I spent part of today at Oilers training camp with my friend Louise; it’s become a tradition, I don’t know if it’s mostly Oilers or mostly Louise but it has become a very worthwhile morning that signals the beginning of the Oilers season.
Louise is a smart cookie (and she brought me coffee and homemade muffins–both were outstanding) and we talked about what has been a difficult personal year for both of us and then discussed the Oilers.
We think Sam Gagner is going to be really good but he’s not yet a man. Gagner will likely take some playing time from Shawn Horcoff (powerplay) at some point this season but #10 is still “the man in the middle” for the 2009-10 season.
Here are some observations from today, if I missed someone you can ask and if there’s something worth posting I’ll do it.
- Shawn Horcoff: Well, he’s ready. Quality on the dot, ripped a couple and schooled someone (Cogs?) on a faceoff and gave a nifty pass to Hemmer for a hummer. A man for all era’s.
- Ales Hemsky: I think he’s going to have a big season, but say that every year. Hemsky is definitely the “one of these things doesn’t belong” in Pat Quinn’s structured breakout program. He’ll get it at some point but this fall will surely be a period of transition.
- Patrick O’Sullivan: Third wheel on the Horc-Hemsky line but chemistry takes some time. Nice wheels and he’ll battle along the boards. A nice player, bet he scores in bunches.
- Fernando Pisani: Crazy good today, he looked mid-season. Scored a goal and skated with confidence and authority.
- Andrew Cogliano: Speed demon had some good moments and skated miles. Nice setup on his line’s goal, they had him at center.
- Ethan Moreau: Big wingers get noticed and the ones with major league experience shine. Solid player, his line was matched up against the Horcoff line so spent extended periods chasing the puck.
- Mike Comrie: Played on a depth line so there wasn’t a lot to work with, but I did notice his willingness to battle in those tough areas (specifically behind the net).
- Rob Schremp: Holy crap can he do things with the puck. Every TC he does things that make you sit up and take notice, and today was no different. I was especially impressed with a long distance backdoor pass to Motin that almost cashed. It looks like he’ll go down playing his game and maybe someone will pick him up.
- Liam Reddox: I think he’s a “Four-A” player at this point, not quite the confidence and ability of the NHL players but too cool for the minors. Battled, made plays, spent much of the day in the right spot.
- Ryan Stone: Each team has a dividing line between the NHLers and AHL men and this is it. Stone has good size but (as KP mentioned) speed is a concern and he didn’t make anything happen (that I saw) on this day.
- Ryan Potulny: A skilled player, maybe smaller than I’d imagined. Great hands, he could make this club and certainly is a candidate for callup.
- Jamie Bates: Showed a plus shot and crashed some, he’s likely looking good for a move up to the AHL even this early.
- Ryan MacMurchy: Scored a nice goal on a nice quick release.
- Kip Brennan: A couple of big hits, he’s a large fellow.
- Charles Linglet: He wasn’t as noticable as the other RW’s on the morning session (there were 6) but he did some nice things in the offensive zone when given the opportunity.
- Geoff Paukovich: He’s a big man. I thought he skated pretty well but there’s not a lot of offense.
- Colton Fretter: Didn’t notice him too much.
- Miroslav Lazo: I kept trying to notice him but didn’t get a feel for what he’s about.
Team A defenders and goalies in a little while.