INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Friday, 02.27.2015 / 2:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Nail Yakupov took to the ice at Clareview Recreation Centre today and once again participated in all of the drills. It looks as though the Oilers winger will be ready to return to game action tomorrow night against St. Louis, after nursing a groin injury.

Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson all but confirmed it.

“It looks like it,” Nelson said. “He skated good today, worked hard and it looks like he’s back to normal.”

As for who Yakupov would replace in the lineup, Nelson says he hasn’t discussed that with General Manager Craig MacTavish yet.

“Craig and I haven’t had discussions with that. We’ll discuss it later on today,” Nelson said.

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POSTED ON Friday, 02.27.2015 / 2:28 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Martin Marincin was a topic of discussion following yesterday’s practice as he has started to move forward in his development after a slow start to the season, which included assignment to Oklahoma City out of training camp.

The book on Marincin is that he can make solid defensive plays and be a reliable blueliner, but needs to work on his battle in the corners and in front of the net. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said yesterday that he showed signs of that in the Oilers last game against Minnesota, even helping his team close out the waning seconds of that one-goal victory.

Marincin has seen growth in this area as well, saying his battle is getting better.

“Yes, it’s great,” Marincin said. “I feel stronger, like I said before the season so for me it is about going to the net and being stronger in front of the net and play simple.”

For players like Marincin, who need to make adjustments to their game along their development path, Nelson thinks communication is key. After spending time in OKC working with young prospects, that’s the process Nelson says he uses to help young players like Marincin adjust to the pros and become better players.

“Besides the work on the ice that we try to get better at, I think we have to have communication and it has to be a two-way street,” Nelson said. “They have to let me know what they need help with. I can identify some things but there are other things they may want to work on so it’s just constant communication with the player and just trying to help them in certain areas. It’s not only the on-ice play, but maybe it’s the off-ice stuff as well, like getting adjusted to North America if you’re a European player. Things like that. I think it’s constant communication.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 2:12 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have taken the ice at Rexall Place for practice.

They haven't run lines, but Nail Yakupov (groin), Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen) and Nikita Nikitin (shoulder) are all practicing.

Pitlick and Nikitin are both wearing non-contact yellow.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 12:52 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Nail Yakupov sat out the game in Minnesota with a groin injury, but was back on the ice today at Rexall Place. The Oilers winger competed in all the drills and participated in the extra conditioning at the end of practice.

“I felt pretty good,” Yakupov said. “I pushed as hard as I can. I went out a little earlier to see how my leg was going. I think everything was fine and then I got lucky with that skate at the end. Should be feeling pretty good. We’ll see tomorrow, but I hope I’ll be back in the lineup soon.”

Yakupov says he didn’t enjoy watching his team compete without him in Minnesota and hopes he’s ready soon.

“That wasn’t a great feeling at all,” Yakupov said. “I don’t like to watch the game from upstairs, but I still was kind of nervous. I wanted my team to get two points and they did, so it was a good feeling.”

He may be back sooner than later, possibly even on Saturday against St. Louis.

“It looks pretty good, based on what I saw today. He practiced well and we’ll see how it reacts tomorrow,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 12:52 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers had a 23-year-old defenceman on the ice in the waning seconds of their 2-1 win over Minnesota on Tuesday night. Martin Marincin helped the Oilers run out the clock and preserve the one-goal victory.

Having Marincin on the ice in a crucial moment signifies trust in his game and development in the player. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson says the biggest thing Marincin has improved on lately is his assertiveness when it comes to puck battles in the hard areas. He showed that against Minnesota.

“I think, his battle. That’s one thing we’ve always tried to work on with him,” Nelson said. “Last game in the last minute or 40 seconds or whatever he really competed hard and we saw that trend throughout the game. He has a good, long stick and that’s fine, but when it comes to a battle in front of the net and in corners we liked what we saw and that’s why he was out there.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 9:02 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Bakersfield Condors announced this evening that their name will remain the Condors when they move into the American Hockey League next season.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 2:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers longtime locker room assistant Joey Moss will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in the achievement category. The ceremony will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, AB on Friday, May 29.

Moss, born with Down syndrome, first joined the Oilers in 1984 when he was brought into the organization by Wayne Gretzky.

For years, Moss has served as an inspiration to the citizens of Edmonton and is somewhat of a celebrity. His likeness appears on a mural on 99th street in Edmonton. He has won numerous awards for personal achievement, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee and the NHL Alumni Association’s Seventh Man Award.

RELATED:
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.25.2015 / 8:54 AM MT

Oilers amateur scout Bob Brown was announced on Wednesday as an inductee to the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame. From the official press release:


Former Kamloops Blazers general manager Bob Brown heads up the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2015 in the hall’s 25th anniversary year. Brown oversaw the hockey operations of the most celebrated modern era franchise in major junior hockey history.

