It’s a different team, simple as that. New players, new coaches and a newly invigorated fan atmosphere, and now the Oilers have generated a new outcome as a result.
With a 12-7-1 home record this season, Oilers forward Taylor Hall says he feels it can be attributed to a lot of these changes.
“We just seem more comfortable, it seems like we start games a lot better,” he said.
“We don’t wait for the other team to come in here and dictate how the game’s going to go, we just kind of go and play, and it’s been a lot of fun to play here, especially it being the last year [in this building].”
Compared to this same time last year, the Oilers had a 7-13-2 record.
“I just think overall as a team we’re a better team,” said Hall. “We have better fundamentals and our identity seems to come through at home a little bit more.”
Hunt, 27, is currently up with the Oilers after beginning the season with the Bakersfield Condors. The blueliner has 23 points (6-17-23) in 26 AHL games this season, which is good for second on the Oilers farm team in scoring.
Hunt is now a three-time AHL All-Star, having been selected in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. He was named to the AHL First All-Star Team in 2014-15.
Brossoit, 22, earns the first AHL All-Star honours of his career. The goalie has played 18 games for the Condors this season, posting a 2.52 GAA and .928 save percentage. He is 10-5-3 with three shutouts. The Oilers goalie prospect ranks fifth in the AHL in save percentage and is tied for fourth in shutouts.
The Oilers have taken the ice for practice on Thursday at Rexall Place.
Matt Hendricks, who missed yesterday’s practice (non-injury related), is back today.
Stay tuned for more updates, as well as video coverage from the skate.
BLOGS & FEATURES
- BLOG: Hall "honoured" by All-Star nod
- BLOG: Oilers' Finns celebrate WJC win
- BLOG: Wednesday updates
- PRINCIPE: H-all Star
- FUTURE WATCH: Building the blueline with Betker
- PRESS RELEASE: Hall named to 2016 NHL All-Star Game
- PRACTICE | Wednesday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE RAW | Iiro Pakarinen - Injury update
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
There is no doubt Taylor Hall is deserving of being selected to attend the 2016 All-Star Weekend at the end of the month in Nashville.
“I’m excited,” said Hall. “It’s an honour. It’s something I’m very proud of. It’s just going to be really fun to be included in a group of guys like that. It’s been a pretty good first half with some help from some really good linemates and some coaching that I’ve had this season. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Hall leads the Oilers in points (41), goals (16) and assists (25) halfway through the season. His linemate, Leon Draisaitl, has seen just how effective Hall can be when he is at the top of his game.
“He’s one of the best wingers in the world right now and there’s no one who deserves it more than him,” Draisailt said of Hall’s selection.
There were a pair of happy Finns in the Oilers locker room on Wednesday after their home nation won gold at the 2016 World Junior Championship on Tuesday.
“It was a really good game overall,” said Turku native Lauri Korpikoski, all smiles.
In a tense and thrilling climax, Finland scored the game-winning goal 1:33 into the overtime period, securing a 4-3 victory over Russia.
“That was great,” added Iiro Pakarinen, whose hometown is Loviisa. “Unbelievable games they played, all those playoff games they did, all those overtime games — yesterday I was waiting the whole day and watching the game. It was a great, great hockey game — and Russia was good too — it could have gone either way.”
With the Finns leading 3-2, Russia pulled their goalie with 43 seconds left in the third, scoring the equalizer with 6.4 seconds left on the clock.
“Well obviously it’s a tough goal, when they score like that,” said Korpikoski.
“We were obviously waiting for the party to start. But again the overtime winner was good too, so like I said, I think it was an even game, both teams played well, but I think Finns had a little bit of an edge and got the better of them, so it was good.”
Both Korpikoski and Pakarinen have had their go at the World Juniors with the Finnish team. Korpikoski played in 2005 (placing fifth) and again in 2006 (winning bronze), while Pakarinen suited up in 2010 (placing fifth) and 2011 (placing sixth).
“It’s great to have the boys win one on the home turf and the guys got a little party,” said Korpikoski. “It’s probably good they had the day off today — a national holiday (in Finland) — I don’t think many people would have shown up to work anyway.”
The Oilers hit the ice for practice this morning with Pakarinen-McDavid-Yakupov participating, creating a line of injured players.
Injured line of Pakarinen-McDavid-Yakupov at practice today. Looks like a maintenance day for Hendricks.— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) January 6, 2016
The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.
USA 8, SWEDEN 3
It was a bitter-sweet ending to William Lagesson’s World Junior Championship run. The Oilers defensive prospect scored to pull Sweden to within one of the U.S. in the first period of the bronze medal game. However, the U.S. rallied and scored six unanswered goals before eventually downing Sweden 8-3.
Lagesson drove the net and buried a rebound at 17:39 of the first, to cut the Americans’ lead to 2-1.
Sweden tied the game less than a minute later with a goal from Carl Grundstrom.
Unfortunately for the Swedes, that would be the end of their celebrations for the game. The United States potted six straight to take an 8-2 lead.
Axel Holmstrom scored Sweden’s lone response and the Americans coasted to a bronze medal finish to the tournament.
Lagesson was among the +/- leaders for the tournament. He went +7 in seven games. He finished this year’s tournament with two goals and an assist, as well as four penalty minutes and eight shots on goal.
“Well [it was] a tight game…there wasn’t a lot of chances either way,” said Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach Bill Peters.
A scoreless game that saw both the Oilers and Hurricanes battling to get on the scoreboard, Edmonton became the eventual victor, coming away with a 1-0 overtime win over the Hurricanes.
“[Edmonton] got some chances in transition when we turned it over. I thought we had a hard time making plays as the game went along. I thought we started on time but from that point on I thought we struggled with execution,” said Peters.
Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots, four of which came from Hurricanes rookie Noah Hanifin, who fired two shots on net during regulation and two more in the overtime period.
“He’s got a chance to be a star — simple as that,” said Peters.
“He ended up with two shots in overtime, very impressive young man, very mature young man — no different from Jaccob Slavin, no different than Brett Pesce. The more we give him, the better they are so we’ll continue to build around those guys.”
Tonight's game was 1st regular season 1-0 OT win in Oilers history. Only other 1-0 OTW was Game 5, '97 playoffs vs Dallas (Smyth GW in 2OT).— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) January 5, 2016
The Oilers improved to 9-3 on the season in games that have gone beyond regulation, with their 1-0 overtime win over Carolina on Monday.
Edmonton seems to have a knack for 3-on-3 overtime, and they have the skill to score in the shootout as well. Head Coach Todd McLellan touched specifically on their overtime successes after the game against Carolina.
“We do have some skill,” said McLellan. “We have some guys with the ability, when they’re given space, to really hold onto the puck. They’re creative. Once you take a couple players off the ice, I don’t think size and strength is nearly as important as finesse and sense and spatial awareness and hand skills, and some of our players that have that talent really shine in those situations.”
Andrej Sekera scored Monday’s game-winning goal. The defenceman has either scored or assisted on the goal in four of the Oilers six overtime wins this season.