INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Thursday, 03.24.2016 / 4:00 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

In two weeks, Oil Country will celebrate the last NHL game in Rexall Place history.

The Wednesday, April 6 game vs. Vancouver and post-game farewell ceremony will feature 100+ Oilers alumni in attendance. Each day leading up to the game, we’ll announce five Oilers alumni who are scheduled to attend, starting with the first five today.

Jari Kurri joined the Oilers in 1980 and played 10 legendary seasons, winning five Stanley Cups. Not long after his arrival, he was paired with teammate Wayne Gretzky, and the duo became one of the most prolific scoring tandems ever to play in the NHL. In the 1984-85 season, the Finn scored 50 goals in his first 50 games and finished the year with 135 points. Kurri recorded 601 goals and added 797 assists in 1,251 games for 1,398 points with Edmonton, as well as 233 points in 200 career Oilers post-season games.

Willy Lindstrom started his hockey career in the World Hockey Association with the Winnipeg Jets. He went on to play nine seasons in the NHL, two of which were spent as an Oiler. In that time, Lindstrom recorded 40 goals and added 41 assists in 163 games for 81 points and won two Stanley Cups in 1984 and 1985.

Petr Klima played four seasons with Detroit from 1985-89 before being traded to the Oilers (along with Joe Murphy and Adam Graves) during the 1989–90 season. The Czech forward played four seasons with the Oilers, recording 118 goals and 85 assists in 258 games. Klima scored the winning goal in the third overtime of Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against former Oilers goalie Andy Moog of the Boston Bruins. Klima played for the Oilers until 1993, winning the Stanley Cup in 1990.

Eddie Mio was part of the legendary WHA trade that sent Wayne Gretzky (along with Peter Driscoll) from the Indianapolis Racers to the Oilers. The 5-foot-10 goaltender played two seasons with Edmonton, seeing his first NHL action during the days of the Oilers’ transition from the WHA. Mio won 16 games in 1980–81 before he was traded to the New York Rangers.

Ryan Smyth was selected by the Oilers in the first round (sixth overall) in the 1994 NHL Draft. The winger went on to play 15 seasons with the Oilers. He spent 12 seasons with Edmonton before he was traded to the New York Islanders in 2007. After five seasons playing with three other NHL teams, the Oilers reacquired Smyth in 2012. The perennial fan favourite recorded 386 goals and added 456 assists in 1,270 games for 842 points with Edmonton, as well as 59 points in 93 career Oilers post-season games. Smyth is tied with Anderson for the most regular season power-play goals in franchise history with 126.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.21.2016 / 1:37 PM MT
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POSTED ON Monday, 03.21.2016 / 1:29 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It’s natural to love when a plan comes together. When everything works just as you practiced, every pass, every play just clicks.

But Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said that just because one night showed significant gains, doesn’t mean it’s always going to go that way.

“Some days you feel good, some days you’re not sharp, you’re sluggish, timing, ice conditions — they all come into play,” he said.

“Five-on-five, power play — any type of situation. You can’t just bottle one game up on four, five power-play goals and think it’s going to happen every night. You get the reward, you take a deep breath and you let your guard down a little bit and perhaps we’ve done that again too.”

Edmonton rocked their power play against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, scoring on four of six opportunities, which lead them to a 6-4 victory.

Last night, the Oilers were unable to capitalize on all four power plays during their game against the Colorado Avalanche.

“One [player] can destroy five,” said McLellan. “When you’re on a power play if one is making a bad decision and one is making poor reads [it] affects the mindset of the power play. Now, last night it was one at a time, it wasn’t just one individual. They were taking turns making poor reads, but continuing to work it to get them to understand why certain things happen on the power play is important and we’ll continue to do that.”

The Oilers have continued the cycle at practice, working on moulding and shaping their power play.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on the power play, hours on end really,” said the benchboss. “I do believe we’re getting better, I think we’ve seen some results. We had some real good scoring opportunities and then we just had some really poor puck decisions and poor passing. That’s a little bit surprising for me when you can put that type of talent on the ice, they seem to be forcing things, so we’ll clean it up and get better.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.21.2016 / 11:57 AM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said that it’s unlikely forward Patrick Maroon will make it into the lineup tomorrow night against the Arizona Coyotes.

“He’s not feeling good,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I don’t think he’ll be ready to play tomorrow in Phoenix, so probably San Jose.”

Maroon was absent from practice this morning as the Oilers took to the ice in Leduc.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound forward was acquired on February 29 from the Anaheim Ducks. Maroon has recorded two goals and added four assists for six points in 10 games this season.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.21.2016 / 9:06 AM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice in Leduc.

Patrick Maroon is absent from practice. Adam Cracknell is skating in dark blue with the top six forwards.

Lines:

Cracknell-McDavid-Eberle
Hall-Draisaitl-Pakarinen
Korpikoski-RNH-Yakupov
Hendricks-Letestu-Kassian

Reinhart-Oesterle
Sekera-Fayne
Nurse-Clendening

Benoit Pouliot, Brandon Davidson, Eric Gryba and Oscar Klefbom are all not skating.

