Oilers' team blogger Chris Wescott was a busy man today, posting updates about both Nail Yakupov and roster movements. First, about Yakupov:
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins confirmed in his morning media presser that Nail Yakupov will play tonight against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Then about the roster moves:
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins confirmed to the media today that the team has assigned Philip Larsen to Oklahoma City in the American Hockey League and has recalled forward Ryan Jones.
Finally, the Oilers Twitter account announced that Jesse Joensuu has left the team to seek treatment for his back injury.
The Yakupov news is a welcome announcement for the team and fans alike. The Oilers need all of the help they can get and though it's disappointing that an injury is the cause for the change, the Oilers have spotted the last playoff spot a 5 point lead and can't afford to dither with the lineup any longer.
Joensuu has struggled with injuries for the bulk of his professional career, and his back injury is another obstacle he's going to have to overcome to find a regular spot in the lineup. Keeping Joensuu in the lineup to help bolster the fourth line would be preferable, but if he's not healthy, he's not helping. Hopefully for his sake, returning to the lineup too early didn't extend his stay on the injured reserve.
Jones is back on the NHL roster, and while he's a better option than any of the current fourth line forwards, he's just a depth player who can contribute on the 5th-worst penalty kill in the league and possibly move some of the Oilers' stars off of the penalty kill and back to the bench.