Oilers goaltender Ilya Brzygalov had another performance versus a former team where he made a large number of saves and got his side into overtime but the Edmonton squad was unable to come away with two points.
"We were so close to the win again in this game. But it slipped away from us," said Brzygalov after practice in San Jose on Wednesday. He added that he feels, and has always felt, that he could improve with his play.
|Ilya Bryzgalov faces a shootout attempt last Saturday (photo by Marko Ditkun / EOHC)
"You always have room to grow and work. You never stop, you always have to ask the question how can I be better and what can I do to make myself better?
"You should always think you can do better."
After the tying goal went in with 1:10 left, Brzygalov showed some frustration on the ice. It was similar to the game against the Flyers where he threw his stick in the air after Philly tied it late.
"It was a home game against Philly where he tossed his stick and I asked him what his frustration was, and his frustration was that he had let in a goal that he thought he should have had. He wanted to beat his old team and he was frustrated with himself," Eakins began.
The bench boss was asked about the outward emotion and he had an interesting take on the situation.
"I don't mind showing emotion. I think it's great probably once or twice a year in an 82-game schedule where the goalie smashes his stick over the crossbar in great frustration. I'm fairly certain that Bryz was probably more frustrated with the situation. But you're right, you have to watch your body language on the ice. And it's not so much about your team, body language to me is 'what are you selling? What are you telling everyone?' as soon as your body language goes south, if it's a consistent thing, you're certainly selling something to the other team."
"We're going to get them back in the mix. I think we're going to give them another day of conditioning and that's the challenge when you've got so many extra forwards. I think they're both ready to play. We're going to stick with that group that you saw out there today."
Arcobello has been out for six games and Jones has been out for five. It remains a strong possibility that both could return to the lineup on Friday against Anaheim.
The lines, according to jersey colour, are:
Hall - RNH - Perron (dark blue)
Yakupov - Gagner - Eberle (light blue)
Smyth - Gordon - Hemsky (white)
Gazdic - Lander - Joensuu (black)
Arcobello - Jones (grey/extras)
Roman Horak is not skating as he was just assigned to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.
It's the old dress and drive for Edmonton. Dressed at HP Pavilion and then bus to practice rink.Happy New Year to all pic.twitter.com/AynUmt1I2T— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) January 1, 2014
Oilers just walked into SJ Sharks practice facility. Based on colours: 4-93-57, 64-89-14, 94-27-83, 20-51-6— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 1, 2014
The Oilers have assigned Roman Horak to the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL. Horak played in one game, last night in Phoenix. He was minus one with a shot in goal in 12:58 of icetime.
In between the first and second period, Dallas Eakins spoke with his team. The squad was lucky to come out of the period tied after having been outshot 21-6.
“After the first, I went in and had a one sided conversation with them, and the simple message was this, I don’t want you to work hard, this isn’t work, your parents go to work, the people that get up and drive in rush hour traffic and spend 10, 12 hours at their job, that’s work… This is play, and I want you to play hard, and there were some other messages in there as well but, I thought once we came back out for the second (period) we were much better.”
Taylor Hall also felt that the team turned it around but was unhappy with how the team finished the game.
“The first period wasn’t great at all but we managed to find our game and get a 3-1 lead and even though it was 3-2 for the last little while we played them pretty well. I thought it was just a breakdown on the last goal, I mean Bryz (Bryzgalov) played so well for us tonight and for us to kind of let him down like that, it isn’t great, so we need to rebound next game and make sure that when a goalie plays like that for us he ends up getting the win.”
Taylor Hall's line was outstanding on Tuesday, with Hall picking up three assists. The Oilers winger talked about how his line was able to control play in the offensive zone.
“Nuge (Nugent-Hopkins) is very underrated at playing in the D-zone. We don’t spend a whole lot of time there, it makes it easy for us when he’s playing like, I mean it’s all for nothing tonight, we would have liked to get a “dub” (win)… Like I said, Bryz (Bryzgalov) played so well. There were a lot of good things after that first 10-12 minutes that we did tonight and we didn’t reward ourselves for it.”
