Oilers forward Taylor Hall will be taking part in three different events at the Skills Competition on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
He will be one of four players for the Western Conference in Fastest Skater and will also be taking part in the Shootout as well as passing pucks in Shooting Accuracy. The other three skating alongside Hall in Fastest Skater will be: Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, Colorado's Matt Duchene and Nashville's Roman Josi.
Taylor Hall spoke to the media at NHL All-Star Media Day on Friday at Bridgestone Arena. Having just got into Nashville yesterday late afternoon, he hasn't had a whole lot of time but has taken advantage of his time so far.
“It’s something I’m very proud of. Just seeing all the guys, being around here and being recognized for your efforts is fun. I’m going to soak it in,” said Hall, adding that he has family coming in later today.
Hall was asked about the three-on-three format, which is a first for the NHL. Pacific Division, with six forwards, three defencemen and two goaltenders will face off against the Central Division in a 20-minute game where each team will play three skaters aside. The winning team will then play the winner of Atlantic vs. Metropolitan. The winner of the final 20-minute game will split $100,000 between the 11 participants.
“I’m actually really excited to play the three-on-three,” said Hall. “I think it’s going to be a good experience. It’s going to be fast. I don’t know about the other guys, but I’m going to try pretty hard. I’m excited for the whole thing.”
It being Hall's first game where he's actually playing — he was a rookie who just did Skills Competition in Raleigh in 2011 — he's trying to embrace every moment of the weekend.
“I always remember Wayne Gretzky saying — I don’t remember how many all-star games he went to — but he always said it was such a great experience and he was honoured to be around guys. I feel the same way. It’s really fun to be here and I’m proud.”
Hall is also excited to get to spend some time in Nashville. A very underrated NHL city, "Nash Vegas" is known for its live music and vibrant nightlife.
“Just hitting the town a bit last night, seeing what the whole vibe is, it’s been fun. When you hear the game is in Nashville you get excited about that. It’s certainly a lot different than other cities. From what I’ve seen so far, they’re putting on a great event so it’s fun.”
The Oilers have claimed defenceman Adam Clendening off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.
Clendening did not play a game for the Ducks after being acquired on January 15 along with David Perron in exchange for Carl Hagelin. Earlier this season he played six games for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and had three assists. He also played nine games for the Pittsburgh Penguins and had one assist.
He's played 30 career NHL games between Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Chicago with a goal and four assists for five points and a +5 rating.
The Oilers announced on Thursday morning that defenceman Andrew Ference will be out for the season after undergoing hip surgery. Ference has been on injured reserve for the majority of the season due to the nagging hip injury.
#Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference will undergo hip surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 21, 2016
NEW YORK (Jan. 11, 2016) – Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks has
been suspended for three games, without pay, for boarding Florida Panthers
defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL game No. 629 in Edmonton on Sunday, Jan.
10, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced
The incident occurred at 2:12 of the third period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on
his average annual salary, Hendricks will forfeit $29,838.72. The money
goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks suspended three games for boarding Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. Video: https://t.co/RimEToTdLl— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 12, 2016
The next step to Connor McDavid's road to recovery happened on New Year's Day. McDavid skated with the team for the first time since breaking his collarbone on November 3, nearly two months to the day.
“It’s good to feel normal again and be out there with them. Today was a little bit of a lighter practice, they were getting ready for tomorrow’s game but it was still a lot of fun to be out there,” McDavid began, while speaking to a relatively large contingent of media considering the holiday.
“It feels really good. There hasn’t been any pain with it since surgery. Obviously, a few days after but it’s felt pretty good for a long time. Just gotta wait for it to heal.”
McDavid talked about the difference in recovery this time around from last year when he broke his hand in a fight in November.
“It’s a little bit different. It’s not like last year with my hand. It’s in a cast and you know it’s broken. But when it feels so good you ask ‘can I do this, can I do that’ but doctors know what’s best. We do x-rays pretty frequently so you know what’s going on in there pretty good,” he said. “It’s their job to worry about that.”
The rookie centre was asked about how he's been able to stay in shape these past couple of months.
“The good thing about this injury is it was an upper-body injury and you can still keep your legs feeling good. I think I was on the bike four days after so that’s no excuse to come back out of shape or anything like that. I feel really good with my legs and all that.
“There’s still a process I have to go through. Today was the first step, being out with the guys. We’ll just kind of go from here, taking contact and doing all that. We’ll see how fast that moves along. Today it felt good to be back out there with them.”
The team did not do much in the way of line rushes in what was a brief practice.
Check back for more coverage and reaction.
It was a much better game for the line of Benoit Pouliot, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said that he's feeling some frustration with the fact that some games certain lines are flying and other games it's other lines.
“We don’t have the rhythm or chemistry in our team right now that we need,” said McLellan. “We find one line and lose a line or find a pair and lose a pair (of defencemen). We have to get home now and get some rest and try to find all 20 players going at the same time. We’re not deep enough or strong enough to just get through with a line and a half or two lines going.”
McLellan this morning called out Pouliot saying that he has to play better and certainly Pouliot responded with an excellent game, including a pair of goals.
“I had a talk with Benny. It wasn’t a screaming match or anything, I just told him what I thought of him as a player and tried to get to him a little bit. I thought he had a much better game tonight. That line played well. It was easily our best line. He found a way to produce, which is a good thing for him and us.”
The head coach also changed up the power play units in an effort to try and shake things up offensively.
“Tonight we went with some new units and tried to mix things up. We didn’t get many opportunities but the shorthanded goal didn’t help our cause at all,” he said.
Edmonton only has one power play goal in its last seven games which has included 17 opportunities (5.8%). They've allowed two shorthanded goals in that time. McLellan said that the recall of Hunt was to try and help spark a struggling power play but due to delays, Hunt did not make it to Calgary from Bakersfield in time for the game.
“We were expecting Brad to come in. Obviously not being able to arrive changed things,” McLellan said. “He’s going to meet the team in Edmonton tomorrow. He’ll practice with us. I think he has the ability to help our power play from the back-end. It’s an area that we’re really struggling in right now.”
Extras: Khaira, Klinkhammer
Defence pairings were jumbled but these were the combinations most often used:
Ryan Miller, who left the Canucks game on December 20 in Florida during the shootout, will not play tonight. Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins stated that he will be out longer than he thought, estimating a week.
Chris Tanev is also out after not skating this morning. Chris Higgins skated this morning, as did Brandon Sutter (before the team), but neither will play tonight.
No Ryan Miller on the ice for the Canucks, meaning Markstrom will start vs Oilers.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 26, 2015
Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal for Vancouver.