Yesterday Head Coach, Dallas Eakins, touched on how he wants his team to play with sandpaper and grit. He is looking for toughness out of the players in his locker room. Forward Mike Brown was brought in to fill that role last season and is looking forward to expanding on it in 2013-14.
“That’s the plan of attack every year,” said Brown. “I think every coach I’ve had knows what I’m going to bring and I know I have to talk with the coaches to see what they expect and everything out of me.
“I’m going to come to the rink and do my job. Things get a little goofy when you try to think outside the box and try to do someone else’s job.”
Oilers forward Taylor Hall is trying his hand at centre with Edmonton’s top middle-guy, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, recovering from shoulder surgery. Hall saw his first extensive action at the position on Day One of Oilers Training Camp, today.
“It feels good,” said Hall. “It’s a lot different accepting passes in the middle of the ice and not having the boards to my left. But I am excited about it. It’s a great time to make that switch, I don’t think there’s a better time in the year than training camp to get really used to a position that you’re not totally comfortable playing.”
For day one at least, Hall centered a line between a couple of veterans in Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky. This grouping could give Hall a greater chance to succeed while sandwiched between two experienced guys.
“That’s great. Smitty is a guy that’s played for a long time and he’s also a guy that’s played centre a bit in his career. He said that if I’m not the first guy back, he has no problem playing down low or whatever it may be. Hemsky’s a guy that I’ve loved playing with ever since I got on the Oilers. He has a lot of speed and we see the game a lot alike.
“I’m not sure what the lines are going to be in the exhibition games, but to have those guys just in practice is fun.”
Head Coach, Dallas Eakins has wasted no time in his quest for conditioning.
The first on-ice group went through a down and back session that lasted roughly 20 minutes. The players looked very tired after the session.
Eakins had timing equipment set up on the ice early this morning.
More updates from camp yet to come. Stay tuned.
The Oilers are kicking off training camp today as veterans report to Rexall Place for fitness testing and medicals.
We will be adding video, audio and blog postings throughout the day. Follow the listings below for multimedia, blog postings and more.
INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG (VIEW ALL)
- Hall on vacant captaincy
- Jones returns with something to prove
- Tomorrow a tough conditioning day
- Eakins: "We're not looking for any Son-in-Laws"
- Eakins: Getting to know phase just beginning
- Eakins spreads good nutrition to media
- Eberle on board with accountability
- Eberle sick of young team label
- Gagner on vacant captaincy
- Gagner sets expectations high
When you look at the Edmonton Oilers roster a few names really stick out as possible captain candidates.
Ultimately, it will be Head Coach, Dallas Eakins’, decision but one of the names that comes up is Taylor Hall.
Hall has entrenched himself as an important piece of the Oilers rebuild and has slowly taken a leadership role in the locker room. He commented on the possibility of wearing the ‘C’ this season.
“It’d be special,” said Hall. “Like everyone says, when they get the captain ‘C’ or they are mentioned about it… There really has been a lot of great captains that have played here.
“If you look around our room right now, there are a lot of guys that are leaders on whatever team they played on. I’m a young guy still, I’ve only played three years, but I wore a letter last year. I became comfortable talking to the team in the room and being a leader on the ice and off the ice.”
Hall says although he’d be honoured to be named the captain, this Oilers roster will be led by committee more than an individual.
“Whether they want to make me captain or Jordan (Eberle), or Andrew (Ferrence) or (Sam Gagner) or whoever it is, I think we’re going to be a team that leads by committee. We have so many young guys and guys that have started in the league at the same time and I feel like whoever is the captain, isn’t going to be the main voice in the room. I think it’s going to be everyone.”
Ryan Jones nearly lost an eye last season when a puck deflected off of a stick and into the forward’s face. The Oilers decided to give Jones another chance with the team and signed him to a one-year contract in July.
Jones is dedicating this season to all of those who believed in him, while he scorns those who doubt him.
“I do feel like I have something to prove,” said Jones. “I have something to prove to the people who have my back, to (Craig MacTavish) and to the people within the organization. My teammates, myself, my family, the people that were there for me the whole time, that went through the injury with me and stuck by my side.
“Those are the people I’m going to be playing for this year. It’s a big year obviously, and I want to do everything I can to help this hockey team to win a lot of hockey games.
“And if given the opportunity to flip the people, who turned their back on me, the bird on the way out while I am winning games would be nice too.”
The 29 year-old has played for Edmonton each of the last four seasons, suiting up for 195 games and scoring 66 points (38-28-66).
Oilers bench boss, Dallas Eakins, alluded that day two of training camp will be physically trying for the players in attendance.
Known to be a fitness junkie, Eakins is ready to put his team through the paces.
“Tomorrow is not a fun day for them and then they’re going to go practice after,” said Eakins. “But we’ll pull back a little bit in practice and look after them.
“All the tests we do are for data and things that our strength and conditioning team can use to make these players better.”
It’s safe to say that Eakins will soon have an idea of who is in shape and who isn’t.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says he is always looking for a high compete level. Toughness is also a premium as Eakins looks to round out his roster.
Knowing that you can’t change a player’s personality, Eakins will be looking to see what players play with sandpaper. Never one to mince words, Eakins said this:
“I think you can push them in the right direction,” said Eakins. “We’re not going to change a guy’s personality. Some guys are just built where they are very friendly and they’re very friendly on the ice. Listen, we’re not looking for son-in-laws here. We’re looking for guys to win hockey games.”
Eakins feels there are players on the roster already that will bring that attitude and can “back it up” if they need to.
No son-in-laws on this roster. It’s all about grit.
For new Head Coach Dallas Eakins, the getting to know the players stage of camp and the preseason has just begun.
While he wouldn’t put a timetable on it, Eakins says it is going to take some time before he is comfortable with each and every player and their personalities.
“It takes a while,” said Eakins. “Listen, me talking to (Ladislav) Smid a couple of minutes ago for two minutes isn’t going to get a whole lot done. The process is never ending.
“It’s going to be everyday and every time and the great thing that I have here is I’ve got three very experienced assistant coaches who can cover a lot of the system work, getting practices ready and things of that nature. It allows me to get out in the dressing room with players.”
To the chagrin of some of the media members in attendance at day one of Oilers Training Camp, there would be no processed sugar adrenaline rush today.
The normal media breakfast at sporting events consists of coffee and doughnuts but Dallas Eakins, a fitness buff and nutrition driven individual, replaced those sugary treats with fruit, vegetables and Greek yogurt.
“I told you at the very first one, enjoy those doughnuts because you won’t see them again,” said Eakins.
It would seem that the players aren’t the only ones who will be on a strict diet under their new bench boss.