Boyd Gordon was a force for the Oilers tonight in the face-off dot. The off-season free agent acquisition played 31 shifts for the Oilers in tonight's victory and won an outstanding 18 face-offs for the blue and orange. Gordon also registered an assist.
His play earned glowing reviews from Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
"He's not rewarding me, he's rewarding our team," said Eakins. "I hate those guys who do everything right. That is a great example of a guy who has average speed and average skill and not a lot of flash but he is one of the most important players on our team.
"He does everything right. He's underneath the puck every time, he stops in his own zone, he battles hard, he competes, he does all of those things. That's the stuff you want to rub off on the rest of your team. He's winning face-offs, he's in a battle for a face-off. If he loses the face-off, the guy had to do something extraordinary to get it usually. He's been effective in front of the net on our power play when we need him and he's doing everything right with not a lot of flash and dash. That's what we need. I know we've got flash and dash but we just need to do things right.
"We need to play like Boyd Gordon."
Down 3-0 after two periods, fans might expect some sort of battle cry or angry message from Head Coach Dallas Eakins or some of the veteran leaders in the locker room during the intermission.
That wasn't the case.
"Not really," said Taylor Hall. "What was there really to say? We were pretty comfortable with our game plan and I think Dallas just came in and just confirmed that and made sure that we just got more pucks to the net and kept that jam, kept that battle level… All it takes is one shift, a period or anything like that to get your game going, your season going and that's all we needed."
"We came in here and we talked as a team," said centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who scored the first goal of the Oilers rally. "We had to get back to the basics and we had to play as a team. We got away from that a bit in the first couple of periods. Even though we didn't play terrible, we knew that we just had to come together and not get frustrated."
The players responded to the calm demeanour of their coach, eventually taking a 4-3 lead and then winning the 5-4 game in a shootout despite the hole that was dug through the first two periods.
"Not much to be honest with you," said forward David Perron said of what went on during the intermission. "That's what surprised me and… I loved it because I thought the roof was going to come off, I told the other guys. Dallas came in here and started explaining plays that we have to make better and stuff like that and new ones to kind of get creative. It seemed like from there, everyone seemed to be pretty confident that we could do it."
David Perron finished the game with a goal and an assist as well as a shootout goal in the Oilers 5-4 come from behind victory tonight.
His play earned him 'Player of the Game' honours inside the locker room following the first victory of the season and Dallas Eakins' first as a NHL head coach. He wore his reward proudly in the dressing room following the game; a Canadian Military jacket which Eakins handed down to Perron following his performance.
The jacket arrived to Eakins from a friend by way of a soldier in Afghanistan. The token has great meaning to both the coach and the players as they begin a new tradition in the Oilers dressing room.
"I was looking for something for our team," said Eakins. "Something that meant something. Every team has got something for their player of the game and I really wanted ours to mean something and that jacket, there's no greater level of commitment, courage or teamwork. If people think you're under pressure when you've lost two games, well be under pressure in a war zone. That's pressure.
"We're playing a game. These are small challenges. I handed it off as a reminder to the player of the game that this is what we need. This is what we need from our team. It's a great reminder of the great sacrifices that our military puts forth to keep us safe."
"Dallas handed it to me and it came from over there from someone who gave it to him and it was passed on to him," said Perron. "I guess it's for the hardest worker or whatever it is and I'll get to pass it on for the next time we win the game to a new guy all the way down for the rest of the season."
22-year-old defenceman Brandon Davidson has a good rookie camp and performed well in training camp but he was sent to the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City earlier than he wanted.
"It was a long training camp but I think it went well," said Davidson. "When I left, I was a little disappointed that I was going home that early but at the same time I knew it wasn't over. I knew there was some development that needed to be done and maybe I've shown that over the last couple of games down in the AHL. Like I said, I'm just trying to put my best foot forward and do everything I can to be here and just glad I got the opportunity."
Davidson, who yesterday earned his first call up to the NHL in his career was in a good mood following today's morning skate despite the fact that he is not expected to suit up tonight when the Oilers host the New Jersey Devils.
