Defenceman Steve Staios felt ready to go after missing Wednesday's practice with concussion symptoms, but head coach Pat Quinn elected to keep him out of the lineup last night as a precautionary measure.
"A guy with a heart like that you don't sit out for any reason," said Quinn, who comes from an era when players didn't sit out with anything unless it was falling off.
"Arms, legs, feet, everything else (you can play through), but when it's the head you want to make sure you're right."
With Staios out, veteran rearguard Jason Strudwick got his first game of the regular season.
Stepping in on the fly is nothing new for the rugged utility player.
"I've done this a lot of times before, sat out games and come in," he said.
"I'd prefer it wasn't that way, but that's the way it's been my whole career. I know what to expect and how to deal with it."
Quinn, who's been lamenting the Oilers defensive zone coverage, says a strong steady hand back there is never a bad thing.
"Five of the seven defencemen have offensive flair in their game, that why sometimes they get in the lineup when we're making the selections," said the coach.
"But that's also maybe one of the reasons we get in trouble in our own zone, because they're thinking in an offensive framework.
"It's 'defend' first, which is the theory of defencemen, or we ought to change the name from defenceman -- and (Strudwick's) one guy who does that."