The Edmonton Oilers will face their first real test of the pre-season tonight as they face off against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Oilers will deploy a lineup featuring Ales Hemsky, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner, Ladislav Smid, Sheldon Souray, Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner and Denis Grebeshkov against a Canucks lineup loaded up with Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, Mark Parrish, Ryan Kesler, Alex Edler, Darcy Hordichuk, Mikael Samuelsson, Brad Lukowich, Kyle Wellwood and Roberto Luongo.
In other words, the pre-season shoe may finally be on the other foot. The Oilers are facing a lineup loaded with more regular NHLers, not to mention the man who could be the best goaltender in the NHL in any given season (Luongo's playoff collapse against the Chicago Blackhawks notwithstanding).
Whether the Oilers win or lose tonight, this game will finally give Oilers fans a better indication of wether or not Pat Quinn's presence behind the Edmonton bench is making a difference for this team so far.
To date the Oilers have enjoyed the luxury of playing teams featuring mostly AHLers and third- or fourth-line NHLers. Tonight marks their first foray against serious competition in the Pat Quinn era.
Hopefully, they're up to the challenge.