INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Saturday, 09.19.2015 / 10:18 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Group B is the first to skate this morning with Group A doing off-ice training.

The groups appear to be the same as Friday morning.

Schedule for today is as follows:

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM - GROUP B PRACTICE
10:50 AM - 11:20 AM - GROUP B vs. GROUP A - PERIOD 1
(Click here to watch some of this scrimmage via Periscope)
11:20 AM - 11:40 AM - FLOOD
11:40 AM - 12:10 PM - GROUP B vs. GROUP A - PERIOD 2 12:25 PM - 1:10 PM - GROUP A PRACTICE
12:45 PM - 1:45 PM - GROUP C PRACTICE

The lines for Group B are the same as yesterday:

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
Slepyshev-Yakimov-Klinkhammer
Korpikoski-Letestu-Hendricks
Gazdic-Khaira-Pakarinen (McRae)

Defensive Pairings:

Klefbom-Schultz
Reinhart-Gryba
Nurse-Musil (Simpson)

However, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a puck to the face during the practice and Bogdan Yakimov replaced him on the top line between Pouliot and Eberle for the scrimmage.
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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 7:08 PM MT
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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 7:07 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan rolled out some tentative lines for his team on Friday, at Leduc Recreation Centre.

First-overall pick Connor McDavid skated between Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell. He said it was a decision partially based on chemistry of two of those linemates but also Purcell as a third complementary player. Also influencing that combination is that McLellan seems very comfortable to roll with Benoit Pouliot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle as his other top line.

“I’m not sure it can work, I hope it can work. But I know that Pouliot, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle had a good finish to last year when they were together,” said McLellan. “There’s some familiarity there. They played well at both ends of the rink for the most part and I like that. I think that Connor and Taylor have had a little bit of chemistry throughout their summer and that might help. And Teddy has the ability to shoot the puck and we forget him using his size and that can be a factor on that line.”

McLellan says this is an opportunity for Purcell to step up and he needs to “take advantage of it.”

Another line the Oilers tested out today was one that has Leon Draisaitl centring Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov. That’s a lot of fire power and McLellan almost went out of his way to remind the media they’re a group to watch.

“The interesting line for me is that Draisaitl-Lander-Yakupov line. If we can get them gelling and playing the right way, they can be very dangerous. That’s a goal of ours anyway,” said McLellan.

The Oilers coach also reminded everyone that the lines the team uses in Leduc aren’t finalized.

“What we all have to understand is those lines are very fluid,” said McLellan. “We didn’t even scrimmage today. There’s really no evaluation tool to see if they had chemistry or not. It was a lot about concepts and setting standards more than anything. Later on, that will happen.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 2:26 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers winger Teddy Purcell shouldn’t be a surprising player to see skating next to Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid. He’s played that role before on a different team. In Tampa Bay, Purcell put up good point totals skating with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

“I like to consider myself a complementary player,” said Purcell. “They’re obviously very tough to play with because they’re very demanding. But at the same time, if you keep it simple and make the right play it usually works out. I learned a lot from ‘Stammer’ and ‘Marty’ and (Vincent Lecavalier) that sometimes you try to force it a lot and that’s not the right play too. If you play the right way, usually it opens up. When the guys are that skilled, eventually it goes in.”

Hall and McDavid are two extremely skilled forwards who are expected to lead the way offensively for the Oilers. Both are first-overall picks.

“It’s nice for your confidence that the coach has that trust in you to try you out with those guys,” said Purcell. “Going to take it day by day and build off day one.”

In 2010-11, Purcell recorded 51 points in 81 games for the Lightning. He followed it up with a 65-point season in 2011-12. He’s shown he can be a good fit on top lines.

Keeping up with the speed and skill of Hall and McDavid might still take some getting used to.

“My groins are a little tight,” Purcell joked. “But I worked enough this summer that, once you get the groove and get to game speed, I think I’ll be fine.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 2:23 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Connor McDavid took to the ice this morning to skate with his potential Oilers linemates for the first time in training camp. McDavid centred Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell.

“It was fun,” said McDavid. “It’s always fun to get out there and skate with your new team or any new guys and get a feel for everything that’s going on.”

