4 Oilers 1
Camp Notes: 9/21 --
The Edmonton Oilers
dressed Ales Hemsky, Georges Laraque and a bunch of
other guys on Saturday night in a game that
predictably provided little in the way of a test for
Calgary's Roman Turek.
Right or wrong
there will be a lot of pressure on Turek to deliver
a more consistent season this year if the Flames are
to entertain any hopes of making the playoffs.
In stopping 14
shots and shutting out the Oilers through two
periods last night, Turek would seem to be on the
right track but there was also the obligatory easy
slapper from the side boards that skiffed its way
through his pads before being rescued on the goal
line by defenceman Toni Lydman.
Deja vu all over
No, just new pads
according to Turek. Take a valium. Relax. They'll
soften up by the time October rolls around.
A few more guys
solidified their hold on jobs while no one really
talked themselves out of a job, as might be expected
in a 4-1 win.
however, might have been wondering what he did to
deserve fourth line duty and only eight minutes of
continues to make a statement that he can be more
than a hanger-on in the NHL, getting ample ice time
(26:17) in all situations and using it well,
particularly on the rush.
This training camp
isn't necessarily about whether or not Ference will
make the team, but how far up the totem pole he
might go. Smallish at only 5'10" but all muscle
at about 200 lbs., coach Sutter would love to have
Ference's overall skill package taking a regular
shift through the season.
On one memorable
shift, Ference came across the blue line with speed,
swung around an Oiler defenceman and nearly
connected on a backhand as he charged the net.
looked a more poised and confident version of the
raw rookie who came to camp last season. A plus
three on the night, Leopold logged 25:51 in ice time
with defence mate Robyn Regehr. Get used to the ice
time number. That's likely to be his average the
entire season if he's paired with Regehr. The Flames
will desperately need Leopold to step up this season
and provide offence from the back line.
Regehr was a
standout on the night, aggressively pounding on
Georges Laraque through the evening and memorably
tossing young Ales Hemsky into the boards on one
occasion, all the while a plus three and logging
22:09 of ice time.
Mike Commodore is
one of the bubble defencemen fighting for a job and
only got half a game in - 6:25 in ice time - before
being tossed after a fight. No mistakes though . . .
. . but the caliber of opposition will undoubtedly
challenge him more as the pre-season winds down.
There's no danger
of Toni Lydman not making this team but a few rusty
defensive gaffes early on marred his night.
Robert Dome, a guy
trying to make the club on his skill, was saddled
with fourth line duty with Kryzysztof Oliwa and
Jason Morgan, and seemed to disappear altogether in
the second period - literally - before getting some
ice time in the third and scoring a pure talent goal
on a Jarome Iginla pass. Of all the bubble forwards,
the guys who have a realistic shot at being here on
opening night, Dome was the least used, logging only
8:01 of ice time, including zero powerplay time and
only 30 seconds killing penalties.
played a solid two-way game and showed some
offensive creativity . . . . . but didn't do
anything on this night to stand out from the rest of
the crowd. Another one of the bubble forwards, he
was granted 15:04 of ice time, including 2:13
killing penalties and 3:16 power play time.
centering Martin Gelinas and Chuck Kobasew, didn't
look out of place at all in an offensive role. At
this moment, with his speed, size, modicum of skill
and passion, Betts looks like a lock to make the
Kobasew was fully
involved physically and continues to instinctively
know when to detach himself from the crowd to find a
spot where the puck will seemingly inevitably go.
That was clearly the case on his second marker of
the pre-season, Gelinas working the puck free from
Ty Conklin's glove and Kobasew parked at the side of
the net alone to bang in the rebound. But everyone
knows Kobasew can score. It might be more important
to note he's also paying attention to the two-way
details coach Sutter will be demanding.
to be a potential waiver wire salary dump, was
probably the best forward on the night for either
team, a poised veteran toying with the kids of
Edmonton while scoring once and adding an assist. It
would be a crying shame if they let this guy go for
pure money reasons.
Conroy, Iginla trio struggled at times, although the
latter two demonstrated their ongoing mind meld
early on when Iginla feathered a no look backhand
pass right onto the stick of Conroy for an excellent
chance in the slot.
ultimate role with the Flames almost depends on how
well others might do versus his own efforts. If
Kobasew, Shean Donovan or even Dome excel in this
camp, the consensus seems to be that Clark will move
further down the depth chart. On this night, Clark
turned in a serviceable game as a prototypical third
or fourth-liner will usually do.
Although he has
little chance of cracking the centre ice ranks,
Morgan made a statement by twice pounding Laraque
into the boards. Limited ice time but not out of
place and a probable call-up through the season in
event of injuries.
While Turek was
working on his rusty spots (flopping on his back a
few times) and softening up his new pads, the most
intriguing prospect in camp, Brent Krahn, was
turning in another solid effort.
late on a screen shot he had no chance on, Krahn
looks poised, confident and agile in the Calgary
net, a prospect many thought was buried under a
thundercloud of injuries but is now fighting his way
back onto the radar screen.
Regardless of where
he ends up this year, Krahn needs a full, healthy
season with lots of playing time. If he gets that,
he could be in a Calgary uniform quicker than many
We might still see
a horse race between Krahn and Rick DiPietro.