With the additions made by the Oilers through free agency and trades, there is some more optimism in advance of the 2014-15 season. That optimism is felt by Jordan Eberle, who attended the Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers on Tuesday in Leduc.
“We’ve added some great pieces with Teddy Purcell, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Keith Aulie,” Eberle said. “I like it and I think the thing that sticks out to me is the size that we’ve added, especially on the backend. Those guys are all 6-3 and above and obviously there’s some bigger skilled guys up front. I think anytime you get into August you start getting a little antsy to get back to training camp and that’s how I feel right now. Especially with the additions we’ve added I think you have no reason not to go into the season with positivity.”
It wasn’t only skill the Oilers added but size and maybe more importantly NHL experience.
“I think that’s huge,” Eberle said. “I think you’ve got guys who know how to win and have been there… and I think we all want to play here too. I look forward to this year too.”
“I’ve felt that way the last few years,” Eberle said at Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers on Tuesday. “Obviously it hasn’t happened. But more so this year than anything I think we have a lot of expectations on us. I think we did last year too that’s why it was a more disappointing season than ever just because we didn’t perform. This year I will take a lot of pressure on myself and I know those other guys will too just to perform. The city has been very patient and we need to start winning some games.”
Eberle says the pressure felt by the core group of players, not only the three aforementioned, puts the responsibility on them to win above all else.
“Just to take control of the team and win hockey games,” Eberle said of what is expected. “I think more than anything this league is about winning and we obviously haven’t done much of it. I think anytime you have a fresh start and you add some pieces there is a lot of optimism and I am looking forward to training camp to get things going.”
Since being drafted 22nd overall in 2008 by the Oilers, Jordan Eberle has seen some turnover at the head coach position. Heading into this season, Eberle is happy to have Dallas Eakins return in that role keeping some consistency on the bench, despite two new assistant coaches.
“I think more than anything this year it’s going to be nice to have some familiarity with the head coach,” Eberle said. “I think for me, and this is my fifth year coming up, I’ve had three new head coaches now. I think it can be a good thing and a bad thing sometimes too. We finally have a guy where we can pick up where we left off and I definitely look forward to that for sure.”
Eberle says that consistency at head coach is huge for the team and not having that turnover means not starting fresh.
“It’s huge. It’s one thing that really hurt us at the start of the year. No knock against Dallas obviously. He was coming in and things change and that’s how it is. I’ve had that a few times. It will be nice to have the same guy come in and we’ll have a lot of familiarity when it comes to practicing, the way he speaks and what he expects so I think that for sure will help.”
The Oilers announced Tuesday that they have signed centre Leon Draisaitl to a three-year entry level contract. Draisaitl spoke to the media at Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers shortly after the news was announced.
“It’s really exciting,” he said at the Leduc Rec Centre. “First of all, I want to thank Daryl Katz, Craig MacTavish and all of the other people who are part of the Oilers organization for giving me the opportunity to make this happen. It’s really exciting for me and my family for sure.”
The Edmonton Oilers appointed Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach on July 16. Thompson had previously spent the past four seasons with the Oklahoma City Barons in the same position.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said prior to the search for a new assistant that he was looking for a younger coach who would be willing to spend games serving in the eye in the sky role instead of on the bench. It was clear to Eakins when he interviewed Thompson that he was the candidate who best understood and fit those responsibilities.
“I’ll be really honest, I talked to a lot of people about that job,” Eakins said. “The one thing that comes up right away is that person has to be confident enough in their skin to know that they have an equal voice in that dressing room, they’re respected equally by the staff and players but during those games they are going to be upstairs. Some guys have a problem with that and they can’t get their head wrapped around it. Rocky is a really confident guy and he’s hungry. He wants to learn and he’s got a lot of stuff he can provide us. He was totally comfortable with that aspect of it.”
Eakins says that of all of the candidates he spoke with, Thompson clearly made an impression.
“The reality of it is when I sat down with him for the interview he blew my socks off. I knew Rocky a little bit but I didn’t know a ton about his coaching. I had talked to some people inside of our organization that I greatly respect their opinions and guys that are excellent coaches and they spoke so highly of Rocky. I thought he would be good in the interview but he was excellent.”
Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins chose Rocky Thompson to join his staff as an Assistant Coach. Eakins had a lot of praise for his new assistant, saying that Thompson is the right person for the job.
“I think he’s going to fit in great,” Eakins said. “He’s that bridge between the players’ ages and myself and the rest of our staff. He’s got a hunger to teach, he’s got a passion for the game and he’s got a passion to continue on his career as a coach. I think for him personally, this is a perfect stepping stone. The great thing about Rocky is that he didn’t want to talk about him he just wanted to talk about the team and that’s what Rocky has always been. He’s a guy of high character and the only thing that matters to him is the team. That’s what’s got to be from all of our staff, all of our players, anybody who works for the Edmonton Oilers and any decision that they make, this is about our team first and there can’t be anything else underlying their decisions.”
Thompson will serve as the eye in the sky on game nights, radioing down to the bench information and adjustments. But he will also have a hand in teaching the players in practice and has experience in pre-scouting opponents and developing plans and adjustments for systems.
“He’s going to provide that information during games but that won’t be his most important role. His most important role is going to be on a day-to-day basis with prepping and preparing our players to go out there and play. Hopefully the information coming down is not a lot because we have the game under control all of the time.”
Canada is playing its final game at World Juniors Summer Development Camp and the play of Oilers prospect Greg Chase has been quite good, with a pair of assists in two games so far.
Chase, an Oilers seventh-round pick in 2013, has warranted himself a look in a more offensive role after playing on the fourth line in the first two games. He is on a line with Nick Petan and Max Domi and in the starting lineup.
The game started at 10:00 a.m. MDT.
The talented Lazar (Edmonton Oil Kings) put Canada on the board first at 6:29 of the first period. Nurse recorded the assist on the shorthanded breakaway.
Nurse also recorded a head contact minor and a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the game.
Fellow Oilers prospect Greg Chase finished the game with two penalty minutes.
Russia tied the game at 1:16 of the second period courtesy of a Nikita Cherepanov power play goal but goals by Buffalo Sabres prospects Nick Baptiste and Sam Reinhart, along with a goal from Calgary’s Sam Bennett gave Canada a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Lazar scored his second of the game at 4:49 of the final frame to make it 5-2. Russia pulled within two at the 16:16 mark of the third period.
Lazar finished off his hat trick at 19:32 of the third period with his second shorthanded goal of the game.
Darnell Nurse and Greg Chase both return to the lineup for Team Canada tonight as they take on Russia in the third of their four games at summer development camp.
Nurse will be paired with Haydn Fleury while Chase plays once again with Frederik Gauthier at centre. Jayce Hawryluk will be on the right side of that line.
The lines for Team Canada in Game 2 vs. Russia in Sherbrooke tonight. No lines for Russia. pic.twitter.com/zeJka6zfUY— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) August 7, 2014
Both of the Oilers prospects participating at Canada's World Junior Summer Camp will not be in the lineup tonight as Canada takes on Russia (5:00 p.m. MDT).
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Canada plays again Thursday and Friday. It's expected Nurse and Chase will play in at least one and potentially both of those contests.
Canada's lineup versus Russia tonight in Sherbrooke pic.twitter.com/0l8l3P8Rkl— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) August 6, 2014