The Edmonton Oilers appointed Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach on July 16. Thompson had previously spent the past four seasons with the Oklahoma City Barons in the same position.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said prior to the search for a new assistant that he was looking for a younger coach who would be willing to spend games serving in the eye in the sky role instead of on the bench. It was clear to Eakins when he interviewed Thompson that he was the candidate who best understood and fit those responsibilities.
“I’ll be really honest, I talked to a lot of people about that job,” Eakins said. “The one thing that comes up right away is that person has to be confident enough in their skin to know that they have an equal voice in that dressing room, they’re respected equally by the staff and players but during those games they are going to be upstairs. Some guys have a problem with that and they can’t get their head wrapped around it. Rocky is a really confident guy and he’s hungry. He wants to learn and he’s got a lot of stuff he can provide us. He was totally comfortable with that aspect of it.”
Eakins says that of all of the candidates he spoke with, Thompson clearly made an impression.
“The reality of it is when I sat down with him for the interview he blew my socks off. I knew Rocky a little bit but I didn’t know a ton about his coaching. I had talked to some people inside of our organization that I greatly respect their opinions and guys that are excellent coaches and they spoke so highly of Rocky. I thought he would be good in the interview but he was excellent.”
Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins chose Rocky Thompson to join his staff as an Assistant Coach. Eakins had a lot of praise for his new assistant, saying that Thompson is the right person for the job.
“I think he’s going to fit in great,” Eakins said. “He’s that bridge between the players’ ages and myself and the rest of our staff. He’s got a hunger to teach, he’s got a passion for the game and he’s got a passion to continue on his career as a coach. I think for him personally, this is a perfect stepping stone. The great thing about Rocky is that he didn’t want to talk about him he just wanted to talk about the team and that’s what Rocky has always been. He’s a guy of high character and the only thing that matters to him is the team. That’s what’s got to be from all of our staff, all of our players, anybody who works for the Edmonton Oilers and any decision that they make, this is about our team first and there can’t be anything else underlying their decisions.”
Thompson will serve as the eye in the sky on game nights, radioing down to the bench information and adjustments. But he will also have a hand in teaching the players in practice and has experience in pre-scouting opponents and developing plans and adjustments for systems.
“He’s going to provide that information during games but that won’t be his most important role. His most important role is going to be on a day-to-day basis with prepping and preparing our players to go out there and play. Hopefully the information coming down is not a lot because we have the game under control all of the time.”
Canada is playing its final game at World Juniors Summer Development Camp and the play of Oilers prospect Greg Chase has been quite good, with a pair of assists in two games so far.
Chase, an Oilers seventh-round pick in 2013, has warranted himself a look in a more offensive role after playing on the fourth line in the first two games. He is on a line with Nick Petan and Max Domi and in the starting lineup.
The game started at 10:00 a.m. MDT.
The talented Lazar (Edmonton Oil Kings) put Canada on the board first at 6:29 of the first period. Nurse recorded the assist on the shorthanded breakaway.
Nurse also recorded a head contact minor and a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the game.
Fellow Oilers prospect Greg Chase finished the game with two penalty minutes.
Russia tied the game at 1:16 of the second period courtesy of a Nikita Cherepanov power play goal but goals by Buffalo Sabres prospects Nick Baptiste and Sam Reinhart, along with a goal from Calgary’s Sam Bennett gave Canada a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Lazar scored his second of the game at 4:49 of the final frame to make it 5-2. Russia pulled within two at the 16:16 mark of the third period.
Lazar finished off his hat trick at 19:32 of the third period with his second shorthanded goal of the game.
Darnell Nurse and Greg Chase both return to the lineup for Team Canada tonight as they take on Russia in the third of their four games at summer development camp.
Nurse will be paired with Haydn Fleury while Chase plays once again with Frederik Gauthier at centre. Jayce Hawryluk will be on the right side of that line.
The lines for Team Canada in Game 2 vs. Russia in Sherbrooke tonight. No lines for Russia. pic.twitter.com/zeJka6zfUY— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) August 7, 2014
Both of the Oilers prospects participating at Canada's World Junior Summer Camp will not be in the lineup tonight as Canada takes on Russia (5:00 p.m. MDT).
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Canada plays again Thursday and Friday. It's expected Nurse and Chase will play in at least one and potentially both of those contests.
Canada's lineup versus Russia tonight in Sherbrooke pic.twitter.com/0l8l3P8Rkl— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) August 6, 2014
In Canada's first exhibition game at Summer Development Camp, Greg Chase impressed with a pair of assists in Canada's 6-2 win over the Czech Republic. Chase also had two penalty minutes. The other Oilers prospect at the camp, defenceman Darnell Nurse, had two PIM as well.
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Oil Kings centre Curtis Lazar scored for Canada along with Nick Paul, Fredrik Gauthier, Sam Reinhart, Anthony Duclair and Haydn Fleury. Chase assisted on Canada's fourth and fifth goals, by Paul and Fleury respectively.
Canada plays three more games this week: Wednesday versus Russia, Thursday versus Russia and Friday against the Czech Republic.
Darnell Nurse and Greg Chase are playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Summer Development Camp in Montreal. All four of Canada's games can be seen live on HockeyCanada.ca.
Nurse and Chase are both in the lineup for tonight's contest, which began at 5:00 p.m. MDT.
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Canada's World Junior camp kicks off today with an exhibition game against the Czech Republic.
Two Oilers prospects are vying for a spot on Canada's roster: Darnell Nurse and Greg Chase. Canada is scheduled to play four games this week and Nurse and Chase are both in the lineup for tonight's opener.
Nurse is on the second pairing with Roland McKeown, L.A.'s 50th-overall pick from this past draft. Chase is on the fourth line with Nick Paul and Frederik Gauthier.
Canada plays again Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week with games against Russia, Russia and Czech Republic respectively.
Team Canada's lineup for tonight's game vs. Czech Republic. pic.twitter.com/0vJGlUYak9— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) August 5, 2014
Edmonton Oil Kings forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar will wear the number 26 now internationally in honour of former teammate (with the Oil Kings) and Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss, who passed away last year.