It’s a game that the Edmonton Oilers can win tonight, while refraining from stating it’s a game that they “should” win. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a much improved hockey club from the days when they would limp into town and all but mail in the two points.
Despite their sub .500 record, the Jackets were pegged to be one of the surprise clubs this year and make a run at the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Still trying to find their way this season, this could be a game that the Jackets have marked on their calendar as a jump start to their season. Oh, does it feel good to be viewed as “that” team.
Once again, there are headlines within the headline surrounding this Oilers team. While the Nail Yakupov rumors have been snuffed out, for now, the Ilya Bryzgalov circus has come to Edmonton and the big top has been set up and the acts are under way.
It’s widely believed that Yakupov could benefit from the arrival Bryzgalov given their Russian connection, much like Nikolai Khabibulin did last season. Not sure if having Ilya Bryzgalov as a mentor for any young player is a good idea, let alone the struggling Yakupov who appears to be impressionable given the advice he took from his agent and aired his dirty laundry to the media. Winning cures all hiccups and a victory tonight would make it two in a row for the Oilers. Lou Brown anybody?
On to the lineup and notes.