Tonight is something of a perfect storm for the Edmonton Oilers and their skill players. The “men” on the Oilers (players like Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner and Steve Staios) are going to be asked to carry a large physical load with all the kids who will be in the lineup.
The Oilers seem to be getting healthy up front, but another night of Flames’ defensemen using Ales Hemsky as a ragdoll will probably have the expected result (a few games out of the lineup for 83).
The real concern for me is a kid like Sam Gagner who might get caught by a headhunter like Phaneuf. It is open season on Oilers forwards, as the team has no real response and “team toughness” can’t do much from the bench.
Moreau has been told not to fight, Souray’s injury means he can’t, Raffi’s crazy hits are in the pressbox and Dustin Penner +Steve Staios just isn’t enough.
The one thing I worry about with the kid Gagner is a severe concussion or knee injury at a young age. A guy like Phaneuf (on a night when there is no answer to him) or Regehr is a very dangerous thing to a team with a gifted 18-year old in the lineup.