- TRUE BLUE | Connor McDavid
- PRACTICE | Friday in San Jose
- PRACTICE RAW | Lauri Korpikoski
- PRACTICE RAW | Jordan Oesterle
READ: First five alumni announced Thursday | WATCH: Farewell Rexall Place Series
In less than 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.
Fred Brathwaite was an undrafted free agent who earned his first NHL contract with the Oilers in 1993. During his three seasons in the Oilers organization, he split his time between Edmonton and AHL Cape Breton appearing in 40 games at the NHL level before moving on to the IHL’s Manitoba Moose. Brathwaite enjoyed a successful pro career, playing 254 career NHL games over a span of nine seasons with Edmonton, Calgary, St. Louis and Columbus.
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Acquired by the Oilers in the Wayne Gretzky trade only months after being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, Martin Gelinas' time with the club would be known for much more than his involvement in the historic trade after helping lead the Oilers to their fifth Stanley Cup in seven years in 1990. In his rookie campaign, Gelinas was a member of the “Kid Line” as a 19 year old alongside Joe Murphy and Adam Graves. Gelinas would go on to play 1273 NHL games with 309 goals and 660 points over 18 seasons.
From Stettler, Alberta, defenceman Bob Falkenberg was a member of the original 1972-73 Alberta Oilers. It was a homecoming of sorts for Falkenberg, who played with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the early 1960s. Falkenberg played two seasons with the Oilers plus two additional games in 1977-78 at the end of his career. Over his time with the WHA Oilers, Falkenberg had five goals and 46 points in 158 games.
Marty McSorley joined the Oilers in 1985 after being acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In three seasons with the Oilers, McSorley had 22 goals and 55 points in 160 games plus 647 penalty minutes before being moved to Los Angeles in the Gretzky trade. McSorley returned to Edmonton for one more season in 1998-99 and had two goals and five points plus 101 penalty minutes in 46 games. In his NHL career, McSorley had 108 goals and 359 points in 961 games. His 3381 career penalty minutes ranks fourth all-time in NHL history.
“The Magic Man” Kent Nilsson was a trade deadline acquisition for the Oilers from the Minnesota North Stars in 1987 and had an immediate impact in helping the Oilers win their third Stanley Cup. He had five goals and 17 points in 17 regular season games to finish the 1986-87 regular season and then added six goals and 19 points in 21 playoff games. After a stint in Europe, Nilsson returned to the Oilers during the 1994-95 season for six games at the end of his career, scoring one goal. After his playing career, Nilsson also worked as a European scout for the Oilers.
Oilers winger Patrick Maroon was named the first star of the game in Edmonton’s 6-3 win over the Sharks in San Jose last night. He scored a goal and added two assists and five shots in an impressive effort. That was Maroon’s second career three-point night.
“I don’t really judge myself after games,” said Maroon. “Some games I’ve played terrible and I’ve played some terrible games as an Oiler, maybe a couple. Last night, I thought I felt good. I thought our line played good in all three zones. We were breaking out clean in the defensive zone and we did good offensively leading to some zone time. I thought we did a good job of that. The more time we do that, the more successful we’ll be.”
Maroon was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline. The hulking winger has played 11 games for the Oilers and has nine points (3-6-9). He is consistently playing a top-six role with Edmonton and has shown a knack for going to the net and playing with skilled linemates, such as Connor McDavid and Jordan
“It’s been going good so far,” said Maroon. “The coaches and the brass have given me a chance to play in the top six. For me coming in here I have to seize the opportunity. I’ve got to play good, because this could be a spot for the taking and maybe for my future, it could be good for me. Obviously, playing with Connor and Ebs is pretty easy. They have really good skill, good speed in the neutral zone, good and clean breakouts so that really helps for me. I just try to play big and physical and go to the net and try to open space for those two.”
The Oilers didn’t have the first period against the San Jose Sharks they wanted or expected. By the end of the opening 20 minutes Thursday night, Edmonton found themselves down 2-0.
Lauri Korpikoski got the important first goal for Edmonton 1:39 into the second period, after the team received chastisement from Head Coach Todd McLellan during the intermission. Following Korpikoski’s tally, the Oilers comeback continued.
Taylor Hall scored at 8:18 of the middle frame and Adam Clendening gave the Oilers their first lead just 45 seconds later. Following a Sharks goal to tie the game at 3-3, Patrick Maroon responded for the Oilers and they never surrendered the lead again. Hall’s empty-net goal at 19:54 of the third closed out the 6-3 win.
“It was huge coming back from behind,” said Korpikoski. “We haven’t had too many of those lately. The first period is something we all learned from. We weren’t ready to go in that one, but the last 40 was a lot better.”
With San Jose trying to clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Oilers, it was impressive that Edmonton was able to not only come from behind, but beat a motivated team in their own barn.
“It says a lot. It says we’re capable of doing that, and it says basically going forward into next year, if we play like that, we can beat any team in this league. That’s a good sign,” said Maroon. “The last month of this season, it’s probably the hardest to play. It’s like playing playoff hockey. Some teams are trying to make it, some teams are trying to clinch a playoff spot so they’re playing for their spots. To come back and win shows good character in the locker room and good response, good poise and the leaders took charge.”
The playoffs are not in the team’s immediate future, but showing resiliency down the stretch is better than the alternative.
“We may not be in a playoff spot this year but it gives us confidence going into the summer that if next year we come back and play 60 minutes (every game) then we can be a playoff team,” said defenceman Jordan Oesterle.
Maybe momentum won’t carry into 2016-17, but lessons learned may and momentum can at least provide a boost heading into their showdown with Los Angeles Saturday night.
“It definitely gives us some momentum going into LA, and it definitely gives the boys a boost of confidence leaving San Jose with two points,” said Oesterle. “We came out in the first not the way we wanted and responded well in the second and third.”
The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at the SAP Center in San Jose before flying to Los Angeles this afternoon.
No Talbot either, so LB racing from one end of the ice to the other during drills. pic.twitter.com/sav4hvZgit— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) March 25, 2016
Stay tuned for full coverage.
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.
BLOGS & FEATURES
- PRACTICE | Monday in Leduc
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Jordan Eberle
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
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.”
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.
The Oilers have hit the ice in Leduc.
Stay tuned for full video and blog coverage after practice.