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INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:05 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Rookie camp invite Vladimir Tkachev may be small in stature but that didn’t stop the 5-foot-9, 141-pound Russian winger from making an impression on the Oilers at this weekend’s Young Stars Tournament.

Tkachev was creative offensively, finishing the tournament with three assists.

“He was a dominant player here,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “I’ve seen him play a few times and every time you see him play he is a dominant player. You want to continue to give him the opportunity and that definitely has caught everybody’s attention and interest at this point.”

Tkachev will get his opportunity to further showcase his skills to the Oilers at main camp, but his playtime in pre-season is yet to be determined.

“That will be up to Dallas to determine. He saw plenty here too so the next step is to see how he looks amongst NHL players and then we’ll make an assessment from there.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:04 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was clear on the ice this year at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. that the Oilers had upgraded the skill and talent level of their roster. This year’s squad finished with two wins and a shootout loss, as compared to last year’s winless tournament.

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke after the final game and says there were more things to like this year.

“I feel better than we did last year coming out of this tournament,” he said. “I’ll just reiterate some of the things we said last year. There are not a lot of conclusions you can draw based on this. I think we saw some of the things we wanted to see for sure. There were some surprises and some guys who elevated themselves through the course of the tournament. Now they’ll get a little bit more of a look coming into training camp and maybe some pre-season games because of it.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 14.09.2014 / 2:18 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

A storyline of the Edmonton Oilers Rookies thus far in Penticton has been the play of their two Russian players. Vladimir Tkachev and Bogdan Yakimov, in just two games, have gained some chemistry. They hooked up on a goal tonight when Tkachev sent a pass across the face of the Calgary goalie and Yakimov one-timed it from the circle.

It looked scripted, but it wasn’t.

“It was funny on Yakimov’s goal because we were saying, ‘get in front of the net.’ But I guess they knew what they were doing,” Oilers Rookies Head Coach Todd Nelson said.

The two are still learning English, so there was something lost in translation.

“I was telling them stuff on the bench and when he was skating to the face-off dot, the three guys turned around and said, ‘he has no idea what you just said.’

“When we scored, the guys snickered to themselves but it always seems to work out that way. They were good. Especially down the stretch there when we had some key draws, Yak was really strong in the face-off dot and Vlady once again was being creative and finding open ice. He’s a very fun player to watch.”

Yakimov’s goal was his second in two nights and he also added an assist tonight. Tkachev has three assists in two games.

Read our feature on Yakimov adjusting to life in North America.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 13.09.2014 / 6:18 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson got a small glimpse at what Greg Chase can bring to the table last year. After coaching the Oilers prospect in the 2013 Young Stars Tournament and after guiding him through five AHL games at the end of last season, Nelson knows the young man well.

Nelson sees much improvement in Chase, who posted career numbers last season in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen (35-50-85 in 70 games).

Nelson was asked today if Chase was ready to make the jump to the AHL this season, considering the progress he’s made in a year.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s a lot closer now than he was last year at this time,” Nelson said.

“Last year, I thought his conditioning was suspect. He put a tremendous summer in, he really leaned out, his testing was excellent and you can see he is quicker on the ice. I saw improvement when he came to OKC at the end of the year. Maybe it was just a matter of getting into better shape and playing minutes. But he sacrificed this summer, he worked really hard and you have to give him credit.”

The Oilers signed Chase to a three-year entry-level contract this morning.

“It’s something I grew up always wanting to do; play for the Edmonton Oilers,” Chase said. “Now that I’m one step closer by signing with the team. It’s extremely exciting for myself and my family.”

Chase was taken in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 13.09.2014 / 2:02 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers had a scare in the third period of their game against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, as the third-overall pick in this year’s draft left the game with an apparent leg injury. The Oilers got good news though because not only would Draisaitl return to the game, but the injury was just leg cramps.

“I don’t think anyone knew what really happened but his legs just cramped up,” Todd Nelson said after the game. “With the testing that they did yesterday, a few guys cramped up as well. The guys are going to have to get a lot of fluids inside of them and get ready for our game tomorrow.”

Draisaitl says he is fine now.

“I think one of my first shifts in the last period I started cramping,” he said. “It hurt pretty bad and I couldn’t really move my legs. I am fine now. It wasn’t too bad but once I hit the ice it hurt pretty bad and I couldn’t really move. So I decided to take a couple of shifts off.”

