The Oilers have tweaked their lines a bit for the start of practice on Friday morning.
The defensive pairings are as follows:
Oilers defenceman Nikita Nikitin is practicing this morning. He has missed the past two games with back spasms.
Although Nikitin is practicing, it looks like Brad Hunt is still skating with Justin Schultz. Nikitin is skating with Brandon Davidson as the extra pairing.
Nikita Nikitin practicing this morning. #Oilers— Tom Gazzola (@TomGazzola) October 31, 2014
Nikitin on ice this morning, but Hunt still with Schultz as a pair.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) October 31, 2014
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins announced after the game that the team has assigned forward Luke Gazdic and goaltender Richard Bachman to Oklahoma City. Goaltender Viktor Fasth has been cleared to play and Gazdic will head to OKC for a conditioning assignment.
“Both guys have been cleared,” Eakins said. “We’re reassigning Richard Bachman in the morning and Luke will join him and go on a two week conditioning stint.”
Two-week conditioning stint with @OKCBarons for Gazdic as he makes his return to game action following April shoulder surgery.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 30, 2014
The Oilers can only hope that Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins prove to be their bright future up the middle. The two young centres will be living together for the time being, with Draisaitl getting the news that he would be staying in the NHL past his first nine games.
“For now, I’m going to move in with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,” Draisaitl said. “He’s going to take me under his wing I guess and I’m really thankful for that. He’s a great guy and somebody I look up to. He’s a great centreman and it’s fun being around him for sure.”
Leon Draisaitl remains with the Oilers past nine games, but there is always room for improvement. Head Coach Dallas Eakins expects Draisaitl to just continue to improve and show the things that kept him here.
“What every player on our lineup is doing,” Eakins said. “We’re always looking to improve our habits, we’re looking to be students of the game, we’re looking to be very fit, we’re working to compete very hard every night. It’s nothing that we aren’t asking of all our players.”
The decision to keep Draisaitl was an easy one according to Eakins. He continued to improve and never fell off when it came to facing the pressure or competition.
“He continues to improve,” Eakins said. “If he had fallen off of a cliff somewhere along the way that would have been the easy decision. It’s been a very easy discussion. He’s earned his right, he continues to get better and those are positive signs for us.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke with the media after practice on Tuesday and provided injury updates on the team.
Nikitin (back spasms) will likely have an MRI and Hendricks had a simple maintenance day today after plenty of bumps & bruises last night.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 28, 2014
Their statuses have been upgraded to “day-to-day.”
Nikita Nikitin missed last night’s game against Montreal. He is suffering from back spasms and will likely have an MRI.
Matt Hendricks was the only other player to miss practice on Tuesday, but the prognosis is good. It was a maintenance day for the winger after a tough game last night. He was knocked out of the game for a bit after being pushed into the boards by P.K. Subban. He did return to the game.
For the time being, Leon Draisaitl will continue to don the Edmonton Oilers sweater. The club made that official on Tuesday morning after practice when Head Coach Dallas Eakins made the announcement.
“You shouldn’t be surprised that he’s on the ice,” Eakins said. “He’s part of our hockey team, he’s earned the right to be here today and be in the lineup tomorrow. It shouldn’t be a be a big distraction for our team. It’s part of the process of us getting better and it’s not a big topic at all in our room. All we’re concerned about is practice today and the Nashville Predators tomorrow.”
The third-overall pick in this year’s draft will play his 10th NHL game tomorrow night against Nashville.
Stay tuned for more from practice.
Scrivens, Bachman & Fasth (groin) all participating in #Oilers practice today in Leduc. Nikita Nikitin, however, is not on the ice.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 28, 2014
Davidson is the extra defenceman
Goaltenders Scrivens, Fasth & Bachman are all participating in practice
No Nikita Nikitin on the ice. He missed last night's game. No Matt Hendricks either. He was on the receiving end of a head first hit into the boards last night. He returned later in the game.
The Oilers have racked up four straight wins and they’ve come against quality opponents. Perhaps their toughest task yet was tonight against Montreal and they shut them down, 3-0.
A large contingency of Habs fans were in attendance at Rexall Place and they energy in the building was high. The Oilers and Habs fans chanted and screamed throughout the game. It was loud and exciting.
The Oilers fed off their crowd, as they have all throughout this homestand.
“I know one thing,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Since we’ve been home here our crowd has been able to push us along, whether we’ve been even in the game, down by a goal or up by a goal. The guys are talking about it on the bench, when they get behind you like that. It happens when these teams like Montreal or Toronto comes in there are lots of people that want to wear their colours. When you’ve got your own fans up there fighting with the other ones, our guys want to get in on the action too. It was electric down there on the ice. There was a lot of stuff going on down on the ice, a lot of players yapping back and forth and you saw the battles. It made for a fun night here in the building.”