Following practice on Thursday, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins spoke to the media. View an archive of the live press conference which was streamed on edmontonoilers.com by clicking on the video below.
The Oilers are on the ice for another early-morning practice at Rexall Place. Lines, according to jersey colour, are:Hall-RNH-Gagner
There are seven defencemen out there as Corey Potter has returned to the ice with the team:
Jesse Joensuu and Philip Larsen are not skating.
The Oilers announced that they have assigned defenceman Brad Hunt to the Oklahoma City Barons.
From the team's official press release:
OILERS ASSIGN HUNT
General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have assigned defenceman Brad Hunt to the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons.
Hunt appeared in three games for the Oilers after being recalled from Oklahoma City.
The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native has recorded 15 points (3G, 12A) and 14 penalty minutes in 27 games with the Barons this season.
Slepyshev, Russia's captain, had four shots on goal and a minus-one rating. Yakimov was an alternate captain and had an even rating with one shot.
The Oilers announced that they have assigned centre Anton Lander to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.
Both Oilers prospects at the World Junior Hockey Championship are currently playing for Russia -- Anton Slepyshev and Bogdan Yakimov. On Saturday morning, the Russians lost to Sweden 2-1 and will now play the loser of Canada vs. Finland for the Bronze Medal.
Neither player had any points in the game. In terms of plus/minus they both had an even rating. Slepyshev had three shots on goal and Yakimov had two.
Slepyshev is tied for the team lead in points with seven. He has two goals and five assists and is +7 with 16 shots on goal.
Yakimov has a goal and an assist, is +2 with nine shots on goal.
As per the lines the Oilers used during pre-game warmups in Anaheim, Ales Hemsky moves up to the second line.
Hall-RNH-Perron, Yak-Gagner-Hemsky, Smyth-Gordon-Jones, Gazdic-Arcobello-Joensuu. Ference-J. Schultz, N. Schultz-Hunt, Marincin-Petry.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) January 4, 2014
Tonight will mark the NHL debut of defenceman Brad Hunt. Hunt has been leading the way in Oklahoma City among blueliners with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 27 games. He also has a +1 rating and 14 penalty minutes.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the recall, stating that he expects to play Hunt with a veteran defender.
“We are planning on giving Huntsy some experience to play with. We’re going to try that. We’re still kicking it around, but we may put him with Nick Schultz to start,” Eakins remarked.
“It’s an exciting time for Huntsy. I thought he had an excellent camp. I think it was the game in Vancouver he played and I thought he was excellent. I’m sure he’s excited to get his feet wet.”
Hunt echoed his coaches comments, stating that he was very excited to play his first career NHL game tonight.
“It’s an awesome, awesome feeling,” he said. “It’s my first time and you don’t really know what to expect when you get that call. It was really neat and I’m really excited.”
Hunt was asked if he felt like he would get that chance to come up to Edmonton, being an older prospect at age 25.
“I’m a firm believer in that you control the things that you can control. I just try to work as hard as I can and don’t really read too much into that kind of stuff. I guess it’s good to see all those guys down there, too, start to mature a little bit.”
Hunt has a history with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. When Hunt broke into the AHL after completing his senior year at Bemidji State University in 2012, he signed a tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves. MacTavish was head coach of that team.
“After my season was over I got an opportunity to go there and Craig was the coach. I got to know him and he got to know me,” Hunt began. “We had a pretty good relationship down there and I played really well. That really helped me to get that AHL contract with the Wolves the next season.”
Hunt had a goal and five points in 14 games with Chicago and added a goal and four more points in five playoff games.
“It was a really good opportunity for me. He really gave me the opportunity to show that I was able to play in the American League. I’m so ecstatic right now to be here, I can’t find any words.”
The Oilers announced this morning that they have recalled defenceman Brad Hunt from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.
Hunt, 25, has never played a game in the NHL. This season he leads all Barons defencemen with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games. Hunt has a +1 rating and 14 PIM.
Philip Larsen, who has been out with an illness, was placed on the IR.
Phillip Larsen moved to IR to make room for Hunt call-up. Hunt has 3-12-15 in 27 GP in OKC and is +1— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 3, 2014
Spoke to Brad Hunt he sounds very excited. Doesn't know if he is playing tonight. Has been playing right side all season.— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 3, 2014
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins sat his top line — David Perron, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — for a good chunk of the third period. The trio had a tough game, with all three finishing -3 on the night.
“They weren’t doing anything. That line, along with a couple of other forwards — Ebs plays on that line every once in awhile — we’re not a deep enough team to have the luxury of them having an off night. They can’t ever have an off night.”
Eakins did say that he liked the way the trio handled the adversity while they were being sat.
“They weren’t very good early and it got to a point where it was time for them to sit and watch. I will say this, I did like the way they handled it. They were still upbeat on the bench, they were encouraging their teammates. They weren’t sitting there sulking. That was encouraging to me but they can’t play like that. We need them every night for us to be in the game.”
The top line was out there for the opening draw in the third period.
“I talked to the line in between periods and told them what my concerns were, I expressed how important they are to our team success. And it was time to get them back out there.”