February 9, 2013
Teemu Hartikainen sees Oilers ice time growing

Teemu Hartikainen has been using his size to provide some offence down low. (Perry Nelson, Edmonton Sun)

EDMONTON - It’s only a practice, and it might not hold up when Ralph Krueger puts together his game plan for Detroit, but the fact he’s being considered for a spot on one of the big lines tells you how Teemu Hartikainen’s season is going.

The big Finn has been playing some hard, effective hockey the last few games and might not look at all out of place skating with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, as he did Friday before the team boarded a plane for Michigan.

“My job is to work hard and make some room for them,” he said. “Just try to bring high energy and forechecking, make the simple plays and let them do all the playmaking. Just try to get the pucks for them and try to be hard to play against.”

Krueger didn’t have Chris VandeVelde for his line rushes on Friday, so nothing that happened at practice is cast in stone, but Hartikainen is being considered.

“Sometimes mixing those players into the skill set can change the dynamics of the whole team,” said Krueger.