Coach Eakins talked about who impressed him on the second on-ice day at training camp.
"We liked Nuge today," he said. "I thought Nuge had a really good day out there. (He was) competing. For me, the best player on the ice."
Eakins also thought that a handful of the off-season acquisitions did well today.
"Nikitin and Fayne were a good pair. We'll keep an eye and see how that goes."
"The one thing we spoke to Anton about last year at the end of the season (is offence). He's shown that he can put up points and make plays at the American Hockey League level. Today, he was making those plays. He stepped out of his comfort zone here. That's hard to do as a player and I thought that was real encouraging."
Lander helped set up a goal by Andrew Ference late in the scrimmage by making a nice play deep in the attacking zone.
"Injury-wise, Petry came in no worse so that's always a good sign with those shoulders. Usually if it's something bad, the next day is not so good," Eakins began. "That's encouraging on him.
"Other notes, Hendricks is fine. I just saw him and he took a shot a little too close to that spot where men like to protect with their lives. So he's alright."
"It was surprising in a way. Ben is a really fast player. I didn't think he had that great of a shot but it's pretty amazing. From the top circle he's a threat to score," Perron began. "Leon put me in a few situations where I was surprised how much time I had. It was good to see his playmaking skills."
"I think his pace is going to improve as we go along, too. He'll get to know what the speed is and he's a player that seems to be adjusting to whatever level he needs to."
Perron talked about expectations for the German pivot.
"He's a player, no matter what's required of him he's going to learn. The best favour you guys could do for him is not put too much pressure on him. (He's not going to) come in and be a saviour. He'll be a regular player and play with hard work and passion every night. The points are going to come."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring nearly 17 minutes in, banging the puck in past Ben Scrivens on a scramble in front of the goalmouth. Seven minutes later, Kellen Jones took advantage of a loose puck travelling across the crease and neatly backhanded it inside the right post.
In the second half, Blue increased its lead to 3-0 after Alex Krushelnyski wired a shot top corner from the high slot.
White made it interesting with late goals by Curtis Hamilton and Andrew Ference but it wasn't enough.
Fasth (blue) vs Scrivens (white)
Blue shots - 10
White shots - 6
BLUE - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16:55
BLUE - Kellen Jones 23:25
11:15 - tripping - Tkachev (white)
14:55 - interference - purcell (white)
Rimmer/Bouchard(blue) vs Brossoit (white)
Blue shots - 9
White shots - 9
BLUE - Krushelnyski (Holmberg) 16:00 - wired puck top corner from the slot
WHITE - Hamilton 24:40
WHTE - Ference (Lander, Pakarinen) 26:42
11:45 - hooking - Gernat (blue)
Lines, defence pairings and goaltenders:
Pouliot - Draisaitl - Perron
Roy - Acton - Pitlick
Kessy - Yakimov - Chase
Moroz - Khaira - Baltisberger
Gazdic - R.Hamilton - Ford
Marincin - Schultz
Nurse - Boland
Craig - Betker
Connor Boland is skating on defence in place of the injured Jeff Petry.
The second and third groups will hit the ice for a scrimmage at 11:10 a.m.
The third-overall pick in the draft has been looking forward to his first training camp on-ice session for months. Leon Draisaitl centred a line with David Perron and Benoit Pouliot during the scrimmage today.
“It felt really good actually,” Draisaitl said. I felt really good out there. Obviously, my two linemates helped me a lot out there. They’re established NHL players, they’re both really skilled guys and I think we had a little bit of chemistry already and I felt pretty good out there.”
The talented 18-year-old has already drawn compliments from one of those linemates.
“He’s looking good, he’s slick,” Pouliot said. “He’s a big centreman and in this league you need big centres. I think he can do the job. The way he played today, he’s only 18. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the guy, just let him play. Today was exactly that, he put a lot of pressure on their D and he played very well. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable and he’ll be perfect, he’ll be fine.”
Pouliot and Perron both scored goals in the scrimmage.
Draisaitl’s playmaking ability was something his head coach noticed during the brief time on ice today.
“He can distribute the puck,” Dallas Eakins said. “He can make a play on his forehand and his backhand. He showed some spurts that he does have some speed. I think the one thing that you find all the time, especially with guys coming out of junior and they’ve been key guys on their team, their pace usually isn’t where you want it. The pace is there but they aren’t playing at the highest pace because they played so many minutes and they have to find places to rest on the ice. There’s room for improvement there but he shows he can do it. He can certainly move the puck, distribute it and he certainly didn’t look out of place out there.”
Eakins was also pleased with the little bit of chemistry that line was already displaying.
“They all came as advertised. David Perron loves hockey. He’s one of those guys that I’m sure is out in the street playing with kids. Leon can obviously make plays and Pouliot showed us a lot of why we wanted to sign him, and we’re so fortunate to have him. He was constantly on the puck. That’s a great lesson, those three right there. Watching them from up top you can hear them talking and communicating the whole time. When you’re doing that on the ice it helps focus the other player and he knows where you’re at and it shows your teammates that you’re ready to play. Those three were all yapping out there to each other and it was good that Leon brushed up on his French.”
In today’s scrimmage between Team Messier and Team Kurri, Jeff Petry left the ice after a hit. He did not return for the second half of the skate.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says it doesn’t look serious.
“He left the ice. He tweaked his shoulder, we don’t think it’s anything huge. He’ll be day-to-day,” Eakins said.
The Oilers took part in fitness testing yesterday and the results were encouraging for second-year Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
“The results from yesterday, just to follow up, I did get to see our fitness results and huge compliments to our players,” he said. “Their commitment and work ethic was certainly there this summer. We’ve had some massive gains by a lot of our players so we’re very encouraged by that. Not only are they fitter but it shows a great commitment level when 99% of your group comes in like that. We’re extremely happy and we’re very proud of our strength and conditioning staff. They’ve done one hell of a job there.”
There are several players to report to camp who bulked up over the summer. For example, Martin Marincin gained 15 pounds, Mark Arcobello is up to 172 from 166, Nail Yakupov gained nine pounds and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins says he’s up to 192 from 180.
The Oilers signed defenceman Mark Fayne in free agency and it doesn’t take long to understand what his game is all about. As he was with the New Jersey Devils, Fayne is all about being solid defensively and only jumping in the play offensively when his own end is taken care of first.
“Simple. I guess that is the best word,” Fayne laughed. “I try to keep the puck out of our own end as much as I can. When it is, just shut it down and get it up to the forwards. I help out whenever I can offensively but my main focus is to cover up the D end and join the rush.”
Fayne is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. He uses that frame to engage physically when the moment calls for it.
“As much as I can without taking too many risks. You want to pick your spots when you know you can have a good physical presence. You’ve got to make them not want to go to the corners, stand in front of the net and that definitely takes a physical aspect.”