Time to face Golden Bears necessities

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

After three pretty intense days of rookie camp in Yellowknife, the heat gets turned up a little higher tonight when the newcomers return to Edmonton for tonight's exhibition game with the U of A Golden Bears.

The Oilers rookies will dress first-round picks Andrew Cogliano and Ryan O'Marra, but Sam Gagne, who arrived in Edmonton late last night won't play. He's played a ton of hockey lately in the Super Series and they don't want him gassed before main camp opens.

First-rounder Alex Plante was scheduled to play, but the big defenceman was nursing a sore back yesterday and might not make the 7 p.m. start at Clare Drake Arena.

"All the guys are talking about (the game)," said Cogliano. "It's really exciting. It'll be fun to play against another team for once. The building is going to be packed, and wearing the Edmonton Oilers jersey for the first time is going to be really special."

YOUNG AND WISE

Defenceman Bryan Young, called up late last year after injuries wiped out Edmonton's blue-line, might be the only player in a rookie camp with 15 NHL games under his belt.

Last year's stretch run might have been a painful disaster for the organization, but it provided guys like Young with invaluable experience.

"It gave me something to shoot for, and going into the summer it showed me the parts of the game that I need to work on," said Young, who had a strong camp in Yellowknife.

"It gives you a heads-up on things. Some of the older guys were probably frustrated, but it was pretty valuable experience for the younger guys like me. I hope the experience helps down the road."

TABLE TENNIS, ANYONE?

The Russian team of Viatcheslav Trukhno and Vitaly Karamnov won the rookie camp ping-pong tournament. Each received a framed print of a Stanley Cup painting, signed by Mark Messier, after they defeated Colin McDonald and Charlie Kronschnabel in the final.

"The Russians, I don't know where they came from," said Cogliano, whose team lost in the first round.

"But they were pretty good."


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