The Oilers test drove some new forward lines at practice today with one of them being Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell centred by Leon Draisaitl. Jordan Eberle was absent from practice as well, leading to some more shuffling.
“We’re taking a look,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’re taking a look at the power plays as well. We shook those up, kind of the same setups just with moving pieces. We’ll at least try and start with that. We had a couple of guys having a maintenance day, a couple of guys that had different things flare up during the game so we’ll see how they are too.”
The Oilers players got the message when they saw the different lines they’d be running at practice.
“Anytime they do what we call, ‘getting the bingo balls out,’ it means that something has gone awry and something is not right,” Hall said. “When you’re winning and when you’re playing well, you’re scoring lots of goals and the lines don’t change. That’s a message to us that we have to get better and we have to find some consistency with our lineup.”
If the lines that were run this morning at practice were any indication, Leon Draisaitl will have the opportunity to play with Taylor Hall. It’s an opportunity that the young rookie centre should be excited about. As a playmaking centre, Hall could be his best friend offensively.
“Taylor has been through that experience not too long ago,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “His experience will definitely help Leon. We also think that Leon is a very good distributor of the puck and he’s going to be able to step right in there with Taylor and give him the puck. I thought Teddy last night played a really good game and Teddy can certainly do both, he can find people and he can also shoot the puck. We feel, at least looking at it on paper with what each guy brings, they compliment each other.”
Oilers prospect Greg Chase has been traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the Victoria Royals of the WHL, in exchange for Calgary Flames prospect Keegan Kanzig.
Chase, taken in the seventh round of the 2013 draft, played 15 games for Calgary this season. He recorded 15 points (2-13-15) and 20 penalty minutes.
The Oilers traded Will Acton to Vancouver for Kellan Lain on Thursday. In a separate AHL deal, the Oklahoma City Barons traded Mitch Holmberg to the Utica Comets, the Canucks affiliate.
Holmberg played in eight games for the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors this season, scoring one point.
The Oilers have taken the ice for Thursday’s practice at Rexall Place.
The power play units have been changed:
Jordan Eberle and Nikita Nikitin are absent from practice.
The Oilers lines appear to be as follows:
The Oilers recalled Steve Pinizzotto from the Oklahoma City Barons yesterday. Through six games, Pinizzotto recorded six assists, 40 penalty minutes and was +3.
“Word is he’s been playing well in OKC and when guys play well they’re promoted,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He is deserving of another look.”
There is no word yet from the Oilers on if Pinizzotto will play tomorrow night against Vancouver. The Oilers are going over the lineup today. But if Pinizzotto gets in, he hopes to continue doing what he does best and that’s stir things up with his aggression and physicality.
“It’s great, it’s another opportunity,” Pinizzotto said. “I came here to kind of do my job and cause a little bit of aggression, intensity and try to bring it to the lineup. Maybe I can give the guys a little bit of a boost, be hard on the forecheck and try to go offensively. We’ll see what happens.”
The Oilers know just what he can bring to the table, should he suit up.
“He’s going to bring a little bit of grit,” Eakins said. “He can skate, he plays a real simple game, he played some good games for us last year, he has a real good training camp, was right in the mix for a job there and has gone and kept it up in OKC. He fits into what a number of our guys have been doing well this year.”
Last season, the Oilers spent a good chunk of their time at the white board during practice. It was part of the process set forth by Head Coach Dallas Eakins and his staff. Now that a lot of the teaching and fundamentals are covered, the team spends less time at the board and more sweating it out on the ice.
“That’s the biggest thing changing from last year to this year in practice,” Eakins said. “We spent a ton of time at the board trying to correct the fundamental mistakes of what we were doing in the drill or explaining the drill and what the critical point is. We’ve been now set up with, right from the start of training camp, where we did a lot of teaching through camp and our guys understand the critical aspects of the fundamentals. We’re still working on them, but our practices are now pedal to the metal. They’re quick, they’re fast and, I don’t know if you were watching today, they’re exhausting for some guys. It’s the process of a team that’s trying to grow. You have to teach first and now the mandate is to play fast and to play quick. We need to continue to get better at that.”
The Oilers have shown they can play with teams, but they’re still trying to find a way to win with consistency. Head Coach Dallas Eakins says it’s time for the team to turn the dial up a notch and take that next step towards yielding results.
“It’s time for us to turn up the volume a little bit,” Eakins said. “We’ve been talking about it a lot lately and not being OK with being close. I think that was the next step for our club after the season we had last year. It was that we’ve got to be in the game, the chances have to be close, we have to be close in the game and feel that we’re playing well. Now, we’re certainly worthy of the points. If I was to compare last year to this year, last year our volume was at two and we needed to get it to eight to win. The volume is now at six or seven and we need to get it to eight. That’s the mandate from inside the room and from us as coaches that, to a man, we need to turn the volume up a little bit. Whether it’s a little bit more intelligence, a little bit more work or a little bit more of reading the critical time of the game, whatever that is to turn the volume up a notch or two is going to take us over into getting the points. Playing well and being close, that’s not good enough anymore.”
The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at the Royal Glenora Club.
The Oilers are mixing up the defensive pairings as practice continues.