Three Oilers, all in contention for a fourth-line winger spot with the team, showed very well in the team’s 3-2 pre-season win over Arizona. Jesse Joensuu, Steve Pinizzotto and Tyler Pitlick did exactly what their head coach wants them to do on the ice.
“Just what those guys did tonight, all three of them,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “They were all skating, they were all playing a big man’s game. They finished every check, they were able to keep cycles alive, they were able to retrieve pucks on the forecheck and tonight they ended up driving the game. You need that out of those players. It seemed like everyone played well as a group and they had great energy, not only on the bench or on the ice but in the room as well.”
Joensuu scored two goals, both assisted by Pinizzotto. Joensuu had six hits, while Pinizzotto had four on the same line. Pitlick drew a couple of penalties and added three shots and four assists.
The competition seems like it’s not over yet, with all three players doing their job and doing it well tonight.
“It was a huge shock for me to come here, but I knew what this team needed and I think that’s my game,” Pinizzotto said. “I’ve just got to bring energy to the highly effective players. The first-line guys build energy off that, the crowd builds off that and all it takes is one big hit to get everyone going. I can be a pretty effective player with this team if I can get the confidence under my belt and I just try to get better every day.”
Joensuu said after the game that he is more prepared for a camp battle now than he was as a younger player.
“I’m not good that I wouldn’t have to play good in training camp,” he said. “I feel now that I’m older, it is easier to perform than when I was on my entry-level deal it felt like those were the most important games of the whole season. I think I tried too hard then and now it’s easier.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins had said before in camp that Martin Marincin had yet to hit his stride. Marincin, who played 44 games with the Oilers last season, was clearly in a battle for his position on the team. Eakins says the 22-year-old made a statement in the team’s 3-2 win over the Coyotes on Wednesday night.
“I thought Marty Marincin really upped his game. He had, I thought, struggled a little bit but he firmly put his stamp tonight that he is very interested in staying here and reclaiming his spot.”
Nurse, who was selected seventh overall in 2013, showed “flashes of what he can do.”
“I think his game, compared to last year, is much better,” Eakins said. “He’s a little more settled back there. The difference for him this year is our defence is better. It’s a different battle set up. All three guys played well for me.”
The reaction in the press box of Rexall Place was unanimous. Leon Draisaitl, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft, is playing himself into that second-line centre spot to start the season. The big, talented 18-year-old hit a couple of posts, and was making plays all over the ice.
After scoring 105 points last season in the WHL with Prince Albert, his offensive skills are coming to light here at the NHL level. But it is Draisaitl’s willingness to learn that stuck out to his head coach.
“He showed some great flashes of what he can do,” Dallas Eakins said after the game. “There were some learning points in the game as well. The one really good thing is our young players are not shy on the bench, they’re asking questions, and he was doing that when he wasn’t sure. He showed some flashes.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided some updates on injured defencemen Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry. Ference injured his right arm in the pre-season game against Chicago, while Petry has been nursing a shoulder wound.
Both appear to be getting better.
“Petry continues to get better, which is a good sign,” Eakins said. “He’s out there, he doesn’t have any pain shooting the puck anymore so he’s moving along nicely, which we like. Ference was out there. He rubbed some dirt on that injury, it’s sore still, not ready to play but he’s able to get through the practice part.”
"There's a subsection in the CBA that defines prior season. When we looked at it, it looked like Vlad fulfilled all the criteria to sign a Standard Player's Contract," MacTavish began. "He went through the draft -- 30 teams had a chance to draft him -- and he played the prior season in North America, which he did in Moncton.
"But when you go down two paragraphs further, in another subsection of article 8, it defines 'prior season' as a complete season. Vlad had played some games in the KHL and that went unnoticed."
MacTavish added that he felt bad for Tkachev, who had three points in his three NHL games, handling himself well against some tough competition.
"I feel bad for the player because he played so well and he was so excited to be offered an NHL contract," MacTavish remarked.
The unfortunate part for the Oilers was there was no way that he could have signed with Edmonton or any other NHL team, for that matter.
"We didn't miss a deadline or miss an opportunity to sign him but we thought we had the opportunity," the GM stated.
Tkachev's agent also thought that there was an opportunity for Tkachev to sign with an NHL club.
"I spoke with the agent and he read the clause and then stopped reading after it looked like he was eligible."
The Oilers announced Tuesday afternoon that Vladimir Tkachev's contract has been ruled ineligible by the National Hockey League.
Vladimir Tkachev's Standard Players Contract has been ruled ineligible by the National Hockey League.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 30, 2014
Travis Ewanyk (Oklahoma City - AHL)
Mitch Moroz (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Jordan Oesterle (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Dillon Simpson (Oklahoma City – AHL)
Andrew Miller has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the Oklahoma City Barons.
Tuesday's line combinations for the first group are as follows:
#Oilers 1st group: Hall-RNH-Yakupov, Perron-Draisaitl-Eberle, Pouliot-Gordon-Purcell... D: Marincin, Klefbom, Aulie, Fayne, Nikitin, Schultz— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) September 30, 2014
The second group hit the ice as follows:
#Oilers 2nd group looks like: Tkachev-Yakimov-Westgarth, Hendricks-Khaira-Pitlick, Pinizzotto-Acton-Joensuu, Gazdic-Arco-Lander— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) September 30, 2014
Jeff Petry skating for a second consecutive day. No Andrew Ference, still healing a banged up right arm.— Tom Gazzola (@TomGazzola) September 30, 2014