January 11, 2012
Oilers try to right a sinking ship
By Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency
The slumping and shorthanded Edmonton Oilers begin the second half of their season tonight, hoping to somehow reverse their momentum at the expense of the New Jersey Devils.
“There’s still half a season left, but first and foremost is tonight and that’s as far as we’re going to look,” said winger Ryan Smyth. “We’d like to get ourselves back in the mix of things and it starts with a big win.”
The Oilers, 13th in the Western Conference having lost 12 of their last 15 games, are coming off of three days of rest and hoping to take advantage of a Devils team that played Tuesday night in Calgary.
“We’re going to use the advantage of home ice, we’re going to use the advantage of they played the night before,” said Smyth. “Let’s jump on them early and often and try to let them play catch up. We have to get climbing and it starts here.”
Devils coach Pete DeBoer said he’ll go with Johan Hedberg against the Oilers, which might come as a bit of a disappointment to those hoping to get what might be their last look at future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur started in Calgary and was hooked in the first period after giving up two goals on five shots. Hedberg came in in relief, giving up four goals on nine shots in taking the loss.
EMERGENCY RECALL - As if the Oilers haven’t been kicked enough on the injury front, losing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert and Cam Barker, one of the players they called up from Oklahoma City might not be able to go. Ryan O’Marra came down sick Wednesday morning, leaving Edmonton with just 11 forwards.
Since they couldn’t get anyone here from Oklahoma City in time for the team, they had to reach down to the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder for Milan Kytnar, who’s expected to arrive in Edmonton at 5:30 for the 7 p.m. start.
Kytnar, a 190-pound winger selected 127th overall in 2007, has eight points in 14 games with Stockton.
“There’s a chance (O’Marra can play), we have him on medication right now,” said head coach Tom Renney, who doesn’t want him anywhere near the dressing room if it’s a virus. “We have to make a determination if it’s viral or something else. If he can get a good rest and feel strong and energetic I think he’ll go.”
KID ROCKS - While they probably won’t see Brodeur, fans will get a look at one of the best rookies in the NHL in Adam Henrique, who’s one point back of Nugent-Hopkins in the rookie scoring race. He had a Gordie Howe hat-trick in Calgary, fighting Jarome Iginla in addition to a shorthanded goal and an assist.
“I think Adam is a really, really good player,” said Renney. “Maybe HE’LL get sick this afternoon.”