The Oilers and Leafs hook up tonight in the Battle for the number-one overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft pick.
Edmoonton, the NHL’s worst team thus far, were all positive talk this morning, following their pregame skate. The reason? Tonight marks the return of Oilers’ Head Coach Pat Quinn to his former stomping grounds in The Big Smoke, where he handled bench boss duties for the Toronto Maple Leafs, prior to his untimely departure in 2006.
The Leafs will honour Quinn during the game, and the Oilers are hoping to do the same for 60 minutes. Quinn’s blueline should be bolstered with the return of Ryan Whitney, who was questionable, after taking a slapshot off his knee in a recent game.
Whitney skated with minimal pain during this morning’s pregame. Captain Ethan Moreau (neck injury) is also expected to return the Oilers’ lineup, meaning Fernando Pisani will likely sit.
Other than a victory on Hockey Night in Canada, little is on the line for either team tonight – unless you consider the Taylor, Tyler sweeps.
Taylor vs. Tyler?
Not only is the weather heating up in the Alberta capital these days, but chatter about who Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini will announce as the team’s first round draft pick in L.A. this June, during the NHL’s 2010 Entry Draft.
Windsor Spitfires’ LW Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers’ C Tyler Seguin are currently the consensus top-two picks in this year’s draft.
With a desperate need for a talented centreman, the Oilers may very well be leaning towards Seguin, who surpassed the 100-point mark for the Whalers earlier this week. Hall, however, has consistently demonstrated a nose for the net (currently has 106 points!) and a knack for the clutch tally – the mark of an elite athlete capable of taking his game, and his team, to another level when called upon, much as he did during last year’s Memorial Cup Championship.
The Whalers and Spitfires may be on a collision course to meet one another in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, if, as expected, they advance past their respective first-round opponents.
Tambellini and literally dozens of other NHL scounts and GMs will undoubtedly be making the run across the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Plymouth when and if that playoff series materializes.
As a new feature, I’ll be posting video of both Hall and Seguin to “Crude Talk”, in the lead up to the 2010 NHL draft day. We’ll call it ‘Taylor vs. Tyler?”
Our first installment includes vintage goals from Taylor and Tyler shot this past week. Enjoy. Grit your teeth Oil fans. The future is bright!
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.