Nail Yakupov is expected to make his return from an ankle injury tomorrow against San Jose. The Oilers winger has missed 21 games, sitting out since November 27.
“I expect him to play,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “That could certainly change when he comes off the ice or if things havent gone well medically, but all indications are he’s real close to playing.”
Zack Kassian probably wasn’t too worried about meeting his new teammates when he received word the Oilers had recalled him from the Condors. Already, down in Bakersfield, Kassian felt welcomed and was excited to contribute.
“It was a great group of guys down there, great coaching staff and really nice facilities,” said Kassian. “I was more than excited to get the opportunity to go down there and start playing again. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”
Now that he’s up with Edmonton, Kassian says the big club has welcomed him in the same way.
“The whole team came up to me and welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “That’s the way the hockey community is. It’s tough to find a bad guy in the league. Everyone knows what people go through with trades. Every team I’ve been on has been very supportive and very open.”
Kassian was acquired from Montreal in a trade in December.
As a part of the whole process in getting back to the NHL, Zack Kassian has kept himself in good shape. He passed the fitness testing and is four games into his season, having played down in the AHL with Bakersfield.
“I feel good,” said Kassian. “Obviously, with the hands, I’ve only played four games. All-in-all, I feel really good. I did some fitness testing and did well in that. I’m just excited to get into games.”
Kassian’s excitement will almost certainly provide a boost tomorrow against San Jose, but that can only take a player so far. He may need some time to get back up to NHL game speed. However, Kassian’s familiarity with the conference and the league could help him feel it out quicker.
“He’s got NHL experience in all these buildings,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He played out in the Western Conference a lot, he understands his opponent. He’s mature. He knows enough to know what to expect and he’s in tremendous condition. Now, is his timing and awareness at the NHL level elite yet? He’s got to play to get that.”
Always looking for ways to improve, the Oilers recalled Zack Kassian. Head Coach Todd McLellan was asked if the team’s three straight losses accelerated the call-up schedule for Kassian, who has played just four games down in Bakersfield. The coach said he’s not sure about that, but knows Kassian can bring characteristics the club wants.
“We’re always trying to get better,” said McLellan. “Do we do it if we’d won five or six in a row? I don’t know. With the situation we’re in, we’re trying to get better and we think he has size, strength and some abrasiveness to his game, but he also has puck skills. Those are things we’re looking for as a team right now and perhaps he can provide that earlier than we thought he might.”
The Oilers have hit the ice at the SAP Center in San Jose. Zack Kassian is among the forwards skating, wearing white.
Early in @EdmontonOilers practice but Zack Kassian skating with Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov.— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) January 13, 2016
Stay tuned for more from San Jose.
The Oilers have recalled forward Zack Kassian from the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors.
Kassian was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in a trade on December 28. The forward has played in 198 NHL games since being taken 13th overall in 2009. He has played for the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.
Down in Bakersfield, Kassian has one goal on nine shots and six penalty minutes in four games.
NEW YORK (Jan. 11, 2016) – Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks has
been suspended for three games, without pay, for boarding Florida Panthers
defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL game No. 629 in Edmonton on Sunday, Jan.
10, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced
The incident occurred at 2:12 of the third period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on
his average annual salary, Hendricks will forfeit $29,838.72. The money
goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks suspended three games for boarding Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. Video: https://t.co/RimEToTdLl— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 12, 2016
BLOGS & FEATURES
- PRACTICE | Monday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE RAW | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE RAW | Jordan Eberle
- PRACTICE RAW | Leon Draisaitl
- PRACTICE RAW | Nail Yakupov - Injury update
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
The Edmonton team hit the rink in Leduc on Monday to work out a few kinks and run some drills before their flight to Arizona.
“We’re not scoring, I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle.
“We worked on some stuff today. I think more than anything just trying to not focus on being in the same position, trying to get roaming a bit and create some stuff. I know we have some skill on the team to put the puck in the net on the power play and we have had some success… but I think when you get in a game like that, it’s a tight-checking game, you’ve got four opportunities, you’ve got to be able to score and win the game.”
Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan reiterated Eberle’s comments.
“It’s hard to score at this time of year. You’re either seeing games that are 7-1 or 1-0, 2-1. It either gets away on teams or it stays tight,” said McLellan.
“For me we had some good looks last night against Florida, including on the power play, now that we reviewed the game and it didn’t go in for us. I think we’ve got to be a little more determined in and around the blue paint… We’ve worked a lot on it, tried to improve in certain areas and for us to have success we’ve obviously got to score more than one a night but in the same breath I think we could have prevented two of those goals yesterday.”
The Oilers will face the Coyotes on Tuesday night for their third matchup of the season. Each team has won one on home ice thus far.
The Oilers prepare to hit the road for a two-game Pacific Division trip, but before leaving they’ve got some work to do to gear up for the games ahead.
“We struggled on the road this year, we want to pick our game up a little bit. It’s a tough couple of games at home to finish off, maybe deserved a better result but that’s not the way the league works,” said Oilers forward Taylor Hall following Monday’s pre-flight practice in Leduc.
While the Oilers fell victim to some bad-luck bounces in their 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday, they were also unhappy with their execution.
On Sunday, the Oilers fell 2-1 to the Panthers in a physical, penalty-filled affair on home ice. They battled hard and didn’t make it easy for the Florida team to clinch their 12th straight win.
The Oilers are 5-14-2 away from Rexall Place this season. They play the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday and San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
“We’re going on the road — where we struggle — but it’s a chance to get that confidence back,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of really good things to take away from those [last two] games. Unfortunately they don’t give you points for good games. I thought we showed a lot of resilience. I think we came together pretty well as a team against Florida so those are some good traits.”