Sergei Shirokov is set to play tonight on the top line with Kes and Samuelsson, coming back from a knee sprain that had him out for the past week. This is gonna be a huge night for him. Gillis has already gone on record to the TEAM 1040 saying that "Right now, he hasn't demonstrated anything in my mind that indicates he's ready to play at this level based on this camp". Ouch. At least Gillis isn't being nice to his young hopeful by avoiding the assessment. I like the bluntness from Gillis about Hodgson. And Grabner, although I've been pulling for him, has not been impressive enough to crack the roster.
Shirokov on the other hand, had 2 goals in the 1st game in Terrace (against an AHL roster albeit) and a couple of assists in the 2nd game against San Jose before being sidelined by injury. I don't want to be too excited about his potential, but he could be a good replacement for Demitra, at least while Demitra is out with his shoulder injury (and maybe long term option for the rather expensive contract?).
"He's a smart hockey player and pretty skilled offensively and can find the back of the net."-Kelser. And we need players like those, the ones that can find the back of the net, unlike the Bernier of last year.
He has 2 back to back games to impress coach V and will face a mostly veteran line-up in Calgary tonight and tomorrow in Edmonton.
Hodgson and Grabner will also play tonight. Hear the game on the TEAM 1040.