With the Oilers in the midst of a four day break, the club returned to the ice for one more practice before Prince takes over Rexall Place for a concert Tuesday night. Edmonton had both Taylor Hall and Corey Potter skating with the regular troops minus the baby blue no-contact jerseys but goaltender Nikoali Khabibiulin was absent from practice.
It was believed that Hall would be ready to go come Thursday in Phoenix and that still seems to be the plan. The former first overall selection had the following to say after Monday's practice, "I didn't have any problem with shooting or with contact or anything, so I'm hoping to get cleared to be in the lineup on Thursday." With Taylor's return imminent, the coaching staff took the opportunity to try out some new line combinations at practice.
- Eberle - Nugent-Hopkins - Gagner
- Hemsky - Horcoff - Hall
- Jones - Belanger - Smyth
- Paajarvi - Lander - Eager
- Extra: Hordichuk
With Khabibulin missing practice and Devan Dubnyk getting the surprise start on Saturday, there are whispers that the Russian netminder is possibly battling an injury. The club said it was nothing more then a maintenance day for Khabby but with his recent injury woes the alarm bells are starting too sound. Adding fuel to the fire, was that the Russian netminder was unavailable to talk to the media after Fridays win because he was "being worked on" and some are starting to draw their own conclusions. Everyone is aware that they can't ride Khabibulin too heavily but in order for the coaching staff to look to Dubnyk for relief, he needs more performances like he had on Saturday against the Flames.
As previously mentioned, Corey Potter practiced with the team on Monday and appears very close to returning. Potter likely won't go against the Coyotes on Thursday but it sounds as though he will be a good bet to return on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.