Nail Yakupov was skating with injured reserve players Mark Arcobello and Ryan Jones on Monday at practice in Leduc. It appeared that he would not play on Tuesday against Phoenix and after practice, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins confirmed that would be the case.
"Yak won’t play next game," Eakins began. "We had a very long in-depth conversation this morning probably a good 40 minutes, longest I’ve had with any player. Him and I have sorted out a few things, it was a good conversation and we have a definite plan moving forward. I have some things I want to do and he’s agreed to do some things from his end so we’ll see how that goes."
The Oilers head coach was also asked if he's been seeing better defensive work from the Russian winger.
"I see him trying. I will say this: he isn’t near turning over as many pucks as he did at the start of this season, he’s suddenly in the shot lane in our own zone, he is trying to do the right thing along the walls but young guys in this league still need lots of work there. I want to go over the other side of the game with him, I explained to him this morning that we need him to score. With the deal in place, if he holds up his end of the bargain then the way I will hold it up is to put him -- as we are doing with Roman Horak -- to put him in places to succeed."
Yakupov talked about the conversation he had with his coach.
"(We talked) about life, about hockey. We had a good chat. It was very good," said Yakupov. "We have a deal between me and him so we'll see what happens."
In recent games, Yakupov has played on the fourth line and has not been on the power play at all. Last game, he finally did see some power play time but still only played slightly over eight minutes.
"There’s a lot of things going on, I get it around town 'you better play Yakupov with better guys, get him on the power play' but people seem to forget we have other players. Especially on that right side. Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Ales Hemsky are all very good players. Those are the guys he is in against, that’s hard for a 20 year old. We are all quick to forget the competition he is up against. But we have a plan together and that’s the most important thing. We both feel good about what we are going to try to do."
Eakins added that he felt that at this point for Yakupov, it's all about creating good habits.
"You’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to do a number of things on the ice everyday it can never change. We can not give things to people, you have to earn them. Our veteran guys, if they have an off game, have already earned the right for a second chance through their experience and that’s the challenge of being a young guy. You’ve got to take your knocks early on in your career. The biggest thing he’s run into isn’t so much his play, it’s the play of others at his position."
Yakupov understood the situation he was in as a second-year player.
"I'm just 20 years old," he said. "You've got to be strong and just keep working, keep practicing, listen to coach and just get 'er going."
Forward Roman Horak, who was recalled from the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday, will make his debut as an Oiler on Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"We need to get Roman into a game to see what he can bring and I know he is excited about it. It’s also a challenge we don’t want him to play tight even though this will be a bit of an audition for him," Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins remarked.
|Roman Horak has a scoring chance against the AHL's Abbotsford Heat
"I saw him lots when I was coaching my former American League team, got to see him play in Abbotsford. He definitely has some skill, he has some speed, he is tenacious on the puck and we’ll see where he fits into our group. We tried to put him into a spot where he can have some success too. We put him in an honest position, this takes Jesse (Joensuu) off of that line, Jesse has played well this isn’t a thing against Jesse it’s more of let’s give this kid a good shot and set him up for some success."
Horak was excited to play his first game in Oilers silks.
"It's huge for me," he said. "Especially playing with Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. It's a big opportunity for me so I'm really excited. When you get a chance like that, you've just got to take it. Hopefully I can establish myself as a regular NHL player."
Horak also saw some power play time in practice on the second unit. Ironically, his only other NHL game this season was in Phoenix when he was a member of the Calgary Flames.
"Last game I played only four minutes so it was tough. Hopefully this game will be better."
Oilers centre Mark Arcobello has missed the last five games due to a rib injury suffered in a game against Los Angeles.
"He stepped up and laid a pretty good hit on me. I saw (Drew Doughty) coming and braced myself at the last second but I think I kind of ran into the linesman and boards on the bench a little bit. That's what happened, kind of a tough spot to be in."
It shouldn't be much longer before Arcobello is back on the ice in game action for the Oilers.
"It went pretty good," Arcobello said of the recovery process. "It was quick. The first few days I had trouble even breathing deep and moving around but right now I'm good. I feel good. No pain on the ice. I think it's ready to go, almost."
Coach Eakins stated that for both Arcobello and Jones, a return to the lineup is largely about conditioning since they've been out for several weeks at this point.