"I'm very excited. I've always had a dream of getting that first call up and finally playing. It's exciting just to be here whether if I get in the lineup or not. It's a great opportunity for me and I'm going to try and make the best of it."
Davidson will look to take advantage of his time in Edmonton and the fact that the team's rookie head coach is very adamant about replacing players who are struggling or not providing a 60-minute effort each night. This gives the young defenceman a good opportunity to pounce on play time if the players in front of him falter.
"It's a great opportunity for me to come in here whether that be if they're having problems or not. I'm going to push the pace for the other guys as well. Compete and whoever is going to be the best is going to be in the lineup. I'm here to compete and battle to get on that roster spot. At the same time I'm happy to be here but in another sense, just being here is not enough. I'm going to keep putting my best foot forward towards playing full time."
The Edmonton Oilers chose to call up 22-year-old defenceman Brandon Davidson for the first time in his career, yesterday.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins offered up an explanation of the transaction to the media following today's morning skate.
"We have a couple of defencemen banged up," said Eakins. "I like having tight numbers here. I really like just having 20 guys. It's great for practice. There's more reps for practice and I think it keeps your team tight. Obviously, you walk the tight-rope of somebody walking in sick one day but yesterday after the Vancouver game we had a couple of defencemen banged up. We were assured that they'd be able to play and it wasn't life-threatening or anything like that but you've still got to bring somebody in. You can't get caught with your pants down so we got Brandon in.
"We're going to reassess those guys but I think we're all set on our back-end."
It is not expected that Davidson will play tonight against New Jersey, but should a defenceman struggle or be injured he could figure into the lineup sooner than later.
Mark Arcobello has been a surprise thus far, two games into this young season. The centre has done nothing but play like it's his last night wearing that Oilers sweater and that's the attitude his head coach is searching for. His play has also given the team flexibility in its lineup.
"I've thought he's been good," said Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins. "And actually when you look for maybe a bright light in a whole bunch of dark, I think he's been good. Not excellent, but I think he's played good and something that we're encouraged by is his play allowed Taylor Hall to buzz back over to the wing.
"He's in the right mindset. He understands where we're at at centre ice. He sees Sam Gagner, how long he's going to be out for and Taylor Hall was playing centre so he's in the mindset that I need another day here, I need another game, I want another game and that's how he has to go about it. We'd like that right through our lineup. Is that the right way to go about it for guys that we know are going to play here? Probably not. We have to employ a different way to get to them but Arcobello is going about it the right way.
"He firmly knows that he's dying for another game and another opportunity and another day on the roster and he's opened up some eyes with his play."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins did not have Ryan Smyth on a line at morning skate and during his pre-game media availability he confirmed that Smyth won't play tonight.
"Ryan's not going to play tonight," Eakins began. "Believe me, I've got my eyes set on about four or five of our forwards right now. I could have my pick of any one of them.
"I've challenged those guys to be better. The reason it's Ryan is I knew he would handle it professionally. I knew he wouldn't go into a dark place with it because he's such a good leader and teammate and he understands the process."
Eakins added that other players have been put on warning that they could be next out of the lineup.
"If we don't have some other players pick up their game and do it quickly, they'll be out of the lineup. I've already warned the players about this. It doesn't matter to me what the fan base thinks of you. You have to compete. You have to have results. If you're not, you're going to be held accountable."
The Oilers are on the ice at Rexall Place for morning skate in preparation for tonight's contest against the New Jersey Devils. Lines are:Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Gordon - Hemsky
Hamilton - Arcobello - Yakupov
Gazdic - Acton - Brown
Smid - Petry
Ference - J.Schultz
N. Schultz - Belov
Grebeshkov - Davidson
- PRACTICE - Story on Hall/RNH/Eberle Reunited
- RAW - Dallas Eakins
- RAW - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- RAW - Jordan Eberle
- RAW - Taylor Hall
The Oilers announced that they have recalled defenceman Brandon Davidson from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
Davidson has two shots on goal and a -2 rating through the Barons' first two regular season games Friday and Saturday against the Charlotte Checkers. He had one assist in two pre-season games with the Oilers.