Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said this morning to the media that Martin Marincin will be suiting up on the Oilers blueline tonight. Corey Potter (groin) is out and Philip Larsen (illness) remains out.
Horak won't play tonight but it's ironic that he joins the Oilers for the first time and it's in Calgary against the Flames. Horak was a Rangers draft choice but all 82 of his career NHL games were in Calgary's red and white.
Horak was asked how he's been settling in to Oklahoma City, where he is now the team's active leading point-getter after Linus Omark was moved on to Buffalo.
“At the beginning, it takes a little bit of time to get settled in and getting used to the different systems and everything but now I feel good," he said. "I’m happy to be here. Every time you get a chance to play in the NHL it’s a huge experience and a huge opportunity.”
Horak has 18 points in 31 games this season in the American Hockey League. In 18 games with the OKC Barons, he has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists).
“I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure," Horak said of the trade. "Obviously, I was disappointed when I got sent down at the beginning of the season but there was a bunch of guys coming up — Sean Monahan at the time played well and he’s still in the NHL. And Joe Colborne came in.
“I was disappointed but I guess you could say I was a little happy when I got traded. Wasn’t jumping around but it’s a new start for me. Right now I see that every NHL organization has so much depth. It isn’t easy to get in the NHL. In Calgary there wasn’t much space for me. I want to help this team and when I get a chance to play, I’ll show it.”
Horak's one NHL game this year was in Phoenix in late October. He played a little over four minutes.
“That was a little disappointing. I think I played six shifts that game, so obviously you can’t do much.”
Sam Gagner played his first game without a face guard this season on Monday against the Jets and the results were very good. He had a goal in 18:11 of icetime and a 61.1% faceoff efficiency.
“I think I can see a little better, which helps. I’m more aware of what’s happening around me and that definitely helps," said Gagner of being able to go without the face guard. "I’m trying not to think about it. Last game I just wanted to go out and play hard and try to get a few bangs in early and forget about it. Once that happened I was able to play my game and it helped.”
“I felt more free, obviously. I felt back to normal. I felt like our line was playing really well last game and we’ve got another big step to take tonight.”
Coach Eakins said that he felt that Gagner came back too soon from his broken jaw in an effort to help the club.
“We talked about a perfect negative storm with our team early in the season and I think it was the same thing for Sam. You miss part of training camp — that is never, ever good for a player. I’ve never seen one player who missed any part of camp have a good start to the season,” Eakins began.
“I think suffering an injury like that is much different than taking it in the shoulder or the knee. It’s a part of your head that’s a delicate spot and that has to weigh on your mind. I think Sam probably came back too early from his injury, for the good of the team, and his play suffered early.
“Now, he’s obviously comfortable. It was his decision to take it off after conversing with our doctors. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe not, but I thought his last game was night and day compared to early on when he came back.”
Oilers forward Ryan Jones travelled with the team to Calgary today. He won’t play tonight but skated this morning and said he is feeling fine.
“Normal. I don’t feel anything,” said Jones when asked how he felt. “To be honest, after about half an hour (after the incident) I felt pretty much normal. For a little while I was woozy I guess you could say.”
Last Saturday during morning skate, Jones collided with Andrew Ference in front of the net and was knocked out cold. He had to be helped off the ice.
“I do remember it. It was just a weird situation. It was like my body went into protection mode. It’s not like I had a huge brain-rattling accident or anything like that. I really have no explanation. Like I said, about half an hour after it was just like nothing happened. The next day, no headaches no nothing. The next day, same thing. Then I started riding the bike.”
When asked when he might play again, Jones said that was up to the coaches.
The Oilers Now Twitter account has Devan Dubnyk starting tonight against the Calgary Flames.
Roman Horak is skating with the team, wearing number 12. Mark Arcobello and Ryan Jones are both skating despite both being on the IR.
Devan Dubnyk starts tonight for the Oilers at Flames.— OilersNow (@OilersNow) December 27, 2013
Horak wearing 12 for #Oilers.— Derek Van Diest (@SUNdvandiest) December 27, 2013
This year at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden, the Oilers have two prospects participating.
Slepyshev, 19, scored two goals and was +3 with three shots on goal. Slepyshev, who is Russia's team captain, played on the top line with Mikhail Grigorenko and Pavel Buchnevich.
Yakimov, also 19, played centre going 50% in the dot (6-for-12). He added an assist while playing on the third line.
Marincin, 21, has posted seven points (3G, 4A) and a plus five rating in 24 games this season with the Barons. He played his first National Hockey League game on December 5th vs. Colorado, registering two penalty minutes and a plus one rating.
Horak, 22, has recorded 18 points (7G, 11A) in 31 games this season. He has appeared in 18 games for the Barons, registering 11 points (5G, 6A) since being acquired from the Abbotsford Heat.
Horak played one game with the Calgary Flames earlier this season -- October 22 against Phoenix -- and had no points in 4:04 of icetime. He's played 82 career NHL games with five goals and 13 assists for 18 points with a -2 rating.
The @EdmontonOilers have games on back-to-back nights. My guess is Horak/Marincin called up for insurance purposes. Jones now listed on IR..— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) December 26, 2013
...And possible that neither Arcobello (ribs) or Larsen (illness) ready either...we will see— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) December 26, 2013
Taylor Hall had glorious scoring chances throughout the game but did not start putting up points until late in the second period.
“The puck was following him around. It kept feeling like nothing was finishing off for him. Nothing was developing. The great thing about Taylor and a number of our guys is he stuck with it and then finally was rewarded for all the work they were doing. You don’t need just one of those guys, you’d like to have 10 or 11 that could really drive the play.”
Hall ended up getting three points on the night in all. He also had a +2 rating and four shots on goal in 19:44 of icetime.
“Taylor came out hard in the game. That’s what we needed. We needed another good start and then, more importantly, able to sustain it.”
The winger was happy with how he played and how the team played.
"Overall it was a way better game than in against St. Louis. We had a good start and seemed to carry it over into the rest of the game. That's been our kryptonite," Hall said.
|Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club
Coach Eakins spoke after the game about how he liked how the team came together in their game against the Jets, particularly late when the game got chippy.
“Right before we let them loose in there and said ‘Happy Holidays’ my message was I love winning the game, I love the goals that you scored, but my favourite moments were us sticking up for each other. I was so excited on the bench. Luke comes to Yak’s defence, we line up there and then all of our guys were in. Everybody was in there sticking up for each other. And that is a huge step for our team. It’s great to see. They’re together."
The game had a total of 103 penalty minutes, 78 to Winnipeg and 25 to the Oilers.
“The win’s great, the goals are great, the electricity in the building was great. But that moment, when Winnipeg was trying to flex their muscles, I thought that was excellent for our hockey team.”
Not a whole lot was said after the game by Dallas Eakins surrounding his comments from the morning, but he did add that it did not come up in the room prior to the contest.
“To be honest, I don’t even know if they knew about it. We didn’t talk about it before. We were preparing for the game. Some of our guys could have been aware of the hornet’s nest being shaken up a little bit but it wasn’t something that we talked about. It didn’t come up in the room and I didn’t think it was important to talk about it. Our focus was trying to win the hockey game.”