SUN Hockey Pool

New Oilers to suit up tonight

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:46 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Ready or not, here they come.

The brand new Oilers joined the team in Ottawa this morning, using one hand to rub the sleep out of their eyes and the other to shake hands with the guys who are counting on them to make a difference in Edmonton's playoff chase.

There isn't much time for pleasantries, not with the puck dropping on another critical stretch drive game at 5:30. The Oilers sit on top of a three-way tie for seventh spot in the West Division.

Assistant coach Billy Moores was there to greet the new blood with a whiteboard and felt pen, ready to step in with an off-ice strategy session the moment Patrick O'Sullivan's media scrum broke.

During the morning skate, Ales Kotalik was getting an on-ice primer from new linemate Ales Hemsky.

"He was asking a lot of questions about how we play," said Hemsky, well aware that there isn't much time for a learning curve. "Hopefully he'll fit in well; he has a great shot, he's strong, he's a smart player and he can score. Hopefully he will fit well and help the team win some games.

"It's not like he's going to jump in and it'll be magic the first game, but hopefully we can do something."

Kotalik, acquired from Buffalo for a second round draft pick at the trade deadline, would really like to impress tonight against the Ottawa Senators.

"I'm excited to get a chance to play with (Hemsky)," said the fellow Czech, who played with him on a couple of national teams. "Hopefully I can open the ice a little bit and try to find myself a hole for those two great skill guys to find me."

O'Sullivan, who came over from Carolina (via Los Angeles), along with a second round pick, for Erik Cole, flew all night to get from LA to Ottawa. He landed about an hour before practice and looked fried this morning.

"I need a nap," he said, his hand shaking from sleep and food deprivation. "That's all I can think about right now. But I'm sure I'll be fine tonight with the excitement and the adrenaline and all that stuff."

Head coach Craig MacTavish knows both newcomers are running on fumes, but hopes they can refill their tanks before game time. He's as excited as anyone to see how they fit in.

"It's a little bit of an unknown going into the game tonight," he said. "It's going to be exciting preparing for the game because we don't know what's in the package. We open it up tonight when the puck drops."

Kotalik will wear 21 and O'Sullivan, 19.

THE LINES

Ales Kotalik Shawn Horcoff Ales Hemsky

Patrick O'Sullivan Sam Gagner Marc Pouliot

Dustin Penner Andrew Cogliano Fernando Pisani

JF Jacques Kyle Brodziak Zack Stortini


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