Teeth rattled

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Steve Staios doesn't get it: He gets hit in the mouth with a Dion Phaneuf point shot and doesn't spill a drop.

No broken teeth. No broken bones. No stitches or blood. Just a fat lip, which he'll gladly take given the possible alternatives.

"I don't understand it. Nobody gets away with it like I did,'' said the Oilers defenceman, who was jostling a Flame in the crease and didn't even see the puck coming.

"The teeth are a little loose, and it's a little sore, but that's it. No blood, no stitches, no missing teeth.''

No blood when a player is hit in the face with the puck often means a broken jaw, but he somehow escaped virtually unscathed.

"Broken jaw is what I thought, too, but no,'' said Staios. "My face was buzzing, when I was skating to the bench I'm thinking, something's (messed) up here. Then I got to the bench and it cleared up.''

He says they'll probably run some X-rays tomorrow just to make sure.

HORC THE HORSE

Just call him Shawn Horsecoff. The Oilers centre has been a workhorse in the first two games, logging 21:05 in the season opener and 24:26 Saturday.

Only defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist, wearing the Chris Pronger mask through two games, has played more.

From a guy who cracked the team as a third/fourth line checker five years ago, Horcoff has done wonders building himself into one of the best multidimensional players in the game.

"That's what I've tried to become, a guy you can play in every situation,'' said the 28-year-old. "Shorthanded, three-on-five, powerplay, if there's a big faceoff, that's the type of guy I'm trying to become. Every year you just try to get better and try to improve yourself in all aspects of the game.''

KNEE BUGS 'NANDO

Fernando Pisani took practice off yesterday to rest a sore knee. With the Oilers off today he'll get another day off before they're back at it tomorrow at 9 a.m.

PK STIFLING

The Oilers penalty killing has been terrific, snuffing out all 15 Calgary powerplays in the home and home series.

That's good. But what irks head coach Craig MacTavish is the fact they took 15 penalties in the first place (nine in the first game, six in the second).

"It's a sign of discipline, you can't be sticking your stick in and using the can opener,'' said the coach. "And in both games we've taken four (penalties) in a row. That taxes your penalty killing. It's a good thing our penalty killing has been pretty good.''

But they can't test them like that on a regular basis.

"We reduced the amount by 33% on Saturday,'' said MacTavish.

"If we do that again we'll be down to four penalties and that's tolerable.''


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