Update (3:00 PM): Looks like Franzen will play after all, and so will Hudler. Helene St. James suggests Eaves may get the scratch. That’s speculation from seeing him icing his shoulder ankle (not sure the team’d appreciate her reporting that…). - Matt
… The 3-5-2 Oilers are coming off a 4-3 loss to Vancouver Tuesday night and lost six of their previous seven games. Their first two wins opened the season and weren’t followed by another until their 7-4 decision over Chicago a week ago.
… The Oilers’ continuation of last year’s problems has led them to hire a sports psychologist out of the NHL’s pool. Kimberly Amirault will have her work cut out for her. Too bad there’s not a coach with a degree in sports psychology available…
… Edmonton’s looking to this game as a measuring stick (should probably store this point in some kind of repeated-use content file for other opponents), but are buying the “teh Redwings are oooolllddd” storyline. Old or young, it’ll still hurt when they beat your aâ€”ahem, I’ll keep this friendly.
… The Oilers want Penner to be more like Franzen. You mean you want a guy who’s always an injury threat? Oh, you mean the scoring and bull-rushing the net parts. Got it.
… Apparently, the Oil’s penalty kill is problematic. This is probably the night they turn it around (obligatory pessimistic Wings comment quota met).
… Sounds like Shawn Horcoff’s having a solid year, despite the Oilers’ troubles. His line will be the one to watch out for, as he skates between high-flying rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. If you’re Tom Renny, though, what Wings line do you look to match your Horcoff unit with? Before Wednesday’s game, I would have said the third instantly, but if they have a repeat performance, there’s really no good matchup there.
… Edmonton’s got it easy with injuries at the moment, with just Steve McIntyre out.
… It’s a good bet that Nikolai Khabibulin will start for the Oilers.
… The Wings are coming off what may have been their best game of the season so far, a 2-1 win over Calgary Wednesday night that had them improve to 7-2-1. They’re in the middle of a three-game trip that will end tomorrow night in Vancouver, so there may be an issue of holding something in reserve tonight.
.. The big news yesterday was that Johan Franzen sat out of practice with a hip flexor that apparently was aggravated by the game in Calgary. He claims he’ll be ready for tonight’s game, but it wouldn’t be entirely shocking if he’s held out and replaced in the lineup by Jiri Hudler. Otherwise, Huds is almost a lock for healthy scratch for the second game in a row.
… Assuming Franzen’s in, the lines shouldn’t change from Wednesday. And I see no reason the pairings should change either, given that they practiced with the same look yesterday.
… Unfortunately for Osgood, but not surprisingly, he’s evidently not ready to go tonight, which means Jimmy Howard will start tonight and tomorrow.
… This game is a dangerous one for the Wings. They’re head to head with one of the least threatening teams in the league from a record standpoint, but they’ll be in danger of getting lit up if they’re not careful. Just ask the Blackhawks. The Wings need to pick up where they left off in Calgary and make short work of this team.
And don’t get caught looking ahead to Vancouver.