Rangers-Oilers later, but first, what the heck, a detour, of which we had plenty driving in from the airport in construction-clogged Alberta last night.
A Western Hockey League prospect report, courtesy of the Edmonton Journal, which I perused over coffee with the sun rising slowly over the river and the flat prairie landscape in this remote outpost.
Rangers draftee Michael St. Croix, now with the Oil Kings, had a goal and two assists in the first period last night in an 8-4 drubbing of the Portland Winterhawks. He's 4-8-12 in 13 games. D Dylan McIlrath scored his first goal of the season for Moose Jaw in a 3-2 loss to Red Deer. The big fella also earned instigator, fighting and 10-minute misconduct pens at 3:49 of the first period. And Shane McColgan, playing for the Kelowna Rockets, is 2-10-12 in nine games.
It's an 8 p.m. start tonight for Tom Renney's troops against the Rangers, but the morning skate remains at 11:30 a.m. at Rexall Place. We'll report from there on the probable lineup and more. Without practice yesterday, unclear whether injured Wojtek Wolski or Michael Sauer will return.
Speculation continues on the status of Marc Staal, who has been receiving treatment for concussion-related headaches, but as I've written, the word weeks ago was not to expect him back until next month at the earliest.
Renney has put a heavy emphasis on D and the Journal reports that top pick Ryan Nugent Hopkins (no goals in three games and struggling on faceoffs) may get a rest tonight. No matter, swinging by to catch up with Renney will be a pleasure.
More in a few, remember to stop here and http://twitter.com/stevezipay for updates, news, observations, commentary and lah di dah...