New plans, same hands

Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray hits Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim during first period...

Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray hits Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim during first period exhibition action on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Ken Armstrong)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Clearly, the juggernaut offence is a work in progress.

It takes time to scuttle an old philosophy and install a new one in the National Hockey League, and four days of training camp isn't nearly enough of it.

Old habits die hard and for about 48 minutes last night against the New York Islanders -- right up until Dustin Penner opened the floodgates by putting a beauty in off the shortside post on a pass from Andrew Cogliano (Take that, Dany Heatley) -- the new-look Oilers looked a lot like the old-look Oilers.

They skated hard and were in all the right places, and had a barrell of point-blank chances, but the brand new system got bogged down by the same old hands.

Watching a lineup that included five top-six forwards trailing 1-0 at home to the Islanders midway through the third period had a sold out crowd shuffling nervously in their seats.

But Penner broke the shutout on a great shot and Sam Gagner made it 2-1 a couple minutes later to put everyone at ease.

"Things are just a little bit away from clicking, we had a lot of great chances that weren't buried," said Gagner, who had a two-point night and finished plus two in the 3-2 victory.

"There's a lot of different line combinations and players out there, but for the most part it went well."

When they needed to score, they did, as evidenced by Sheldon Souray's winner late in the third

As soon as the hands catch up to the rest of them they might actually be dangerous, because all of the suspects being counted on to score this season had Grade A looks. Once they get their timing down those looks might actually translate into goals.

"As long as we're getting the chances and creating them, that's all you can really worry about," said Gagner. "We have the firepower in here. It's obviously a good feeling when you know different guys are going to step up and contribute. We have a good feeling in here."

SCRAPPINTYRE: Steve MacIntyre brought the game to life with a a great fight in the second period, a long and spirited bout with six-foot-four, 220-pound Joel Rechlicz. They went at it for a good 45 seconds, with each guy giving as much as he took. With Kip Brennan in camp trying to challenge for a spot on the big club, MacIntyre knows he can't afford to take the preseason lightly -- not that he's the kind of guy who ever would. When it takes you eight years to make it to the NHL, nothing gets taken for granted.

"Any time you come to camp it's anybody's ball game. You have to go out and prove to the coaching staff that you belong and you're not going to take your job lightly."

LATE HITS: Souray doesn't have the accuracy down just yet, he missed the net five times in his first seven shots, but he did crack the glass behind goalie Nathan Lawson. Twice. At least the velocity is in mid-season form ... Goalie Devan Dubnyk stopped 10 of 11 Islanders shots ... Jeff Deslauriers stopped all 13 shots Tuesday night in Calgary and 13 of 14 last night ... Cogliano went 6-5 in the faceoff circle. Marc Pouliot went 9-6 ... Ladislav Smid led all players in ice time with 28:16, 8:42 of it on special teams.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos