Tavares to Make NHL Debut Against the Oilers Tonight

He didn't play the first game, but he'll be playing the second as Jonathan Tavares suits up for his first ever NHL game (pre-season) against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place at 7pm tonight. Between Tavares and the always fun to watch Doug Weight, this is the first time, in a long time I can remember being excited to watch the New York Islanders play hockey.

Not to be outdone, the Oilers will be dressing Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Robert Nilsson, Jordan Eberle, Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner. Outside of the last name mentioned, (but he's got good hands so don't discount him too much), this will be a showcase of some real skill and fast paced hockey tonight and it should be exciting to watch.

The Oilers came off a 4-1 win last night over a very depleted Calgary roster. Players Patrick O'Sullivan, Mike Comrie, Tom Gilbert and especially Ryan Stone had excellent showings against Calgary and Robert Nilsson and Jordan Eberle look to do the same if they're to crack this Oilers roster out of camp. I agree with many, that Nilsson and Comrie might be in direct competition for a spot on this team, so Nilsson needs to be on his "A" game.

I'll be watching to see if Dubnky and Deslauriers can repeat fairly strong performances and how Eberle does againt some higher level competition with higher end teammates. Of course, I'll also be keeping an eye of Tavares to see how he sets himself apart as most feel he'll be a lock for rookie of the year at seasons end.

There might be a few players on the verge of being cut after tonights game, so it might be worth watching names like Slava Trukhno, Jake Taylor, Bryan Young and Phillipe Cornet. Someone like Cornet may stick just for the depth required for the Oilers to finish their last 3 games in 3 nights, but with the coaching staff focused on systems play and special teams, they'll want to give as much time to those that need to learn it as possible on the ice to work out any kinks.

Should be a good game and half priced tickets are on sale now.


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