SUN Hockey Pool

Now it's the flu!

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- There is a new concern on the Edmonton Oilers' radar screen: the flu.

Already picked apart by the injury bug with 10 players on the shelf, head coach Craig MacTavish is hoping a virus won't rip its way through the dressing room.

Four players - Toby Petersen, J.F. Jacques, Jussi Markkanen and Dwayne Roloson - have been dealing with some sort of sickness this week.

"What we worry about now more than anything is flu," said MacTavish.

"We had four guys (Wednesday) that were sick.

"It wasn't like last year when it was a real violent strain of the flu against Anaheim (in the playoffs).

"But still you worry about that.

"We are really vulnerable to that situation.

"But you can't really control it."

Down to just 17 skaters - six defencemen and 11 forwards - the last thing the Oilers need is another player being forced out of action.

Edmonton only has five true defencemen at the moment with forward Toby Petersen dropping back to the blue-line tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

On the positive side, Markkanen is feeling much better after losing 10 pounds on Wednesday.

'TOUGH TIME'

"I felt fine during the game, but I had a really tough time in the morning and after the game (Wednesday night)," said Markkanen, who got the start between the pipes instead of Roloson.

"The doctors say it is only a little short-term thing and I actually feel way better.

"I'll try to get some fluids in me and regroup for (tonight)."

SECOND CHANCE

Kyle Brodziak is hoping his second game of the season will be better than Wednesday night at a sold out Rexall Place against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"The first couple of shifts it was tough - you are thinking about the crowd, not making mistakes," said Brodziak, a recent addition from the minors.

"But after the first few shifts I started feeling better."

Brodziak would like to have his first shot on Wednesday night back, though.

Coming into the offensive zone on a two-on-two in the first period, the puck just seemed to wobble slowly off his blade.

"It kind of spun off my stick a little bit," he remarked.

"I wish I had it back."

Still, Brodziak finished with an even rating for the night with 15:15 of ice time, including some brief penalty-killing time.

FINISH LINES

After flying to California - the heartland of thoroughbred racing on this side of the continent - head coach Craig MacTavish used a racing analogy to describe the team's plight.

"The old thoroughbred analogy is that you can't keep a good one healthy."

That relates to the Oilers' injury list.

Missing is Ales Hemsky (tied for team lead with 49 points), Jarret Stoll, Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios.


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