The Oilers forward lines at practice this morning are as follows:
23-27-6, 4-93-14, 67-55-10, 57-26-16 to start practice— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) October 5, 2014
The Oilers have reduced their training camp roster by eight this morning.
Oilers 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse played his second solid game in a row and was a physical presence on the ice. In fact, Head Coach Dallas Eakins says it was his most physical game yet.
“He has to play physical, that’s why we drafted him,” Eakins said. “He competes that hard, he’s physical and he can make plays. That was probably the most physical game I’ve seen him play and I think he felt like he had a little swagger too, because he was jumping. Which is good for a guy of that age to be able to keep it rolling two nights in a row.”
Nurse said tonight was all about showing what he can do.
“It was a combination of everything,” Nurse said. “It’s getting to that point where the final cuts are getting made so I’m just trying to go out there and show everything I can do. It’s something I can definitely do on a nightly basis, it’s just tonight it showed the most.”
Oilers veteran defenceman and off-season acquisition Nikita Nikitin went down with an ankle injury in Thursday night’s game against the Canucks. He’s not expected to miss significant time.
“Twisted his ankle,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said after the game. “We don’t expect it to be one of those longterm ones that guys get. They threw a boot on him as a precaution but we’re hopeful right now that it’s just going to be a week, two weeks tops.”
Oilers winger Tyler Pitlick knocked Canucks Bo Horvat out of the game in the opening two minutes with a huge open-ice check. The intensity of the game took off from there.
The 22-year-old said the he and the team feeds off the physicality of each other.
“I think it’s contagious when anyone is being physical,” Pitlick said. “One guy lays a hit and everyone is like, ‘alright, let’s do that too.’
“Things get rolling and it’s contagious for sure.”
Pitlick was asked if he senses more pressure to perform and be physical now that pre-season is coming to a close.
“Every night is do or die. But it’s like that in the beginning of camp too. If you go out there and lay an egg, you might be sent home right away. There’s definitely more pressure as the pre-season winds down.”
Jesse Joensuu had an assist on the Oilers only goal and, according to his head coach, played a good game. But that didn’t stop the big Finnish forward from being hard on himself for taking three penalties.
“I took two bad penalties,” Joensuu said. “I should have kept my stick down on the last one. I knew that it was going to come rushing into me so I thought that I’d be ready, but I can’t take that penalty.”
Joensuu taking it hard had Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins singing his praises.
“I love when the player is hard on himself and I thought he played pretty good,” Eakins said. “I’m willing to overlook those penalties and I thought he played another big man’s game. He’s got real confidence with the puck right now and that’s something he didn’t have a whole lot of last year. He’s making plays and using his body well. We’ll overlook those penalties tonight. We know they won’t come up in the regular season, he’s just trying to play so aggressive right now. But that’s music to my ears that he’s being hard on himself, but he was good for me.”
David Perron was injured after being on the receiving end of a hit in last night’s win over Arizona. Perron struggled to exit the ice, then returned to the game later in the second. However, he would not return for the third period due to a rib injury.
This morning, Perron was absent at practice, presumably still nursing that injury. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided an update, saying Perron tried to give it a whirl on the ice but the coaches pulled him off.
“He’s just got some sore ribs,” Eakins said. “He came out, we were going to keep him off the ice but he wanted to get in there. Then he got out there and I could see that he was in pain shooting the puck. I’m fairly certain David has made our team, so we just had him go off the ice and get a good workout in.”
“Last game, I started to see it,” Eakins said. “I felt for him because he had worked extremely hard in practice. He jumped in, our pace of practice is way up, with it being much shorter. Our guys were going and he was doing his damnedest to help drive the pace. He was working extremely hard, and usually when your players are doing that it starts to creep into their game. That’s what happens. He wasn’t getting rewarded in the games but I thought he had the pace and he can certainly make a play. This guy has got really soft hands, he can find people, I think he’s going to be a danger on one of our power play units and he’s going to be a great compliment to guys who can shoot the puck. We’ve got a lot of time for Teddy and I think he’ll fit into our group quite nicely moving forward.”
The early group of Oilers on the ice on Thursday morning was as follows:
Those players are not expected to suit up tonight against the Canucks.