Stay tuned for full video and blog coverage after practice.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.20.2016 / 11:27 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was sink or swim for the Colorado Avalanche tonight, who needed a win over the Oilers in order to continue their playoff push in the Western Conference.

Their hard work paid off as they finished the night with a 3-2 victory.

“I thought we had a good start to the first period where we pushed quite a bit,” said Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog. “Obviously, they got a power play at the end of the first there that they pushed back at. But, other than that, I think we played a pretty solid game from start to finish and obviously our power play was key tonight.”

Landeskog who returned to Colorado’s lineup after serving a three-game suspension for cross-checking Anaheim Ducks defenceman Simon Despres on March 9, opened scoring late in the second, slipping the puck inside the right post past an outstretched Laurent Brossoit.

“[I] felt good, it’s tough watching,” he said. “I was hungry and ready to go but the guys have done a great job throughout the road trip here to make sure that we’re in a good spot, and I was just hungry to come and help out.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:34 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was tough goings for the visiting Canucks as the Oilers blanked Vancouver with a 2-0 victory, Friday night.

Confusion midway through the second period saw a goal from Canucks forward Brendan Gaunce waved off.

“That was a tough one, I still don’t really get it,” said Vancouver Captain Henrik Sedin. “They tried to explain it to everyone. For me, they [said they] called it off because he batted it in with his hand, but then they came back and said it was a goalie interference.”

Nearly five minutes later, Oilers forward Jordan Eberle flicked a shot from the left circle through the five-hole of goaltender Jacob Markstrom, taking a 1-0 lead, and putting a damper on Vancouver’s momentum.

“It was nice to get a [would-be] goal there, again we’ve got to think about the way we play and our process here of trying to get better,” said Sedin. “It was a tough one today but overall we played a good game.”

The third of five meetings between the teams, the Oilers are now 2-0-1 in the series.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

For two straight games now, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan has expressed his pleasure with the play of the defensive partners Griffin Reinhart and Jordan Oesterle. McLellan has also begun experimenting with the former American Hockey League pairing, swapping Reinhart to the right side and Oesterle to the left.

“I think that pair has been pretty steady since we’ve put them together,” said McLellan, following a 2-0 win over Vancouver Friday night. “We’re experimenting with him on the right side and Jordan on the left. They both played big minutes, they penalty killed.”

Reinhart logged a career-best and team-high 23:37 TOI against Vancouver, while also contributing a game-high eight blocked shots. Oesterle played 21:23 against the Canucks and recorded an assist on Matt Hendricks’ big goal that gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead in the third.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers defenceman Griffin Reinhart has to be feeling pretty good about his last two games. After logging a team-high six hits and receiving praise for a physical and assertive performance against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, Reinhart perhaps topped that with his night Friday.

Reinhart played a career-high 23:37 and blocked a game-high eight shots on his way to being named the game’s third star in a 2-0 win over Vancouver.

“For a segment of games, this is probably the best Griffin has been all year,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’ve talked about some of the factors or the reasons why. He’s played well.”

Reinhart has felt more comfortable in the lineup now that he’s playing regularly, and his familiarity with his defensive partner, Jordan Oesterle, has helped him settle in.

“I thought it went well,” Reinhart said of his game against the Canucks. “I thought I was playing physical. I actually didn’t know about eight blocked shots, so that’s a good thing. That’s a bonus.”

Reinhart is pleased to be getting more minutes, saying that helps him perform better as well.

“It’s easy to get in a groove,” he said. “You’ve got to get up every second or third shift and it’s easy to play. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re in penalty trouble or on the power play and you don’t get in that regular shift, so it’s something I can build off of.”

Reinhart is feeling much better as of late and his confidence is building with each performance.

“I always knew I could play like this, but it’s sometimes tough. I think the biggest part of it is knowing I’m playing every night right now. I think that’s what helps. You get into that routine and you do the same things every day and you build off of that rather than checking the board every morning to see if you’re in the lineup and breaking it up a bit.”

Reinhart agrees with the statement that this may be the most confident and comfortable he’s felt in his short career as an Oiler.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers are comfortable, as they should be, with Cam Talbot between the pipes. With every performance like Friday night’s 40-save shut out of the Vancouver, Talbot solidifies his number-one role with the Oilers that much more.

Talbot has managed a 7-2-1 record in his last starts and boasts a .948 save percentage in that stretch. As the 2015-16 season comes to an end, one must think the Oilers would be confident in placing Talbot in a 60-70-start role next season. The Oilers would be confident in his ability to handle a heavy workload but would want to make sure his 40-shot nights are limited.

“It’s not just about me and my team, it’s our team, the coaching staff and the players,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I think you could line them up tonight in order by numbers and I think every one of them will tell you they feel really good when 33 is in the net. I echo those thoughts. 60-70 games? We’ve got to make sure we keep this guy alive.

“We’ve had some good nights where we’ve had 22-23 shots against, but you put three or four 40-shot games in a row, it’s taxing on him. We also have to be aware we’re trying to develop a real young, good goaltender (Laurent Brossoit) as well.”

Talbot signed a three-year extension with the Oilers on January 17.

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG