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The Beatdown of Alberta - It's Time for a Change

Martin Marincin: AHL or WHL?
Martin Marincin: AHL or WHL?

After watching the Oilers beat the Canucks for the first (and hopefully not last) time a couple nights ago, it's hard not to be at least a little bit excited about the Oilers. The Young Stars tournament continues tonight against the Flames, but tonight's game will have a decidedly different feel to it than Sunday's. For starters, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi will all be sitting this one out to let some of the other kids get a shot. On the one hand, that's a bit disappointing for the obvious reason: these kids are fun to watch! On the other hand, it means that there's a lot more on the line tonight than there was against the Canucks. The guys who have been drafted by the Oilers don't have much to stress over, but you may recall that the roster for this tournament includes a few free agent invites. These games won't have much impact on the careers of guys like Eberle and Hall, or even guys like Hartikainen and Cornet, but for a player like James Livingston who are trying to earn an invite to main camp and a spot on the Barons, these are important games. The Oilers are once again streaming the game on their website (let's hope the quality is a bit better this time around). After the jump, we'll look at who's in the lineup and update you on Jeff Petry's injury.

Forwards: We are again left with a "who's out" list, but that means the following guys should be in: Chris Vande Velde, Tyler Pitlick, Teemu Hartikainen, Philippe Cornet, Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale, Kristians Pelss, Drew Czerwonka, James Livingston, Mike Thomas, Chase Schaber, and Cameron Abney. If Sunday night was the "A" team, this is clearly the "B" squad. With a lot of talent out of the lineup, guys like Livingston, Thomas, and Schaber should see enough ice time that they'll have a chance to impress and earn a spot in main camp. It's also a chance for guys like Martindale and Hamilton, who didn't play well on Sunday, to show that they can play this game. With Abney, Czerwonka, and a bunch of guys without guarantees in the lineup, I'm expecting a very physical game from the Oilers.

Defenders: It looks like the men in the lineup tonight will be Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson, Jordan Bendfeld, Alex Plante, Dominik Schlumpf and Nolan Toigo. Jeff Petry is still out of the lineup tonight with that shoulder injury, as is free agent Dallas Ehrhardt. Brandon Davidson and Alex Plante looked good on Sunday and will have another chance to impress tonight, while Schlumpf and Toigo try to earn a spot with the Barons.

Goalies: It looks like Tyler Bunz will be getting the start tonight. One of the downsides of following the draft closely is that I sometimes get attached to my draft-day opinions. I thought Bunz was a poor selection, but hopefully he starts proving me wrong tonight.

Coaches: Todd Nelson will be running the forwards again tonight, and Gerry Fleming will again be handling the defensemen. It'll be particularly interesting to see how they handle the free agents as well as Martin Marincin. There was some talk after the draft of Marincin going straight to the AHL, so I'm sure the AHL coaches will be watching him closely.

Jeff Petry on his shoulder injury: "They haven't really said anything specific. Obviously it's not separated because things would have been torn around it, so right now it's just that I've tweaked something and we'll treat as some kind of loose, and we'll go from there. I'm ready to go. I want to get in the lineup, but also I don't want to rush it and make it something that's going to effect me throughout the regular season."

He also mentioned that he's been able to take shots pain-free. It sounds like the club is taking a "better safe than sorry" approach with Petry, which is completely appropriate given the context. My guess is that he's ready to go for the start of main camp.