Eight days away.
Yesterday marked the start of non-optional (so, mandatory?) skates, and we were able to catch our first glimpses of ‘youuuuuuuur’ Edmonton Oilers on the ice in months.
We saw possible line combinations and defense pairings. We were able to ogle Connor McDavid:
Fun being back in the rink @NAIT where my broadcasting career began. McDavid and RNH look in mid season form. McDavid looks quicker, if that is possible. Remember he was able to train without rehabbing for the past 10 months. pic.twitter.com/oXyMoaDrqr— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 4, 2021
We were once again reminded just how fucking big Jesse Puljujarvi is. As a human. Dude is like if a Sequoia could skate. The tree or the Toyota, honestly.
Jesse Puljujarvi, first practice with the @EdmontonOilers since February of 2018. pic.twitter.com/CnMTNXcgEK— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) January 4, 2021
As an aside, Dave Tippett said JP “looked pretty good for the first day.” My thoughts are any time you see a building move in any way, it’s impressive.
We were able to do our first bit of hand-wringing as Zack Kassian sauntered onto the flank opposite Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the first line. Or how Kris Russell and Tyson Barrie might be listed as the second pair, ahead of Caleb Jones and Adam Larsson.
Speaking of Caleb Jones:
Caleb Jones impressed his head coach on day one...He could be very important piece for Oilers success this season. https://t.co/CvvNp2BEPI— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 4, 2021
Look, I get the Barrie over Larsson bit, but Kris Russell shouldn’t draw into games unless there are injuries this season. Especially over Caleb Jones. It’s time to move forward.
We also got our first injury news:
Neal, Kahun, Haas and Shore listed as unfit to play to open Oiler camp— Jim Matheson (@jimmathesonnhl) January 4, 2021
To be fair, it’s likely that Gaetan Haas and Devin Shore are dealing with quarantine issues relating to their late arrivals. Still no official word on what’s going on with either of James Neal or Dominik Kahun, but there’s potential for either of those guys to be out come opening night.
Also, yesterday brought us news of Oilers legend John Muckler’s passing:
The #Oilers Hockey Club is saddened to report the passing of our former Head Coach, five-time Stanley Cup champion & dear friend of the organization John Muckler. pic.twitter.com/yTr8ytWfsr— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 5, 2021
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