There was a myriad of injury updates following Sunday's practice. Tom Gazzola spoke with Benoit Pouliot, who played his first game on Saturday after missing five with a foot injury.
“I felt good. The foot felt good. It wasn’t really the game I was hoping for but I’ll talk personally. I think I felt okay. In the third I felt a little bit better. The first two periods were slow but after that I gained speed,” said Pouliot.
Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks both didn't skate on Sunday. For Gordon, interim head coach Todd Nelson termed it a maintenance day. For Hendricks, the hope was a day of complete rest would show some more recovery.
“He tried it yesterday (at pre-game warm-up in Ottawa). We thought a day of rest today would be better off. We’ll try it again tomorrow morning,” said Nelson, adding that losing a player like Hendricks hurts the team.
“Let’s face it. He’s an emotional guy, he’s a glue guy in the room and he’s a leader. The thing is, any time you lose a guy like that out of your lineup, you’re going to miss him.”
Nelson added that Ben Scrivens, who was retroactively placed on IR on Saturday, will not play tomorrow due to his hamstring injury but is a potential for the team's upcoming three-game homestand.
“He’s not going to be available for tomorrow. We’re just trying to get him ready for our homestand at home.”
Another absence at skate was Rob Klinkhammer. He will likely not play on Monday, but for a different reason. When he landed in Winnipeg, he got news that his wife was in labour. He immediately jumped in a car and drove overnight to Lethbridge. He is still awaiting word on the new addition to his family.
One day after a disappointing 7-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Oilers were back on the ice in Winnipeg and looking to bounce back.
“We had a really good meeting before practice. We had a spirited practice out there and the guys competed hard. That’s the great thing about the game of hockey. We got to wake up this morning, get back in the saddle and try to rectify things,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson.
Nelson added that the way the team played was odd to him considering they had made some great strides throughout the week with three excellent games, particularly against two tough Eastern Conference teams in New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.
“I wish I could figure it out. I’m sure every coach would like to figure it out because it’s pretty odd, right? Especially when we were trending in the right direction and then we come out with that performance,” Nelson continued.
“There were so many things. All 20 guys were culprits. Just our thought process with our system work, making plays, our execution was off. It was one of those games. I think the most important thing now is us moving forward and trying to get back to where we were in Montreal and Long Island.”
Benoit Pouliot added that he felt the team could give a lot more than they showed on Saturday.
“You don’t want those games to happen too often. Yesterday afternoon was pretty embarrassing. Just the way that we played. We didn’t really try that hard. Intensity was low and they scored seven goals. It showed. We can’t play like this or we’ll be like this every night.”
Jordan Eberle did add that despite the loss, the team has been showing positive signs.
“We’re definitely playing better as a team, with the exception of last game. Before that, we were really starting to hum,” Eberle began.
“When we play bad, we lose. It’s plain and simple but now when we play good and play the right way, we’re winning. That just shows the signs of a good team. We just have to bring that consistent level every night and play the way we know we can.”
Eberle expects a battle on Monday night against a Winnipeg team coming off the high of a shootout win in Detroit.
“Moving forward to Winnipeg, they’re a good team. They play a lot like Ottawa. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re fast. We know they’re going to come around in our face so we have to play a lot better than we did.”
Purcell - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Hamilton - Roy - Yakupov
Pouliot - Lander - Pakarinen
Gazdic - Fraser
UPDATE: Klinkhammer is in Lethbridge with his wife awaiting the arrival of his child.
Day 11 of road trip in WPG. No Gordon & Hendricks. Klinkhammer in Lethbridge with his wife in Lethbridge awaiting arrival of child.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) February 15, 2015
Line combinations coming.
Purcell-RNH-Eberle, Hamilton-Roy-Yak, Pouliot-Lander-Pakarinen, Gazdic-Gordon-Klink, Ference-Petry, Klefbom-Schultz, Marincin-Fayne.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) February 14, 2015
Taylor Hall attended the World’s Longest Hockey Game in Sherwood Park, an event to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. He signed autographs, took a tour of the facilities and chatted with the players, volunteers and fans.
