.The Hawks have won their last six in Edmonton, outscoring the home team 30-8.
Big Story: The Hawks' four-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt in Calgary on Friday when the Flames scored twice in 17 seconds early in the second period on the way to a 5-2 win. The Oilers' struggled at the end of their road trip, and things didn't get any worse in their first game back -- Ottawa came into Rexall Place on Thursday and left with an easy 5-2 victory, handing the Oilers their fourth consecutive loss.
Blackhawks: After blitzing the Canucks 5-1 in Vancouver on Tuesday, the Hawks didn't have it in Calgary, where the Flames reached the five-goal mark for the first time this season. Captain Jonathan Toews is glad to get a chance to put the game in the rear-view mirror quickly.
"We've said it before that you're not going to play your best game every night," Toews said. "We've been flying around and everything's falling for you. You're going to run into a team that's ticked off and eager to get better like Calgary and things won't be easy for you. We made it easy for them with the turnovers and little mistakes we made."
Oilers: It's time to see what the Oilers are made of. After a hot start that had them at the top of the Northwest Division, the Oilers have hit the skids offensively and defensively during their four-game losing streak.
It's for times like these that GM Steve Tambellini brought back forwards Ryan Smyth and Eric Belanger, who are being counted on as much for their leadership skills with one of the NHL's youngest teams as their on-ice play.
"I'm just happy to be here, to be around the speed at which these young guys play and practice. I'm happy to lend some of my experience," Smyth told the Oilers' website after Friday's practice.
Who's Hot: Hawks captain Jonathan Toews assisted on both goals Friday and has five goals and 10 points in Chicago's last five games. Marian Hossa had one of the goals and has nine points during a five-game scoring streak. Patrick Kane has six points in five games.
Injury Report: Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook has missed two games since going down with a lower-body injury against the Oilers on Sunday. … Edmonton lost defensemen Andy Sutton (groin) and Corey Potter (ankle) on Thursday; neither is likely to dress against the Hawks, depleting an already-thin blue line that is without Cam Barker (broken ankle) and Ryan Whitney (knee)
Stat Pack: The Hawks are 10-0-2 when scoring at least three goals.. … The Oilers have allowed 45 goals this season, down from 74 at the same point last season. They are allowing 28.6 shots per game, down more than three per game from last season's average of 31.7.
Puck Drop: Despite the recent slump, the Oilers are still markedly improved from the same point a year ago. With 20 points, they are eight points better than they were this time last year -- and their 9-7-2 mark looks a lot better than the 4-10-4 record they owned a year ago.
"The frustrating part for us now is now when we lose, we know we probably shouldn't have," coach Tom Renney said Friday. "We're beating ourselves."