INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 10:15 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

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.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.11.2016 / 9:44 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Oilers forward Matt Hendricks has been suspended three games. From the NHL's official press release:

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
today.

    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.
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POSTED ON Monday, 01.11.2016 / 2:19 PM MT
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POSTED ON Monday, 01.11.2016 / 2:15 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

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.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.11.2016 / 1:02 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

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.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.11.2016 / 10:44 AM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice in Leduc.

No one who played last night is absent. Pakarinen is wearing dark blue with the top six forwards, while Pouliot is skating in white.

Stay tuned for full video coverage after practice.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.10.2016 / 11:35 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The level of physicality in Sunday’s game against the Florida Panthers may have surprised some. The number of hits, fights, and tough physical play was high. Head Coach Todd McLellan was pleased with how the Oilers answered after the opening frame.

“It wasn’t very hard in the first period, and then we finally decided we were going to at least engage a little bit. Then the game became hard, which was good for us to play in,” said McLellan.

Eric Gryba landed two big hits on Corban Knight, the first of which resulted in a fight with Nick Bjugstad. Matt Hendricks levelled Aaron Ekblad behind the net, which didn’t draw a penalty, but drew anger from the Panthers. Hendricks fought Logan Shaw after that, his second scrap of the game after an earlier bout with Alex Petrovic.

“I thought that’s as good a response to physicality I’ve seen from our team this year and probably in my seven years in San Jose when we played Edmonton,” said McLellan.

Taylor Hall was checked hard at centre by Erik Gudbranson. While that hit didn’t spark certain fireworks, McLellan approved of the response.

“I thought it was excellent,” said the coach. “I thought we went and played physical after that. I thought it was great. If you think we’re going to jump off the bench and run after him and jump him, it’s not happening. That’s not the way the game is played anymore. After that, I thought we were physical.”

All in all, the Oilers managed to limit the Panthers shots on net and keep up physically with a team that is hot right now. Unfortunately, the Oilers dropped the 2-1 decision.

“I thought we were aggressive. We kept the team that has 12 wins (in a row) now, I think we gave up 14 shots at the end of the night. Lost the game, not happy about it. We attempted 68 at their net. I thought we answered the physical bell.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.10.2016 / 11:28 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers seemed to be coming back. They outshot the Panthers 14-2 in the second period, after falling behind 2-1 in the first.

They were hitting and playing physical and logging zone time. Unfortunately, that fizzled away toward the end of the game as Florida sat back in protection mode.

“I thought we were attacking until about seven minutes or six minutes left in the game,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “They went to a real good, solid, five guys back, stack up the red line. We had trouble coming through it. There was a sense of frustration that seeped into our game. They’ve won 12 because they have the ability to do that. They do a good job of it.”

The Oilers and Panthers tied for seven shots a piece in the third. Florida blocked 23 shots for the game.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.9.2016 / 2:15 PM MT
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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.9.2016 / 2:15 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It’s for the best.

That’s what Oilers centre Connor McDavid has reiterated after Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said that the 2015 number-one-draft-pick’s return won’t be until after the All-Star break.

“I think that’s kind of to be expected,” said McDavid.

“I mean originally they said four months [to heal]. So to come back before the All-Star break, I think would be rushing it a little bit too much…I think it just gives myself an extra couple of days, even a week, to get some extra bone healing and get ready to play.”

It’s with mixed emotions that McDavid admits that the extended weeks of healing will be good for him in the long run, but McLellan explained that this timeline makes the most sense for the rookie.

“We’ve got, maybe the strangest All-Star break in the history of the league,” said the bench boss. “We’ve got an Olympic break versus an All-Star break and that break happens in 13 days I think, or 14 days for us. We’ve determined that Connor’s not physically ready to play between now and then. And if he was on day 13 or 14, in our opinion, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to play him for one night and then give him the next 10 days off.”

The 18-year-old has been out on the ice and skating with his teammates these past few weeks, participating in drills and looking forward to his own return.

“You want to play as soon as possible but at the end of the day, you’ve got to play when it’s safe,” he said. “It’s a little bit frustrating when you feel good and you want to play, but like I keep saying, it’s for the best and it’ll just give me extra time to heal.”

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