SUN Hockey Pool

Positive spin

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

DETROIT -- You can't win a season in the first week, but you can lose one.

Especially in Edmonton's case.

With so many new and unproven faces on the Oilers' roster, the first week of Kevin Lowe's dramatic rebuilding effort could have gone horribly wrong.

Easily. Stumble out of the gates 0-2 and the kids are doubting themselves, the fans are screaming about a bungled off-season and the media is pointing to a 2-20 record going back to the end of last season.

It might have been awfully difficult, with this young a team, to pull out of the tailspin.

In beating Philadelphia and San Jose at home, they've given themselves a little breathing room.

"I think it's important to a team like us, that has a lot of young guys, because if you go 0-2 then I think guys start questioning themselves and questioning what's going on here a little bit," said veteran Steve Staios.

"You get a couple of wins and they feel a little bit more comfortable with the way things are going."

Of course, both of those first two games (a shootout win over San Jose and winning goal that Philly's own player kicked in) could have gone the other way, and there's still plenty of time, about 80 games worth, for something bad to happen, but there are some 18- and 20-year olds in that room with a little more spring in their step than if they were 0-2 and wondering if they belonged in the NHL.

"Definitely," said winger Kyle Brodziak, who has a goal and two assists in his first two games. "We talked about having a good start at home to really kick off the season on a good note, get the confidence in the room up."

"We couldn't have scripted the start much better, coming through the first two games at home," added head coach Craig MacTavish. "You play a lot looser when you go on the road after holding court at home.

"Now we have a chance to really get off to a good start."

THIRD LINE'S A CHARM:

The third line, featuring Brodziak, Marty Reasoner and Geoff Sanderson has been outstanding. They've combined for seven points in two games are each of them is already plus-3.

"I think we've played pretty well and have some pretty decent chemistry," said Brodziak. "We're keeping it simple, getting the puck into the zone and working on the forecheck, that's where we're going to have our most success."

Brodziak, already has more points this season than the 16 games he played over the previous two seasons.

"I think my confidence is a little higher," he said. "I feel I'm physically in better shape than I have been the last couple of years. I feel stronger out there. I think last year played a big part in building my confidence. I got to play quite a bit more in a lot of different situations (because of the injury plague).

"I think that helped out. I just try to play simple and just go out there play hard and do my job. That's all I'm trying to think about right now."

Playing with Reasoner helps, too.

"He's unbelievable," said Brodziak. "He's so smart out there. It always seems like I know what he's doing. He keeps it simple for me, too. You don't want to get too complicated. My game is just to keep it simple and make the smart play. It helps when a guy like that is trying to do the same thing. That's where we get our chemistry from."

Ethan Moreau, out with a bruised foot, was supposed to play left wing on the line, but MacTavish doesn't want to pluck Sanderson off and break up a good thing.

"He's been outstanding," MacTavish said of the former Flyer.

"He played two great games, he's been a threat to score. I'm in no hurry to move him out of that spot.

"I'm in a hurry to get Ethan back, but not at the expense of taking Sandy away from a line that's been really good for us."


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