It was a scary moment at Oilers practice on Monday as Viktor Fasth collided with Anton Lander during a rush. Fasth remained still on the ice for quite some time while being attended to by the team’s training staff.
The response by the staff was quick and after several minutes of attention, Fasth was up and being helped off the ice. Despite appearing woozy on his skate off the ice, it is not believed to be a concussion per Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
“I didn’t see it,” Eakins said. “He got driven into the net off a rush and banged his head. He wasn’t concussed or anything but I guess sprained his neck. He’s going to go see the docs and if we have to call someone up, we will.”
The two options in Oklahoma City currently are Richard Bachman and Laurent Brossoit. Bachman has played in 42 games with OKC, posting a 20-17-4 record and a 3.08 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Brossoit, 21, has had a stellar ECHL campaign but has played just eight games with the Barons, recording a 3.60 GAA and .888 save percentage.
Ben Scrivens set an NHL record the last time the Oilers and San Jose Sharks squared off. He made 59 saves in a 3-0 shootout win for Edmonton, in one of the most impressive goaltending performances in the history of the franchise.
Scrivens says that game was more of an anomaly than anything else, citing ‘puck luck’ as a factor in games like that.
“I look at it as a bit of an outlier, an anomaly,” the goalie said. “You can juxtapose it with the last game. Two shots are going wide and they end up in the back of the net. Whereas that game everything just hit me, two posts and nothing was going in. I said it after the last game, a lot of luck goes into it. The guys played well but, by no means, is that repeatable. Same thing with the last game, that’s just the other end of the spectrum. Those bounces always even out. If you have two posts that go post and out, you know that at some point you’re going to have a couple of them that go post and in. That’s how hockey works, it’s all cyclical. You don’t get too high after the last game and we’ve got to make sure we don’t get too low after our recent game.”
Scrivens says the Sharks are just a good team overall and he doesn’t expect them to come out tomorrow night seeking vengeance for the last game.
“I think they’re a good team. I don’t think that they’re going to try any harder to win because of the last game. I think they’re a good team and they try to win every game. We have to come out and try and match that and get back to playing the way we were on that pretty good run we had and just get back to our good habits and have some onus on ourselves to play the right way.”
Forward lines at practice this morning are the same as the Oilers take the ice for Monday morning practice.
After a few minutes, Fasth was helped to his feet and off the ice by the training staff.
Viktor Fasth shaken up after colliding with Anton Lander during practice. He was on the ice for a few minutes and has now been helped off.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 24, 2014
Edmonton Oilers rookie defencman Oscar Klefbom provides a large body (6-foot-3, 213 pounds) who can win battles in the corners and along the walls. Klefbom however, is also looking to inject some offence into his game as he continues to take steps in his career.
“He can start tonight,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “We want our D part of that offence. We want them to be the second layer coming. When you’re a player where you’ve only played a handful of games, I think you’re a little hesitant to jump because you don’t want to get caught and maybe be a cause of an odd-man rush the other way.”
Eakins says that even if he does make a mistake, he’s athletic enough to recover. Which means, he could start taking more risks to add to the offence.
“He skates well enough, he knows he’s more than welcome to join the rush and I think he can join and get out of there quickly if trouble does happen.”
When the Edmonton Oilers traded for Matt Hendricks in January, they expected a physical piece to come help their team. They may not have expected the tough forward to come in and take the locker room under his wing.
As we’ve written before, Hendricks has provided a physical presence on the ice while providing leadership and accountability off the ice.
“He’s a great teammate,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s everything you want in your dressing room. He’s not afraid to speak the truth to your face and even if you don’t like the truth, you’re going to dinner with him that night. He’s just a standup guy, he’s a great human being and a great mentor. I think that’s so important to have mentors that not only can play and make a difference on the ice, but to bring your group along and it’s what we need right now in where we’re at with our development.”
Oilers winger Jordan Eberle tweaked his knee if Tuesday’s game against Nashville. The injury forced the forward to sit out last night’s game against Buffalo.
Despite the injury, Eberle tried to push through it and get back in time to play the Sabres but rest turned out to be the best path.
“Our team’s been playing really well, we’ve been winning lots, it’s great to be a part of that, it’s fun,” Eberle said of why he tried hard to get back in time for Buffalo. “Nashville was a great game for myself and (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). I felt good about myself and when you start feeling good about yourself, you want to keep playing and help the team win. I was really trying to get back for the last game and I tried in the morning and I just wasn’t ready. I think it was the best case. I felt really good today on the ice and I think the biggest thing is, with testing it out today, we’ll see how it is tonight and tomorrow morning and make a decision.”
Eberle skated the entire practice today and says he feels great but gave no official timetable on his return.
I’m not sure, I felt great today. I really felt strong. I tried to get my lungs underneath me and my legs and really tried to push it at the end there with some battles. It felt good today, we’ll see how it is tonight and tomorrow morning and we’ll make a decision.”
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that out of all the banged up players on the roster, Eberle looks like he may be closest to his return.
“Again, we had to walk the fine line of killing guys on the ice today and a lot of guys needing some time to heal,” Eakins said. “It’s good news that he’s stayed throughout practice today. But we’ll just have to see how that reacts but I think he would be first back in the door right now out of the group and I’m hopeful that our half a dozen guys that are hurting are still able to go tomorrow.”
As long as there is fighting in hockey, retribution is always a worry. Players answer the bell in response to their actions on the ice at times and for a player like Luke Gazdic, that usually means having to drop the gloves.
The last time the Oilers and the Calgary Flames squared off, Gazdic knocked out Kevin Westgarth in a centre ice tilt. Gazdic doesn’t know if that fight will bring a response from the Flames, but he’s ready if they come knocking.
“I don’t know,” Gazdic said. “I think the only guy who knows that is probably one of the guys sitting across the room at Rexall. I’m always ready for it as it is. If I have to answer the bell, so be it. It’s what I’m here to do, so to say and I’m here for my teammates any time.”
Gazdic was happy to see that Westgarth has recovered and has since played in four games for the Flames.
“Obviously, you don’t like to see guys be out for too long with something like that. That’s the breaks of fighting. It’s anytime you can go down. I was actually not surprised but I was taken by how fast he came back. It’s good for him, it’s good he’s back on the ice.”
Edmonton Oilers forward Anton Lander has had a remarkable and potentially unexpected season in the American Hockey League with Oklahoma City. Named OKC’s captain, Lander has 48 points (18-30-48) in 43 games with the Barons this season.
That point production hasn’t translated to the NHL yet, mostly because Lander has been placed in a different role during his time in the NHL. With injuries to the Oilers lineup, Lander has been given more opportunities to play more minutes with more skilled players and he’s shown more confidence as a result.
“I think he looks like a different player because he’s playing with different players,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “When he’s been up before, he’s usually played that fourth-line role and we wanted to see how he could handle playing with maybe a different group of guys. I think he’s played fine. He certainly looks like he has more confidence than he had earlier in the season.”
The Oilers are hoping the former 40th overall pick in 2009 continues to develop moving forward. Lander turns 23 in April.