When Martin Marincin scored his first NHL goal, assisted by Andrew Miller and Anton Lander, Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson probably had flashbacks to Oklahoma City and his days as head coach there. Nelson coached all three of those players in OKC last season and the start of this one.
If he didn’t have flashbacks then, he definitely did when Marincin, Lander and Oscar Klefbom were on the ice attempting to kill off a Colorado 5-on-3 power play. With Andrew Ference and Boyd Gordon already sitting out tonight’s game, Mark Fayne and Matt Hendricks both went down to injury. The situation made it so the younger players on the roster had to step up, and they did so by helping the Oilers win 4-3.
“We had a young group,” Nelson said. “They played hard for each other. I had to shake my head there on that 5-on-3 because I had Anton, Klefbom and Marincin (out there) and that’s who we had on the 5-on-3 down in OK City at the start of this year. The young guys played well.
Miller recorded his first two NHL assists tonight, helping his linemates (Lander and Taylor Hall) turn in a good night.
“Andrew Miller had a great game,” Nelson said. “I thought he was moving his feet. He had a couple assists. Anton, that whole line played outstanding: Hall, Anton and Millsy. We had a lot of good efforts from our younger players and that’s great to see. I think it’s going to give them confidence moving forward.”
Nelson’s familiarity with the multiple players on the roster who have played under him in the AHL seems to lead to confidence between player and coach.
“I think it’s a big advantage because, from working with them in OKC, you develop confidence in the players because you’ve had them for a number of years,” said Nelson. “So I think it’s a lot easier for me as a coach to say, ‘Ok, I can use this guy in this situation,’ because I’ve seen them handle it before. I had no problems putting Andrew Miller (out there) in the last minute and 40 seconds. He deserved it as well, he earned it. It was a good game from our young guys. I thought they really took charge. When Colorado kept coming and they had some good opportunities, it was good to have (Ben Scrivens) step up. But our young guys played well.”
There was no word on the status of the Oilers injured veterans, immediately following the game.
VIDEO: RAW: Nelson | RAW: Anton Lander | RAW: Mark Fayne
AUDIO: Todd Nelson | Mark Fayne | Anton Lander
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place.
Gordon tweaked his back and Ference has an undisclosed upper body injury. There weren’t any further updates on Tuesday, except that the two players will continue to be evaluated.
“Gordo is the same thing I said (Monday) night where his back seized up and he took today off,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Obviously, at this time of year, we’ve been playing a lot of games and guys need time off and time to rest. As for Andrew Ference, it’s an upper body injury and he’s going through further testing and we’ll find out more tomorrow.”
Ference is doubtful for tomorrow against Colorado.
The Oilers do have two more forward options now. Luke Gazdic (illness) and Matt Fraser (concussion) have both been cleared to play. The Oilers will make lineup decisions tomorrow ahead of their game against the Avalanche. Gazdic and Fraser rotated on the fourth-line wing with Matt Hendricks at centre and Rob Klinkhammer on the other wing at practice with Gordon absent.
The Oklahoma City Barons, who have been decimated by injury and call-ups in recent days, made some moves to try and turn the tide.
They added Oilers prospect Jackson Houck, who had played the season with the WHL's Vancouver Giants on an Amateur tryout agreement. Houck was drafted by Edmonton in the fourth round in 2013.
The Barons also added three players from the ECHL's Brampton Beast on pro tryout agreements: David Ling, Brett Lyon and Jason Pitton.
Ling, 40, had nine goals and 38 points in 37 games with Brampton. He had a career-high 88 points with St. John's in the AHL in 2004-05 and has played 93 career NHL games. He plays right wing.
Pitton, 28, previously played in the Oilers organization from 2009-2011 including stints in Stockton and Springfield. He had 22 goals and 40 points in 60 games with Brampton. He plays left wing.
Lyon, 24, is also a left winger. He had 17 points in 56 games with Brampton and Allen in the ECHL. He also had a whopping 288 penalty minutes. He has previous AHL experience with Abbotsford and Utica and played four seasons in the WHL.
The Oilers have placed Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment.
From the team's official press release:
#Oilers have placed forward Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment. The winger had two points in 16 games up from OKC.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 22, 2015
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have placed winger Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment.
