Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about continuing to find the right mix.
“We continue to search for goals (on the power play) and we’ll keep changing it, adjusting it, hammering on it,” he began.
“Hendy (Matt Hendricks) will not leave the front of that net when the puck’s up on the point. He’s good on retrievals. He’s heavy on pucks, we’ve got to have that. What happens on your power play usually is when a guy like that goes on it, there’s usually someone with skill who moves off or moves to another unit. It’s where we’re at now. We have to have somebody in front of the net.”
The head coach added that he felt that losing Boyd Gordon's faceoff ability -- he remains out with a back injury -- puts the team in a tough position.
“When you get into these situations, boy do you miss Boyd Gordon and the value that he brings our team in the faceoff circle.”
With Pitlick in front of the net on the other unit, Eakins is taking a page out of the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.
“Pitter is going to be our bumper up there. He was doing it in Oklahoma City. We were chatting with (Barons head coach Todd Nelson) down there and he was real efficient there.”
While Pitlick has not been a centre for most of his pro career, Eakins does like his faceoff ability.
“He has centre in his background and can win face-offs as well. We’ll put him in that role on that unit.”
Pitlick played centre for a good number of shifts on Friday against Anaheim.
“I only moved him there for a shift or two and he did so well that I just let it run, I kept going with him. I thought he looked really good there. Is that a long-term approach for him? Probably not, at this level. But he was one of the guys for me last night that was going. He was playing and he was being physical. He’s in the mindset right now, whatever we ask him to do he just nods his head. You end up having a lot of time for players like that.”
Like last Sunday, the Oilers are not skating tomorrow morning. With the team coming off four games in six days and the Rangers playing tonight (and also not skating tomorrow), Coach Eakins felt that fresh legs were important for the club.
"You see that first period last night, we're pooched. Fourth game in six nights. With a win last night and better execution you wouldn't have seen us today. I would have liked to keep them right away from the rink to get them some rest but we needed touches. We had to go back on that power play again. We got that done today and now we need them to rest," Eakins stated.
Tyler Pitlick will be on a line with Mark Arcobello and David Perron on Sunday night against the New York Rangers. For Pitlick, he's skating with a couple of players he's familiar with. He skated with Perron in his first game up with the Oilers back on December 1 and played with Arcobello in Oklahoma City.
"I think it’ll be great," said Pitlick of his new linemates. "Me and Arco played together my first year in OKC pretty much the whole year. And on and off throughout the years that he was there. He was up and down quite a bit.
"I’m familiar with him and we’re kind of familiar with each other. We can trust each other so I think it’ll be good to have that factor," Pitlick continued. "Me and Perron played together that first game and I thought we played well together getting pucks in deep, playing a simple game and letting the forecheck take care of the work."
Arcobello added that he was looking forward to playing with Pitlick.
"He plays hard every game. He’s got good speed and size and likes to throw the body. It’s nice to have him on the forecheck. He’ll chip it in and press a lot of those D. It’s going to be good."
Line combinations are:
Looks like Hall-RNH-Purcell at practice this morning. Yak-Draisaitl-Eberle. Perron-Arcobello-Pitlick. Gazdic-Hendricks-Pinizzotto.— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 13, 2014
The Oilers need to get more pucks to the net, especially on the power play. They also want more slap shots to head towards the net than wristers.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke about hat and the Oilers need for players like Justin Schultz to become that shot presence from the blueline.
“Justin’s first thought is get the puck to the net and we’re all for that. But we have asked him to start teeing it up because he can shoot it,” Eakins said.
Eakins says the Oilers don’t have that feared heavy shot from the point like the Predators have in Shea Weber, so it falls on the rest of the players just to shoot it.
“Do we have a guy that’s got a huge gun like some teams have a d-man back there that everybody in the league knows… it’s coming? We really don’t really have a guy like that,” Eakins said. “That being said, I’m not sure who can’t shoot the puck with these sticks. Everybody can gun it, you just have to be committed to, ‘I’m shooting the puck here and that’s it.’”
“If you have a chance to shoot it, I’d much rather you tickle the rafters with your stick and gun it than just wrist it through.”
The Oilers recalled 23-year-old Tyler Pitlick because he was playing well in Oklahoma City and deserved another look in the NHL. So far, the young winger hasn’t looked out of place, playing with more skilled players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“He’s bringing us some physical play,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He can certainly skate and get in on the forecheck. We’re hoping that his touches on the puck get a little cleaner. He’ll certainly go to the net and we feel that’s how he can compliment Nuge and Hallsy, by doing that. There are going to be times where we pop up another forward there on that line as well, depending on if there is a timeout coming or something like that. Pitter has come in, he’s worked hard. He’s had some chances before, maybe they were a little bit premature but he seems a little more ready for this one.”
Pitlick has played five games for the Oilers this season, and has 19 hits.
The Edmonton Oilers have transferred forward Jesse Joensuu to Bern of the Swiss Elite League.
Joensuu, 27, played in 20 games this season for the Oilers. He recorded two goals, two assists and 14 penalty minutes.
There aren't very many roads to the NHL that have been bumpier than the one traveled by Oilers defenceman Brandon Davidson.
The team has yet to announce whether the 23-year-old will make his NHL debut tonight on the road against the Anaheim Ducks, but if he does, it will be the culmination of a tumultuous few years that included a cancer scare and an off-season groin injury earlier this year that caused him to miss training camp.
"For a lot of my life, things have come harder for me, but I've always battled through and here I am ready to go," Davidson said following the team's pre-game meetings in Anaheim. With Nikita Nikitin (back) placed on IR on Monday, the Oilers recalled Davidson on Tuesday and he joined the team in California.
The Oilers selected Davidson in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft, and he followed that up with 100 points and a +21 rating in 141 games during his final two Western Hockey League seasons with the Regina Pats, before graduating to the pro level.
Hockey took a backseat for Davidson in October 2012, however, as he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He battled through successful surgery and chemotherapy, worked his way back to game shape and ended up finishing the season with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons. Fully recovered, he spent all of 2013-14 with the Barons and put up 13 points in 68 games.
Poised for a competitive NHL training camp, Davidson had another setback during his summer training as he suffered a groin injury that prevented him from on-ice action until he debuted with the Barons in November. He's been stellar since, putting up three points and a +5 rating in 14 games, for the most part playing on an OKC defence pairing with veteran Brad Hunt.
"Less is more for me," Davidson said. "I play a simple game, a strong game. I feel like some stability on the back end would help the team, and that's all I want to do is help. I'm not going to change anything or reinvent the wheel. I'm just going to play hard."
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have recalled defenceman Brandon Davidson from the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons.
Davidson, 23, has recorded three points (1G, 2A), 13 penalty minutes and a plus five rating in 14 games with the Barons this season.
The 6’2”, 214-pound defenceman has registered 21 points (8G, 13A) and 85 penalty minutes in 109 career AHL games.