He spoke with Oilers TV about his time there, but also touched on his own health. Hall is out six weeks with a bone injury in his lower leg. He provided the following update.
“Not much to say right now, I’m still in a walking boot and I’m still in a slow process right now,” Hall said. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks here I can get the boot off, get it moving and get it strong so I can come back as soon as I can.”
Hall, in Edmonton, has been watching his team play the past few games and has seen a win in New Jersey, a great effort against the Islanders and a resilient win in Montreal.
“The guys are playing so hard, it’s fun to watch,” Hall said. “I’ve said this before, you want to see your team do well when you’re out and it’s almost harder because you want to be a part of that winning atmosphere. The way that they’re working and the way they’re working is great. That’s something they need to continue and hopefully, when I can get back in the lineup, we can continue that.”
Benoit Pouliot skated with the team for the third straight time as he appeared to be getting closer to a return to the lineup.
Coach Nelson said a final decision will be made on Saturday morning to determine if he's ready to play the Senators at 2:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. MST).
“When you add a guy like Benny it’s always going to help your team. Tomorrow morning we’ll have another discussion to see where we’re at. There’s a lot of questions up in the air with the lineup tomorrow so we’ll have the rest of the day to think about it and see how guys are. We’ll make decisions tomorrow.”
Matt Hendricks did not practice today. He blocked a handful of shots against the Canadiens and at least one of them hurt a little more than usual.
“Matty took a puck off the ankle and today was a day where he wasn’t able to go out and practice. If anybody knows Matt, he wants to go out there and play. Tomorrow morning we’ll re-evaluate him and we’ll see if he’s good to go for tomorrow.”
After an emotional win on Thursday in Montreal, the Oilers had a very spirited practice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, near Ottawa. The team was still coming off the high of one of their best victories of the season.
“I’m going to enjoy this the rest of the day and tomorrow morning when I wake up we’ll get geared up for Ottawa," said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson following practice. "It was a big win for our hockey team. We played well. We stuck with our game plan and today’s a good day for the guys to enjoy themselves.”
The practice was brief and to the point, lasting about 30 minutes.
“We worked hard. It was short but we can enjoy this. It was a big win for us.”
Coach Nelson talked about the importance of the victory, helping to reinforce the message after the team played so well on Tuesday against the Islanders but came away with zero points.
“Bouncing back after the Islanders game was huge for us. We played well but didn’t get rewarded. Last night we did. It was a good sign for us. The guys feel good about it.
“We have to keep on pushing forward. Last night was one game. It was a big game for us character-wise but we have to keep building on that and moving forward.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa ahead of Saturday afternoon's game against the Senators. Benoit Pouliot is on the ice once again, as is Ben Scrivens. Matt Hendricks is not skating.
The team did not run lines.
#Sens head coach Dave Cameron confirms that Robin Lehner will start in goal tomorrow against the Oilers.— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 13, 2015
Bakersfield Condors goaltender Ty Rimmer, 22, has not played a game since January 16, while dealing with health issues. On Wednesday night, Rimmer broke the news on twitter that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and underwent surgery to remove the tumour.
(1/4) Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The tumor was surgically removed and I am on my way to a full recovery!— Ty Rimmer (@Rimms35) February 12, 2015
“Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The tumor was surgically removed and I am on my way to a full recovery!,” Rimmer said via his twitter account. “The more awareness we can raise about this, the better! So I would like to encourage all young men to get themselves checked out. This disease can manifest very quickly, and may advance rapidly. So please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you notice anything.”
Rimmer, an Edmonton native, is signed to an AHL deal with the Oilers. In the last two seasons, Rimmer has seen action with the Oklahoma City Barons (3 games, 2.65 GAA and .930 save percentage), the Quad City Mallards (39 games, 2.84 GAA and .906 save percentage) and the Bakersfield Condors (25 games, 3.20 GAA and .889 save percentage).
“Thank you to my family, friends, doctors and the entire Edmonton Oilers organization for being so supportive during this time!,” he said on twitter.
Oilers prospect Brandon Davidson was also diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012. He has since made a full recovery and is currently playing with the Barons, after making his NHL debut on December 10, 2014 in Anaheim.