Hamilton, 29, appeared in 16 games for the Oilers registering two points (1G, 1A), including his first career National Hockey League goal on February 10th against the New York Islanders.
The 6-2’, 219-pound forward has registered 29 points (15G, 14A) and six penalty minutes in 32 games with the Barons this season.
Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse was named the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Most Valuable Player at the organization's annual awards banquet on Friday night.
"It means a lot," said Nurse, according to sootoday.com. "Looking at our team, there are a lot of guys that could have got it. It's a nice thing to be recognized for. I've been here for a while so I've been through both the ups and downs. It's a great organization and I wouldn't change a thing that's occurred over the last four years."
Nurse, 20, has 31 points (9-22-31) in 34 games. He missed a month with a knee injury.
Sault Ste. Marie is the top team in the OHL Western Conference, with 106 points in the standings and a record of 52-12-0-2.
VIDEO: Friday's Update | RAW: Nelson | RAW: Hall | RAW: RNH | RAW: Pouliot
AUDIO: Todd Nelson | Taylor Hall | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins | Benoit Pouliot
The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place.
Taylor Hall is no longer wearing non-contact yellow. He is in light blue with the line of Miller-Lander-Hamilton.
Hall & Miller-Lander-Hamilton
Gazdic & Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer
Fraser left the ice early after a couple of drills.
Oscar Klefbom is not practicing. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said it is just a maintenance day.
Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers in scoring this season with 56 points (19-37-56). The second half of the season has been kind to Eberle, who has 13-23-36 in his last 35 games. He is currently on a six-game point streak. He Has 4-8-12 in that span.
Eberle’s linemate, Benoit Pouliot, is on a four-game point streak of his own (3-2-5). He talked about Eberle’s production after practice today at Rexall.
“He’s just been bearing on the chances he’s getting,” Pouliot said. “He’s been making the passes he’s needed to make and it shows that he’s doing the job and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do and it’s fun to watch, fun to play with. I get the chance to play with him everyday and it’s great. I can’t complain about anything about his game. He’s probably one of, if not the, best players on our team. He’s just doing the simple things, doing his game. He’s a pretty shifty guy out there and when he gets the chance to be loose he’ll find you or shoot the puck.”
Wherever he plays, Hall adds a lot to the Oilers lineup.
“He’s definitely a big part of our team,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “He’s a driving force out there for sure. He makes defencemen think twice about a lot of things. When he’s driving the puck wide he’s creating a lot of space for everybody else on the ice. If we get him back it’s going to be great for us and we look forward to getting him back into the lineup as soon as possible.”
Hall has missed 23 of the last 24 games with an ankle injury, and yet he still holds the third spot in Oilers scoring with 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points.
“It’s huge for us. You bring a guy like Taylor Hall in the lineup and it’s always a positive,” Benoit Pouliot said of Hall closing in on a return. “He was pretty fast out there today. You could see him and he didn’t really seem to be hurting too much so he’s been out quite a while now. It’s obviously tough to come back, in the first few games, to get back into it. He looks pretty good so hopefully he gets back in there and helps us out.”
The Oilers will meet tomorrow morning to decide if Hall is ready to return to game action, as the Oilers host the Flyers.
Taylor Hall skated today in light blue colours today at practice, as opposed to his recent yellow non-contact jersey. Logic dictates that he is getting closer to his return to game action, coming off his ankle injury.
“In the case of Taylor, we’re going to see how he is tomorrow morning and we’ll make a decision collectively as a staff and with Taylor to see what we’re going to do moving forward,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said.
“He has been out for a while,” Nelson said. “It’s one thing to skate in practice and it’s another thing to play a game where you are working the corners and that. Right now, we haven’t made a concrete decision of where he will play. He was playing with Anton today. That’s something we’ll discuss as a group. First and foremost, we have to make sure he’s 100% healthy.”
Hall has missed 23 of the last 24 games and says whenever he comes back, it may take a few shifts to get up to speed.
“It’s really tough to get 100% without playing games,” Hall said. “You can bag yourself as much as you want in practice. It just seems like you get in the game and you just can’t relax as easy and you don’t have those breaks like you do in practice. No matter if I practice for two weeks more, I think if I came back in a game I’d still be tired the first couple shifts.”