SUN Hockey Pool

Oil just fine with Staios

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- A wrist slap for an arm slash is a trade the Oilers are quite happy with this morning.

Defenceman Steve Staios emerged from his hearing with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell with just a fine after his slash on Vancouver winger Alex Burrows in Saturday's 4-2 loss to Vancouver.

Since seventh defenceman Mathieu Roy is out with a bruised sternum and Joni Pitkanen has a tender hip, losing Staios to a suspension would have meant recalling another defenceman from AHL Springfield.

Pitkanen, who sat out the Vancouver game, practiced yesterday and should be ready to go tonight against the Preds.

Roy, meanwhile, is unable to generate any strength through the chest without a sharp, shooting pain that feels like a jolt of lightning.

"I thought I'd be OK," said Roy. "I can't pass or shoot the puck. It could be cartilage. We'll see how it feels (today).

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: It was back to bantams yesterday as head coach Craig MacTavish, a little miffed at all the too-many-men-on the ice penalties Edmonton is taking, held a refresher course on how to change on the fly.

He lined the troops in front of the bench and gave an animated example of the do's and don'ts.

"You have to keep your eye on the guy you're changing for, that's the message," he said.

"Until he's on the bench or the play has gone away from you, you can't take your eyes off the guy you're changing for."

Edmonton's 11 bench minors (some for yapping but most for bad changes) are one off the league lead.

"We've run the whole gamut where we've jumped on the ice and touched the puck, we've jumped on the ice and the other guy hasn't come off," said MacTavish. "All those things end up costing you."

The players were a little sheepish in having to watch something they should have had down pat 10 years ago, but apparently some of them don't.

"It's just a case of reinforcing it," said MacTavish. "Generally when you have a perspective weakness you're better served by doing something in practice. You won't totally eliminate it, but you can sure reduce the occurrences."

A HURTIN' SONG: The Preds have given Edmonton all kinds of trouble this season, beating them 4-1 and 5-2 in the two previous meetings.

They're also the fifth most penalized team in the NHL, so the rambunctious style that Edmonton's been playing lately will be fine by them.

"This is a tough game," said MacTavish. "They're a tough team."


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