HF poster Louiss has the Oilers lines from practice today, and it’s a very interesting top 6:
The third line at practice was Gagner-Penner-Pouliot, and I’m hoping they hit the ice as stated tomorrow night. With the Horcoff line showing some jump, and Stoll starting to come around it would be nice to find a home for Penner and then let these lines roll.
The 4th line looks about right based on what we thought might happen in pre-season. Reasoner-Sanderson-Brodziak. The extra forward at practice today was Zach Stortini.
I imagine the tougher minutes will go to Horcoff’s line and then Reasoner’s line, with the Stoll group and the Gagner group expecting to fly against the soft parade.
Defensively, the broken arrow blueline has lost a few men along the trail early (Pitkanen, Souray, Greene) and would seem to be content to rely on Grebeshkov-Gilbert combination in the toughest situations. Steve Staios moves down the depth chart and the Oilers will apparently employ the rest of the gashouse gang (Tarnstrom, Roy, Smid) is some kind of combination to keep the opposition at bay.
Goaltending needs to be better.
So we’re in month two starting tomorrow night, with the Oilers full value for their 5-8 record. Next up:
- Nov 2-home to Nashville (W)
- Nov 5-away to Minnesota (L)
- Nov 7-away to Denver (L)
- Nov 10-away to Calgary (L)
- Nov 14-away to Vancouver (W)
Is that a reasonable expectation? We could argue over Vancouver but their depth and injury problems mean the Oilers have a strong chance in that game (they’re also horrible at home this season, 1-5. That’s not 25 games but it’s a trend).
If we can agree on that schedule and our expected result, that puts the Oilers at 7-11-0 after 18 games of the schedule and on the way home. I’ve long felt Kevin Lowe needed to make a trade, but with three defenders and two veteran wingers on the sidelines what does he address and when should he do it?
Coach MacTavish sounds like a man completely satisfied with roster and results. I get the feeling he is honestly expecting this roster to take flight any second now. For what it’s worth, I don’t see it.