SUN Hockey Pool

An afternoon delight

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

CHICAGO -- They trudged in for their pre-game meal blurry-eyed and half asleep.

With an afternoon contest the Edmonton Oilers filled up on carbohydrates early in the morning.

Some of them went back to bed.

Yesterday, the Oilers played their second afternoon game of the season with a 2 p.m. local start in Chicago.

With the moving up of the clocks the night before, they actually lost an hour of sleep as well.

'LOT OF FUN'

"I actually like afternoon games," said Oilers forward Sam Gagner. "I think they're a lot of fun. I was really looking to getting to the rink this afternoon and playing the game."

The Oilers have only played one afternoon game at home since 1999, yet they've only gone one season since 1982 without playing at least one afternoon on the road.

Heading into yesterday, the Oilers had an all-time 34-48-10-1 record in matinees.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, had played two afternoon games prior to yesterday, beating the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks at home.

Following yesterday's encounter, they'll go on to play three more afternoon games - two at home at the United Center.

"I like them," said Blackhawks centre Kevyn Adams. "You get up early, have a good meal then come to the rink and play. Some guys are more finicky about it. Ray Whitney told me one time that he hated afternoon games, then he went out and scored three goals and had one assist in it so now he likes them."

CLOCKWORK

Some trainers around the league have been known to change the clocks in the locker-room to make it seem as though the game is taking place in the evening.

"We're such creatures of habit, every game we have to be in sync," Adams said. "You do the same things. You eat the same stuff, come to the rink the same way.

"Sometimes I think there's over-thinking trying to do things the same, but for me, I think it's good once in a while to change things up."


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