A Lot of Questions for Oilers Heading Into Game Against L.A.

Despite a few days off between games for the Edmonton Oilers, there's been no shortage of news.

Starting with the rumours surrounding the status of Nikolai Khabibulin, the news is anything but good. There has been no confirmation of any sort of scheduled surgery, but the rumblings at this mornings presser was the he was having a "procedure" to fix a "spinal" issue.

If you're an Oiler fan, a teammate and especially Steve Tambellini, this is about the last thing you wanted to hear outside of "Khabi is done for good".

Should a surgery take place and one that could end Khabibulin's career, the Oilers will be on the hook for every penny of Khabibulin's 4yr $15 million contract. With all the choices available during this past summer, this would prove to be the biggest gaff by Steve Tambellini and co.'s tenure as management and hurt the organization moving forward unless they can find a loop hole.

Denis Grebeshkov will make his return to Rexall Place against the Kings and speculation exists that Pat Quinn might choose to run seven d-men instead of six and let a forward sit.

Patrick O'Sullivan was moved down line and it sounds as though a message is being sent that while he's still getting his chances he needs to be more productive in burying them. It's obvious O'Sullivan misses Mike Comrie who he developed some chemistry with at the start of the season.

Speaking of Comrie, he still isn't skating with the team and a return isn't expected before Christmas. In fact, many seem to think he's out for possibly close to another month.

The L.A. Kings with their loss last night are tied at the top of the Pacific standings with San Jose and look to rebound against an Oiler team who was hot, but has a tradition of stumbling when returning home from longer road trips.

Edmonton had a team meeting to address the start they'd need to have to maintain their momentum against a much stronger team than any of the teams from which the Oiler took their last five victories.

Look too for the Oilers to rough-up one Michal Handzus or anyone defending him. After hitting Hemsky from behind and ending his season, Handzus has a few players looking to send a message. If Strudwick plays tonight, you may see early sparks as he had something to say the last time these two teams met.

It should be an interesting game and while the Oilers are coming off of five straight wins, a must win in terms of telling us exactly where this team sits against tougher competition and at home with a couple days rest.


i think if he retires in the first year of his contract were not on the hook

December 15, 2009 at 10:32 PM comment-delete

There is definitely wording in the CBA that leads me to believe you may be correct, but what I find off, is that no one has yet made any mention to that fact. For a lamen, the wording seems far too ambiguous to suggest this is fact until someone with far more knowledge than I would have to clarify the wording as such.

My fear is that should the Oilers hold off on surgery and then decide after a reasonable amount of recoup time, what technically constitutes a year?

This could be far more complex than it seems.

December 16, 2009 at 2:08 AM comment-delete

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