2009 NHL Preview: Edmonton Oilers

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring you a team-by-team preview of the upcoming NHL season. (Just scroll down on the OGA website and hit the calendar.) Here is the preview for the Edmonton Oilers…

Team Play: ISSUE – The Buffalo Sabres’ Twin. No offense intended, Oiler fans. But off-season acquisition-wise, Edmonton made a nearly unnoticeable number of changes just like Buffalo has done. Edmonton’s big difference, however, is the coming of an entirely new coaching staff. If, as it has been said, that the team’s issue was that MacTavish wasn’t listening to the team and vice-versa, there is a good chance it might just be all the Oil needs. Also of note was the trading of Dwayne Roloson, Mathieu Roy and Dany Sabourin for Nikolai Khabibulin in return. The Bulin Wall will have to stand strong as there were departures in the forward and defensive ranks that secured only Mike Comrie and two prospects with a combined 35 games and five points’ NHL experience.

The early CBS Sports page for the Oilers projects a line pairing of Moreau-Horcoff-Hemsky from left to right on No. 1, and Jacques-Gagne-Penner on No. 2. The team will see if Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan or the newly acquired Mike Comrie, have anything to say about positions on the top two lines during training camp. Three of the top four defenders were good for more than 30 points last season and Sheldon Souray wound up tied with Shawn Horcoff as the second leading scorer on the team. Both Souray’s and Visnovsky’s scoring are crucial to team success, so both must remain healthy this season. And with Khabibulin as Goalie No. 1, number two seems to fall to Jeff Drouin-Deslaurie. He should be asked to get between the pipes for 20 or so games, and while he had a decent save percentage at .901 in last year’s contests, he will need to improve in that department AND his goals against to steal some of that 20.

Click here to read the rest of the preview (which includes the site’s unique Playoff Qualifying Curve and fantasy information) at the On Goal Analysis site.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Lemieux: Crosby is better than me!

Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux has maintained a low profile all season with the media. He has let other members of the front office speak out on club issues. That was until yesterday.

Lemieux held a 12-minute press conference prior to the start of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday. Looking tanned and rested, Super Mario offered his opinion on a variety of subjects, including young Penguin superstar Sidney Crosby, the post-lockout game of hockey, and the chances of his team in their return trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Here are his comments on Crosby:

The Pittsburgh Penguins owner – and one of the greatest NHL players of all-time – indicated that Crosby is much better at age 21 than he was. Lemieux thinks the team’s captain is a lot more mature, too.

“He’s a special kid,” Lemieux said Saturday night. “He’s a better player than I was at the same age, for sure. Some of the things that he does on the ice, his strength, skating ability is incredible. His passion for the game and his will to be the best each and every shift.

“His work ethic, he’s got it all.”

Crosby has lived with Lemieux since entering the league four years ago and has become like another member of the family. The two men speak about hockey “all the time,” according to Lemieux.

He added that the overall play in the league has been great this season, and this is coming from someone who called the NHL a “garbage league” of players clutching and grabbing the elite superstars in the neutral zone. Lemieux hopes his team follows the same path of the 1984 Edmonton Oilers. The previous year, they lost the finals to the New York Islanders before winning the Stanley Cup. He feels both teams were built similarly, with two elite players headlining an up tempo offensive-minded team.

Couch Potato Alert: 4/10

Comedian Robin Williams once joked that spring was nature’s way of saying “let’s party,” and this weekend, the party will be in front of your TV. The NBA and NHL are winding down their regular seasons, while baseball is concluding its first week. And don’t forget the yearly chase for the elusive green jacket at Augusta. Too many options…not enough time to watch them all. Thank God for DVR technology. Enjoy!

All times ET…

Fri, 8 PM: New York Knicks @ Orlando Magic (ESPN2)
Sat, 7 PM: Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers (NBA TV)
Sun, 1 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Hornets (ABC)
Sun, 3:30 PM: Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers (ABC)
Sun, 6 PM: Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors (NBA TV)

Sat, 7 PM: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs (CBC)
Sat, 10 PM: Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames (CBC)
Sun, 2 PM: Detroit Red Wings @ Chicago Blackhawks (NBC)

Sat, 4 PM: Boston Red Sox @ Los Angeles Angels (Fox)
Sun, 1 PM: New York Mets @ Florida Marlins (TBS)
Sun, 8 PM: Chicago Cubs @ Milwaukee Brewers (ESPN)

Fri-Sun, check your local listing for times: The Masters @ The Augusta National Golf Club (ESPN/CBS)

Couch Potato Alert: 4/3

This weekend, WrestleMania 25 will be held in Houston, and it promises to be one of the biggest shows of the year. It’s a culmination of the past year’s feuds decided inside the squared circle. Vince McMahon created this event and Hulk Hogan put it on the map, but the rabid fans have turned WrestleMania into wrestling’s own Super Bowl. Their support has transformed the WWE into the most successful pro wrestling promotion in entertainment sports today. And for that, they should be applauded!

All times ET…

Friday, 8 PM: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic (ESPN)
Friday, 10:30 PM: Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN)
Saturday, 3 PM: Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN)
Saturday, 7 PM: Miami Heat @ Washington Wizards (NBA TV)
Sunday, 1 PM: San Antonio Spurs @ Cleveland Cavaliers (ABC)
Sunday, 3:30 PM: Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks (ABC)
Sunday, 7 PM: Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets (NBA TV)

Saturday, 7 PM: Philadelphia Flyers @ Ottawa Senators (CBC)
Saturday, 10 PM: Vancouver Canucks @ Edmonton Oilers (CBC)
Sunday, 12:30 PM: Minnesota Wild @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
Saturday, 6:07 PM: (2) Michigan State vs. (1) Connecticut (CBS)
Saturday, 8:47 PM: (3) Villanova vs. (1) North Carolina (CBS)

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament
Sunday, 7 PM: (3) Louisville vs. (1) Oklahoma (ESPN)
Sunday, 9 PM: (2) Stanford vs. (1) Connecticut (ESPN)

Sunday, 8 PM: Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN)

Couch Potato Alert: 1/9

All times ET…

College Basketball
Sat, 12 PM: No. 21 Louisville vs. No. 17 Villanova, ESPN
Sat, 12 PM: No. 22 West Virginia vs. No. 15 Marquette
Sat, 1 PM: Kansas vs. No. 12 Michigan State, CBS
Sat, 2 PM: No. 2 Duke vs. Florida State, ESPN
Sun, 1:30 PM: Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Purdue, CBS
Sun, 8 PM: No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Wake Forest, Fox Sports Net

Fri, 8 PM: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN
Fri, 10:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, ESPN
Sat, 9 PM: Detroit Pistons vs. Utah Jazz
Sun, 8:30 PM: Orlando Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs, NBA TV

Sat, 4:30 PM: Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans, CBS
Sat, 8:15 PM: Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers, Fox
Sun, 1 PM: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants, Fox
Sun, 4:45 PM: San Diego Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, CBS

Fri, 9 PM: San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers
Sat, 7 PM: New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators
Sun, 5 PM: New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks

Fri, 6:30 PM: Mercedes-Benz Championship at the Kapalua Resort, The Golf Channel
Sat, 6 PM: Mercedes-Benz Championship at the Kapalua Resort, The Golf Channel
Sun, 6 PM: Mercedes-Benz championship at the Kapalua Resort, The Golf Channel

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