Brown had the task of pulling it all together, working with a community based board of directors, and a strong network of hockey minds from scouts, to coaches, and players and, away from the ice -- billets, fans, community leaders and sponsors. The result of his leadership and, commitment to excellence produced a dynasty decade of hockey, unparalleled in the city, and, the country by a major junior teams. 1985-1995 is the stuff legends are made of and, Brown is a legend going into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame.

The Blazers will long be known for equalling the record of three Memorial Cup titles in four years (92, 94, 95) but during Brown’s 10 years, the Blazers won 10 WHL western conference titles appearing in 10 WHL finals winning five league titles, appearing in five Memorial Cup tournaments and winning the three. The Blazers lost six of their first seven games in the first three tournament appearances in ‘86, ‘90 and, ‘92 but after losing its opener in 92, the club reeled off 12 straight wins in the three championship seasons to hold the current M-C record winning streak. Its 13 & 6 tournament record along with its 108 &54 playoff run and, the 484-202-33 regular season record during the dynasty decade resulted in 605 wins, an average of slightly more than 60 per season.

The numbers are staggering but just as staggering is the number of players and, coaches who forged pro careers. Most people will remember the names of Hitchcock, Renney and, Hay who were coaches mentored by Brown and, countless great players including current and, future hockey hall of famers, but there have been an untold number who have gone on to become great citizens in their communities, in leadership capacities.

Brown’s legacy to Kamloops is immeasurable.

His induction will take place April 11th at the 25th Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, 6pm in the Grand Hall Ballroom at the TRU Student’s Activity Centre. Sam Lenarduzzi of BC soccer fame will be the guest speaker. Tickets are $45 apiece and will be available at the I-S-C Box office.

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POSTED ON Monday, 02.23.2015 / 12:35 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
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POSTED ON Monday, 02.23.2015 / 12:04 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Nikita Nikitin and Tyler Pitlick both skated with the team Monday at Rexall Place for the first time since suffering their respective injuries. Both are getting closer to returning.

“They skated with us today. There was no contact but it was good to see them on the ice practicing with us. They’re still both a ways away but it’s one of those things where we’ll take it day-by-day with both guys and see how they feel and how they respond after skating with us,” Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson stated, adding with Pitlick's injury being a lacerated spleen they need to be more cautious.

“It’s a process with him. It’s good to see him on the ice skating and we’ll see if it’s mending properly then we’ll go from there,” Nelson continued. “He just needs to try and stay in the best shape possible. He had limited activity right after the injury. But he looked good out there today and it looks like he’s been doing stuff in the gym to maintain his physical fitness.”

Pitlick added that he has been feeling much better and was glad to finally get on the ice with his teammates.

“Everything’s been feeling good. I haven’t been in any pain in awhile so that part’s going good. I’ve been getting on the ice. Today’s my first practice with the team. I’ve got to wait for my next scan, wait for word that everything is healed up and then start taking my next contact.”

Pitlick is hopeful to join the team for their upcoming five-game road trip in early March.

“We’re trying to push it up to March 3. So hopefully I can get that scan, go on the road with the guys, do some practices and then by the time we get back from the road maybe get in a game,” Pitlick remarked, adding he's been experiencing some cabin fever wanting to get back out there.

“There’s not much you can do for a month. I pretty much sat on the couch and watched TV for a month straight and then started walking on the treadmill a little bit, just easing into it. It’s been boring. I haven’t had much to do. It’s not like a knee where you’re on the table, doing some exercises or getting work done. There’s not much you can do except rest.”

Pitlick said that at first, he didn't feel anything after a collision with Lance Bouma lacerated his spleen.

“I knew it was a big collision right away because I felt the impact,” he said. “It really didn’t hurt that bad initially. I just kind of felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I kept skating and had a few more shifts. I felt all right. I just felt like I had something in my stomach. I finished the game and afterwards I went in the training room and got ice for my shoulder. Wasn’t really thinking about my stomach but just kind of asked about it. They checked it out and there was some tenderness there so they wanted to make sure everything was all right before I got on the plane.

“It’s a good thing they did because as soon as we got in the cab and headed to the hospital, the pain escalated. It’s a good thing they caught it and I wasn’t on the plane when that happened.”

PETRY ALMOST READY

Jeff Petry skated again with the team and said he felt like he could be ready to go tomorrow when the Oilers meet the Minnesota Wild.

“I’m hoping to be in the lineup against Minny. It was just a shot to the ribs, nothing was broken. Just bruised. It’s pretty sore to rotate but every day’s gotten a lot better and I didn’t have any issues today.”

Coach Nelson did add that the team did not have any further updates on Anton Lander's shoulder injury.

YAKUPOV UPDATE

Nail Yakupov got hurt last game but played the entire contest. Today, he started practice but left early. Coach Nelson said that him leaving practice was precautionary and he will travel with the team to Minnesota.

“Last game he tweaked something. He got through the game but we just shut him down (today) for precautionary reasons. He’s making the trip and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG