Justin Schultz is close to returning from his back injury, but it won’t be tomorrow in North Carolina.
The Oilers defenceman practiced fully with the team on Tuesday at PNC Arena but confirmed he wouldn’t be ready for game action right away. However, he is shooting for later in this road trip. The Oilers have stops in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto this week.
“Doing contact. Today was the first time I really did any of that and felt pretty good,” said Schultz. “As long as I feel good tomorrow and keep improving, I’ll be ready to go soon.”
The Oilers are encouraged by the progress Schultz has made as he recovers from a bulging disc in his back.
“Today was a bit more of a practice than a pre-game skate and that’s a good sign for him to be involved in that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I haven’t got a post-practice report on him but the fraction I saw, he looked OK. Is he ready to play tomorrow? No, but we’re still hoping on this trip we can activate him and get him involved. Part of it is going to be the confidence that he has in his own body to play and play hard and to execute the way he would any other game.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.
No Hendricks today at practice in Raleigh.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 24, 2015
Klefbom not on the ice, either.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 24, 2015
- BLOG: Oilers channel Eskimos
- BLOG: Saturday practice update
- BLOG: Miller assigned to Bakersfield
- FIVE THINGS: Devils Downed
- THE PANEL | Presented by Sport Chek
- PRACTICE | Saturday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE | Justin Schultz
- PRACTICE | Darnell Nurse
- PRACTICE | Teddy Purcell
- PRACTICE | Todd McLellan
|The Oilers show the Edmonton Eskimos some love by donning the green and gold jersey. Photo by Ryan Hrycun.|
Showing their support, the Oilers donned new colours at practice today, replacing the familiar blue, orange and white jerseys for the Edmonton Eskimos green and gold.
“They’re a huge part of the community here in Edmonton,” said Taylor Hall.
“You feel, when they’re playing, the whole city is kind of focused on them. I lived in Calgary for a long time, went to a lot of Stampeders games but I’ll certainly be cheering for the Eskimos. I fell obliged as an Edmontonian now.”
As the Battle of Alberta changes playing fields, the Edmonton Eskimos gear up to take on the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Final.
“Any time you’re within the same community I think it’s nice to show the other team support, especially when they’re going into a game in the magnitude that it is,” said Mark Letestu.
“The West Final hasn’t been here in a while so it’s a big game and we’re definitely behind them.”
With a 14-4-0 record, the Eskimos snagged first place in the Western Division and are looking to move on to the Grey Cup Final in Winnipeg.
“I always try to watch the Grey Cup, I think it’s something that’s kind of uniquely Canadian,” said Letestu.
“To be able to celebrate who we are and where we’re from, regardless of the teams that are in it. The fact that the Eskimos are in it adds little more of a vested interest for the city and for myself.”
Justin Schultz is rotating in.
The team will wear Edmonton Eskimos jerseys after practice for a team photo to support them in their quest for the Grey Cup.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have assigned forward Andrew Miller to the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.
Miller, 27, has posted six points (2G, 4A) and six penalty minutes in eight games with the Condors.
The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, native has appeared in six games with the Oilers this season.
“We didn’t play to our capabilities and the result was what it was,” said Devils Coach John Hynes.
A simple observation, Hynes said it appeared the team just couldn’t find the rhythm they were working hard to achieve.
“I don’t necessarily know if it was flow, we just didn’t really play well enough in any facet of the game to really be able to find a way to win, whether that was penalty discipline or five on five,” he said.
Losing 5-1 to the Oilers tonight and 3-2 to the Calgary Flames on Thursday, the Devils haven’t lost back-to-back games since the beginning of the season.
“I think you have to give some credit to Edmonton, I think they played real well, they got off to a good start and I thought they played solid even when they had the lead they did a good job,” said Hynes.
“On the flip side we didn’t have one of our better games or efforts I should say, but a lot of that is attributed to Edmonton also.”
The New Jersey Devils have arrived and according to Devils forward Mike Cammalleri, they’re ready to bring a fast-pace game to Rexall Place.
“We like to play a game that is a hard working game and up tempo game, a game where we’re pushing the puck and hanging onto it and doing a lot of good things,” he said.
“It’s a style that hopefully is hard for other teams to play against and one that we can enjoy playing.”
With the Devils ready to hit the ice, Cammalleri said he the team will have to be ready from the get-go to face the Oilers tenacity.
“They’re a team that has a lot of speed and a lot of skill and we’re going to have to be really sound in our structure to play a game that we want to play against them,” he said.
- PRACTICE | Rookie Blue
- PRACTICE RAW | Darnell Nurse
- PRACTICE RAW | Brandon Davidson
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
The ultimate reward in hockey, or sports for that matter, is a win.
Moral victories only get a team so far, but as the Oilers continue to progress under Todd McLellan in his first season as head coach, it’s all part of the process.
“We, me, I, the players and the coaching staff come to the rink every night wanting to win and that’s the ultimate reward,” said McLellan. “Even some nights when you don’t play a real good game and you win you can take something away from it and you bank some points. That’s the ultimate goal. We haven’t been obtaining that very much lately.”
The Oilers once again came from behind to tie a game late last night, but they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Even in a loss, it’s one the players and coaches to see the progress and continue to push.
“We also have to look at some of the things implement systematically and individually as players,” said McLellan. “They have to be rewarded with some of the things they do well on nights we don’t win. It’s called progress. It doesn’t show up in the wins and losses but we are moving forward. We had a good video session today where we picked out a couple things I thought we did a really good job at and we needed to do that against Chicago or they would have created a lot more and spent a lot more time in our zone. They need to be rewarded and recognized for doing things well in those areas. Still many areas we have to improve on to eventually get the wins, but baby steps right now.”
The players see the positives and that’s why the mood in the room remains upbeat.
“I think we’re improving,” said Taylor Hall. “It seems every week we get better and better, but there’s a fine line between winning and losing and we’re experiencing that right now.”
But the Oilers can’t get comfortable with close.
“There’s a bit of a turning point,” said Hall. “We’re at that line right now where it’s ‘are we going to go back or forward?’ and I think we all know what we want to do. The signs are there. We can’t get discouraged. We have to keep doing the things we think we’re doing well. Eventually the wins are going to come if we play well. That’s just the way it works.”
Mentally, Hall says the Oilers, who sit at 6-12-1, are still in a good place mentally despite their record.
“I don’t think we’re too bad,” he said. “I haven’t really looked at the standings and I’m not too concerned with it to be honest. In the past, it would discourage me a lot looking at our record. But this year, not so much. I think that’s a good thing for our group. Saying that, we have to get some wins.”
The Oilers will continue to look for the ultimate reward when they host New Jersey tomorrow night.