by Lisa McRitchie on 09/18/11 at 10:15 PM ET
For many Edmonton Oilers’ fans, the pre-season has truly begun once the annual Joey Moss Cup game rolls around.
Joey Moss is a constant fixture in the Oilers’ dressing room and face of the Edmonton Oilers. Players have come and gone, but Joey Moss has remained. Moss joined the Oilers in 1986 thanks to Wayne Gretzky, who was at the time dating Joey’s sister, Vicki Moss. Every year the Edmonton Oilers play an inter-squad game in Joey’s honour, raising funds for various charities and allowing Oilers’ fans a chance to see many of the Oilers’ prospects, players and camp invitees.
Of course this game is a more like an all-star game than an NHL game, but it is still a game and in this case the first chance for Oilers’ fans to see Ryan Smyth once again in an Oilers jersey in Rexall Place. Every time Smyth touched the puck, the fans cheered. What an excellent homecoming welcome, well one of many. The October 9th home opener is likely to be something truly special.
The Oilers were divided into team White and team Blue:
23 Linus Omark - 93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - 91 Magnus Paajarvi
28 Ryan Jones - 68 Tyler Pitlick - 46 Ryan Keller
75 Antti Tyrvainen - 67 Gilbert Brule - 51 Philippe Cornet
16 Darcy Hordichuk - 42 Ryan O’Marra - 37 Lennert Petrell
13 Cam Barker - 77 Tom Gilbert
41 Taylor Chorney - 86 Kirill Tulupov
87 David Musil - 81 Taylor Fedun
78 Martin Gernat - 48 Alex Plante
30 Olivier Roy
38 David LeNeveu
4 Taylor Hall - 57 Anton Lander - 14 Jordan Eberle
94 Ryan Smyth - 20 Eric Belanger - 56 Teemu Hartikainen
55 Ben Eager - 54 Chris VandeVelde - 61 Tobias Rieder
60 Tanner House - 66 Ryan Martindale - TBA
5 Ladislav Smid - 24 Theo Peckham
25 Andy Sutton - 44 Corey Potter
80 Martin Marincin - 88 Brandon Davidson
82 Jeremie Blain - 58 Jeff Petry
34 Yann Danis
1 Tyler Bunz
Team Blue took this battle 5-3 with goals from Magnus Paajarvi and Philippe Cornet in the first period, Ryan Keller, Lennert Petrell and Antti Tyrvainen with an empty netter in the final frame. Tyrvainen’s goal was funny, and due to a selfless play by Ryan O’Marra. O’Marra was skating in on the empty net while Tyrvainen was banging his stick on the ice, calling for the puck despite the fact that there was no one from team White to stop them.
Team white saw goals from Jeff Petry in the first, Teemu Hartikainen in the second and Tanner House in the third.
Seeing the players interacting on the ice, and smiling was a nice change after last season. In particular when Ladislav Smid and Gilbert Brule who have both been “traded” at some point in Oilers’ recent history, it’s good to see the players smiling and at least on the surface, at least what is perceived, putting the past behind them.
This was Brule’s first game in nearly six months. The centreman is looking to put not only the trade, but his health issues behind him. “I felt good and I’m a little lighter this year so I feel like a little quicker on the ice which is nice and I need to be an agile player. “ It did seem as though the great Brule is closer to the surface, the player that was drafted in the first round for a reason. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding Brule and his season, but no one can expect any answers just yet.
Focusing on another centreman, this was Anton Lander’s first game in Rexall Place; “Was first time to play for the fans here in Rexall so it was a good time, a good moment for me. I was very excited for the game and everything around the game. It was fun to play.” But this is certainly not what Lander is here in Edmonton for, Lander is anxiously awaiting real games, and pre-season will do. “That’s what we’re waiting for to go out there and play 100%, so I’m looking forward to go out there.”
Coach Tom Renney was overall happy with the results of this game “I thought it was an entertaining game.” There are not many days of camp before the first pre-season games on Tuesday, but Renney has a plan of sorts for assigning players and that may begin on Monday.
Renney is looking for more from everyone this year. It’s “Fair to say that in our exit meetings last year and our camp opening meeting the other night they understand internally that there are higher expectations of course and I think they’re smart enough to know that the ramifications of anything less than what you’re able to give isn’t good enough.“
Of course after two 30th place finishes, the Oilers’ demand more from their team. This storied franchise has seen their troubles and struggles since the dynasty days, but these have been all new lows.
The Edmonton oilers are also the proud owners of a new smart board in the Oilers’ locker room and Renney seems quite happy to have it. “Good we had one in New York, and they’re a great device. I’m already better at it in two days than I was in 7 months in New York. It’s a good device; it’s just more state of the art for us. The guys get more clarity, more precision into what we’re looking for in terms of what they can see and view and assimilate. It’s good technology.
“It really is a good teaching tool because you can freeze the frame, you can highlight, you can illuminate certain players, you can make the trajectory of the player of the puck or where he should have been instead of where he went. And then the arena diagram itself is something you can draw on and it seems that the white board is something that is going by the wayside in Oilerland, finally.”
Oilers’ fans are eager and anxious to hear what the coaching staff thinks of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and whether or not he will make the team. He’s a slick player, very smart. I put him out there on the penalty kill just to see where his wherewithal was from a defencive perspective and sort of reading things and positioning himself to get a look at that. He’s a real bright kid. He’s a real bright hockey player that doesn’t have to stand around and make decisions; he can do it on the go. “
Where Nugent-Hopkins will play this season is yet to be seen, but it sounds as though Renney is happy to have Nugent-Hopkins as a new addition to the Oilers’ family.
It will be interesting to see how the NHL’s social media policy affects players like Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) but also Ryan Jones. Through Twitter, we have learned that Ryan Jones has a dog, Bailey and that Jeff Petry is staying with the Jones’ through training camp and playing fetch with Bailey for hours. These two friends were split up for the Joey Moss cup, “For scoring against us in the Joey Moss cup, @PetryJ has to go to bed without dinner! Bad roommate! #dogsitter”
The Oilers will play more split squad this Tuesday, one game in Rexall Place against the Minnesota Wild, and one in Saskatoon against the Chicago Blackhawks. If Tuesday is too far away, the Oilers have also archived the Joey Moss game in it’s entirety:
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
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