Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the play of Nail Yakupov so far this season and the process to get him to play more of an NHL-style game.
"We talk about it as coaches as muscle memory. His muscle memory reverts back to he got away with that in junior. It's something that we think he's improving on but it's something we're going to have to keep hammering home every day," Eakins began.
"He's gotten away with a certain pace in junior and gotten away with certain plays. We don't want to take those plays away from him because he's very capable of making very conscious and excellent plays on his backhand. He can do it but he's got to realize when the time is to do it and when the time is not."
Specifically, Eakins talked about last night's game and some of Yakupov's struggles.
"There were a couple instances last night where it happened in the neutral zone and even more importantly, in the offensive zone where we've got a great cycle game going and everything's under control and now we're trying to force something in the middle on our backhand."
On the flip side, Yakupov did fire six shots on net tomorrow and the coach was encouraged by that.
"It's always interesting, when you go to a player and you're going to give him a message and he already knows. It started off with Yak, we wanted five shots and he gave us six. I was joking with him this morning, maybe we need him to get nine.
"He's getting some incredible looks. Mason made a couple of big saves. We want Nail to shoot the puck. We play Nail with Leon for a reason. That's a left-handed centreman. And we don't want Nail to be nice. Put the puck on the net, get it to the net. He's a shooter and that's what we want him to do."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the decision to place forward Will Acton on waivers today for the purpose of assignment to Oklahoma City.
"It's a hard decision," said Eakins. "That's a kid who's 100% committed. Does everything right, every day. We've got to get a little bit different mix. We really like the line of Hendricks, Gordon and Joensuu. We don't like breaking them up."
"We need a different look on Leon's line with Taylor being out."
Eakins reiterated that it was very difficult to break the news to Acton.
"It's a tough decision. Hard one to break to Willie. When a kid like that does everything you ask of him every day."
The Oilers announced that Will Acton has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment.
Will Acton has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 5, 2014
The forward lines are:
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins voiced his displeasure after the game that more players didn't step up, though he was happy with the ones who did.
"I thought some of the individuals that we asked for bigger games out of did that. We asked Yak [Nail Yakupov] to shoot the puck more, he was extremely dangerous, I think he had five or six shots."
Eakins was also impressed with the play of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
"I thought Ryan Nugent-Hopkins really stepped up his game. We did an excellent job staying out of the penalty box. The fact of the matter is we can’t have just five or six guys step up, we need all twenty guys pulling and maximizing their potential. If you’re not maximizing your potential you are doing our team a terrible disservice and that’s the difference of the game. It’s a game in which you outshoot and outchance but you don’t have two points, and all of the positives really don’t matter."
Eakins was asked how he can bring out that competitive nature in more of his players on a regular basis.
“Well that’s part of your job as a coach, and that’s probably the most difficult job there is as a coach. People are wired a certain way, they have a certain DNA, and when it comes to that there are different ways to go about it. The one thing you don’t want to get caught in is every 10 days you have to try and jump-start a guy. If you are jump starting your car every ten days you are probably getting rid of it. I think for the most part though we have very competitive guys and they are getting better at understanding that it has to be every night, not just 60 nights a year.”
One of the things Oilers winger Jordan Eberle was upset with during the game was the slow start that the team had.
“Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating," he said. "I can’t remember or recall many nights last year where we played like this or we outshot a team and outchanced them, and you have to give them their credit. They played well, made some big saves for them. Their biggest thing is their start. We get behind the eight ball, their two goals and we’re just playing from behind the rest of the game. It’s not easy to win games that way.”
Eberle felt the start weighed on the team mentally, particularly starting the road trip with such a bad bounce which led to the Voracek goal.
“Yeah, it’s definitely tough when you give up two right off the bat, especially on the road you’re coming back, you’re coming from behind, it’s not easy to do. We definitely made it interesting with all the chances we had and trying to get one we just couldn’t find a way. Their goalie kind of was there to stop the door every time we were there, but you know it goes back to the things you know, we have to find ways to win. I think the biggest thing for tonight that we take away is the start. We have to be ready to play hockey games.”
One positive for the Oilers on the night was Viktor Fasth stating after the game that he felt no ill effects of the groin injury which kept him on the shelf for several weeks.
“It felt great," he said. "It was one of the positive things. I didn’t feel anything, which was good. I’m really excited to be back out there and unfortunately we didn’t get the win today.”
He did, however, have to shake off some rust particularly in the opening period.
“It felt a little bit rusty in the beginning, but I felt better as the game went on. I can’t blame that I’ve been out two weeks for the loss. Wish I could have made a couple more saves.”
Starting goaltender will be Viktor Fasth.
Victor Fasth is first off...looks like he starts tonight in Philadelphia— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 4, 2014
- PRACTICE | Monday's comments
- RAW | Dallas Eakins
- RAW | Oscar Klefbom
- RAW | Andrew Ference
- RAW | Jordan Eberle
Following practice on Monday, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins commented on the three-game suspension to Oilers defenceman and captain Andrew Ference.
"The League has terribly hard decisions to make. I know for a fact that they take in all angles, guys’ past histories," Eakins began. "They leave no stone unturned. So I’m always comfortable with the League’s opinion and decision."
Eakins added that the loss of Ference for the first three games of this trip coupled with the loss of Taylor Hall for two-to-four weeks due to an MCL sprain is a tough blow for the club.
"We’re going to miss Andrew for sure. You can say what you want about Andrew but he gives us 100 maximum effort every night," Eakins remarked.
"It’s not a little bit of a loss, it’s a lot of a loss in the leadership department and in the player department. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s a time where you look for certain players to stand up. We know we have guys who will do that. We’re interested to see if some others who have been looking for that role and added ice time can back up their words for it."
Andrew Ference talked about the absence of both himself and Hall from the lineup and how the team will be able to adapt to losing two core players.
"All teams around the League go through it, with missing guys and people coming up and playing well. We had the same thing last year with guys coming up from OKC and play tremendous for us. It’s just part of the deal for every team in the League. Whatever circumstance it is," said Ference.