Hall came away impressed with how quickly McDavid was able to pick up on what Head Coach Todd McLellan was teaching. Hall says McLellan gave the team a lot to soak in, including two video sessions.

“A lot of information on the first day, but he seems to take it in really well,” said Hall. “That’s a good thing for a hockey player and an 18-year-old, when it doesn’t seem to frazzle them much when a lot is going on. The quicker that he can process that stuff and get playing, it’s going to be good for him.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 1:18 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Group B is on the ice for the Oilers.

Cam Talbot and Laurent Brossoit are between the pipes.

Line combinations:

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle

Klinkhammer-Yakimov-Slepyshev

Korpikoski-Letestu-Hendricks

Gazdic-Khaira-Pakarinen (McRae rotating)

Defensive pairings:

Klefbom-Schultz

Reinhart-Gryba

Nurse-Musil (Simpson rotating)

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.18.2015 / 11:29 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
The first group here at Oilers Camp has taken the ice at the Leduc Recreation Centre.

Ben Scrivens and Anders Nilsson are the two goaltenders.

Connor McDavid centres a line with Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell to start.

Other lines include:

Lander-Draisaitl-Yakupov
Ford-Platzer-Kessy
Pitlick-Miller-Hamilton

On defence, the team is going with:

Sekera-Fayne
Ference-Nikitin
Hunt-Oesterle (Davidson rotating in) Stay tuned for more updates.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 5:43 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Andrej Sekera is preparing for his first year playing with the Oilers and he wants you to know that he’s not concerned about his position on the ice.

“I’m here to play hockey. Whatever the coach will give me I will do. If it’s PK, PP, I don’t really care, you know, I’m here to win a hockey game and that’s what matters for me,” he said.

That’s not to say that Sekera doesn’t care entirely, because he does, his passion to find the right team is evident in the selection strategy he had when deciding where it is he wanted to play.

“I saw the change up top — two guys who are very successful at what they do. Then I looked at the roster, a lot of talent, a lot of youth, so they are building something very nice here. I think that if they can be guided in the right direction, this could be very successful, so I would like to be a part of it.”

The six-foot tall defenseman took his time in analyzing the offers before deciding to sign a six-year deal with the Oilers.

“It takes you a couple of minutes to look at the roster, where the offers came from. You know you want to look (ahead) a couple of years, see what might change, what might not, who will be there, who will not be there. I felt the most comfortable with Edmonton.”

Now that he’s settled into the city and made connections out of the arena, his focus is to get on the ice and do the same.

“The city is nice. I’m here to play I’m not here because of the city,” said Sekera.

“You know a little bit of snow never hurts, they have nice summers obviously, nice areas — a lot of green stuff, a lot of rivers — a lot of small places to go and eat, and stuff like that, so it’s actually pretty nice. People are friendly, and as far as the teammates, everybody has been very helpful and very nice to me so I cannot say anything bad about them. I’m really happy to be here and I’m looking forward to this year with the group of guys we have down there.”

Sekera may be a little bit older and a little bit wiser than a number of the youthful players looking to make an impact with the team dynamics, but he’s confident that once training begins and the season is underway, the Oilers will find their rhythm.

“I think it’s all about understanding each other, (each other’s) habits and especially the system we’re going to play. So as soon as we are on the same page I think we will be fine. It’s about working five guys together not one together, so as long as we all get comfortable with each other, with the system, I think we will be fine,” he said.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 09.17.2015 / 4:40 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers after becoming a free agent on the first of July.

But now, as the Edmonton Oilers get back to the grind — starting with fitness testing — and gear up for training camp, Letestu is readily focused on what lies ahead.

“This is kind of the unofficial kick-off now,” he said.

“To me it’s kind of the last loose ends to tie up before we get to work, which starts tomorrow, which I know myself included and probably speaking for some of the guys, we’re excited to get going.”

The atmosphere for the Oilers centre may be new — new city, new team, mixed with newfound fan excitement — but his readiness for camp and the tasks and strategies they’ll be working on hasn’t wavered.

“The expectations and the anticipation for the season, you know, we’re ready to go. It’s time to start and get going and start developing some team chemistry and things that make a team successful,” said Letestu.

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG