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Thanks to their nearly successful Stanley Cup run this past spring, the National Hockey League‘s Edmonton Oilers are again this town’s most difficult ticket, but we were able to attend the second home game of the 2006 preseason tonight versus the Phoenix Coyotes.

On the LRT, Dorami-chan was amazed at the range of hockey fans wearing their team colours – kids, mothers and even grandmothers were all decked out in Oilers jerseys. Rexall Place was less than full and quieter than my last time there — Game Three of the first round playoff series against Detroit this past spring. The crowd perked up during the pregame scoreboard montage of playoff highlights, only to be put to sleep by the national anthem singer’s stultifyingly plodding renditions.

This was the Oil’s third game in as many nights, and they iced a team that was only half NHL regulars. Still, that was better than the Desert Dogs, who rested notables like Cujo, Doan, Jovanovski, Nolan, Roenick, Comrie and Laraque in favour of a bunch of unknowns. So, I don’t think it means anything, but the half-Oilers looked very strong, at even strength and on the power play. The training camp rave reviews about the seemingly telepathic combination of emerging star Ales Hemsky and newly acquired Petr Sykora were absolutely accurate. They will be fun to watch this year.

Tonji-kun lasted until the halfway mark of the Second Period, then became unmanagebly restless, forcing us to bail at le deuxieme entracte. By that time the Oil were leading comfortably 3-1, the eventual final score. I guess we didn’t miss much, other than the post-game rush home!

Game Report: Oilers vs. Coyotes – 19 September 2006