Good afternoon from beautiful Edmonton, where it's sunny and about 45 degrees and I just came back from a long walk listening to Owl City, which I've become addicted to.
Just learned they're from MinnesOHta, too.
As much as I love western Canada, I'm ready to get the heck out of here. Between the Alberta swing and the Olympics, a couple more days here, and I might have to become a Canadian citizen and end my sentences in, "eh?"
The above, which is the scene entering the Oilers' dressing room, is a nice memory of what used to be. This version of the Oilers has won four of their past 31 games, but this is a hungry group of gentlemen and not exactly the same team is was a few days ago. Defensemen Ryan Whitney and Aaron Johnson will make their Oiler debuts tonight, and Ryan Jones -- a former Wild draft pick -- will make his home debut.
The rebuilding began the other day for the Oilers and you can bet a whole lot more players had one foot out the door praying for a new lease on life. Now they're back, and with all the press the few days, this has all the makings of a land mine for the Wild.
Big win at Calgary. Big game vs. Calgary at home Sunday afternoon. Ahhh, maybe take the foot off the gas vs. the lowly Oilers.
Coach Todd Richards is unmistakably concerned about this potential, and has addressed it with the team.
Same lineup tonight. John Scott and Robbie Earl scheduled to be scratched. Same lines, same D pairs, same goalie.
The right side of Owen Nolan's mouth has been sewn in little patterns, but everything else is the same.
I asked Nolan yesterday very jokingly if he plans to wear a full facial cage tonight after eating a puck during yesterday's practice, and he snapped, "No."
Wild played a very strong game other than a 10-minute span of the second period in Calgary. They iced the puck though a bunch of times, and most everybody pins that on poor timing that came with not playing for 17 days due to the Olympic break and, well, sunburn.
They expect to be more in-sync (or is it 'N Sync?) tonight.
I've got a neat notebook lead cooking on Cam Barker and Guillaume Latendresse, who were actually childhood pre-teen teammates on a top Quebec summer league team.
I've gotten a lot of emails asking if Barker will take Eric Belanger's No. 25 now that Belanger's in Washington. The answer is eventually. He's worn it all his life, but he might wait until after the season.
Speaking of Bella (have I mentioned I miss the quote?), he made his Caps debut last night during a home win over Tampa Bay. He played with Fleischmann and Fehr, was plus-1, played 14 1/2 minutes, had two shots, won 5 of 12 faceoffs and was on for a couple power-play goals against.
Chatted with Bloomington's own Tom Gilbert this morning. The Oilers defenseman is the last man standing from Edmonton's top-6 to start the season. Three have been traded, two are sidelined. Gilbert's it, and he talks about how trying of a season it's been. That will be in tomorrow's notebook.
Lastly, I'd like to thank the Wild for practicing here tomorrow. Been gone since Feb. 9, I'm just so glad I can spend an extra morning here in Edmonton and get home tomorrow night as opposed to tomorrow mid-day.
Talk to you tonight folks. As the kids of that moronic JFK air traffic controller says, "Good day."