The Oilers play Calgary tomorrow night.

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POSTED ON Friday, 12.09.2014 / 4:33 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers rookies lace up the skates against the Vancouver Canucks group tonight in Penticton at the Young Stars Tournament. Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson is the bench boss for the Oilers tonight and he gave some insight as to what the lineup will look like.

On the ice at practice the lines were as follows:

Moroz-Draisaitl-Chase

Kessy-Khaira-Holmberg

Jones-Roy-Jones

Tkachev-Yakimov-Houck

Winquist-Ewanyk-Krushelnyski

Platzer

The defensive pairings were:

Gernat-Nurse

Simpson-Oesterle

Boland-Musil

Craig-Ludwig

Sitting out tonight will be Winquist, Ewanyk, Krushelnyski and Platzer. All four will rotate into the lineup tomorrow night. Ludwig, Betker and Craig are out defensively.

Laurent Brossoit gets the start in net tonight.

Another lineup note is expect Nurse and Gernat to see more time on the power play while the pairing of Boland and Musil will see more time on the penalty kill.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.09.2014 / 1:44 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers rookies reported to Rexall Place for fitness testing as Rookie Camp got underway in Edmonton prior to the team's departure for Penticton and the Young Stars Tournament. Edmontonoilers.com and Oilers TV were there to provide the coverage:

VIDEO: AUDIO: FEATURES: BLOGS:
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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.09.2014 / 1:31 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Mitch Moroz was a second-round pick by the Oilers in 2012. He is coming off a Memorial Cup Championship season with the Edmonton Oil Kings, in which he scored 63 points (35-28-63) in 70 games.

Moroz was a little banged up in the playoffs and at the Memorial Cup but fought through to help lead the Oil Kings to victory. Now fully healed from his shoulder and knee injuries, Moroz is ready to hit the ground running in Penticton, a tournament he missed last season while recovering from a different knee injury.

‘Compete’ is the key word for what Moroz is looking to accomplish in Penticton.

“They’ve put a lot of emphasis on coming in and kickstarting the season in Penticton and get the ball rolling in that sense,” Moroz said. “They want to filter that right into main camp so everybody has been asked to compete, to push and win. That’s the message, to win games now and that’s from the top to the bottom.”

Moroz’s offensive game excels when he is physically involved in the game. Coming off of a short summer in which he only had 6-7 weeks of full off-season training, Moroz says he would have been nervous about jumping back into game action a few weeks ago but he’s as ready as he’s going to be and confident there won’t be any hesitation.

“It might have been three or four weeks ago if you had asked me that but I’ve come such a long way that I’m not thinking about those things on the ice anymore. It will be nice just to go in and play and be able to play my game right away. Hopefully I will be able to bang some bodies and create some stuff out there.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.09.2014 / 12:49 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The third-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft is ready to make a good first impression when he puts on the Oilers crest for the first time in game action. The Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. is Leon Draisaitl’s opportunity before training camp to put the Oilers management on notice that he's ready to compete.

“Definitely, I want to make a good first impression and I think everyone does,” he said. “I can talk for everyone here. It’s special to put that jersey on, play some actual games and get in game shape.”

Draisaitl, along with the rest of the Oilers prospects, will use Penticton as an opportunity to make a good first impression and return to game shape heading into training camp.

“I talked to the guys who were there last year and they all said it was a great tournament,” Draisaitl said. “They’re all top prospects and high draft picks and they are all really good players and potentially will play one day in the NHL. It’s a really good tournament to get used to playing again and get ready for training camp.”

For Draisaitl, it’s just exciting to get back to playing after the summer away from game action.

“Now it gets going and I think everyone is really excited, and so am I. It has been a pretty quick summer and also a pretty long summer. Everybody wants to get going and play games. I think we are all really excited to get going.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.09.2014 / 12:47 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Leon Draisaitl heads into rookie camp and the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton bigger than he was at the draft. Draisaitl stayed in Edmonton all summer working on getting bigger and stronger with the Oilers training staff.

“I worked on my weaknesses over the summer with the trainers and they helped me a lot throughout the summer. It’s been a really good summer,” Draisaitl said.

When asked what his weaknesses are, Draisaitl said, “I think it’s just strength. I’m 18-years-old, I’m not a grown man and there are some things I had to work on with my foot speed and strength. That’s what I did.”

The third-overall pick in this year’s draft says he is up to 215 pounds.

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INSIDE THE OILERS