BLOGS
POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:18 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

No NHL team can rely on one line to always provide the offence, which is why it is imperative the Oilers get the line of Benoit Pouliot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle playing with the consistency they’ve shown they can achieve, particularly last season.

“Obviously, we’re working as a team here,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We need contributions from everybody, from D to forwards. Our line definitely needs to keep producing. Since the break here, we’ve done a little bit better job of it.”

That line combined for five points against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. They scored one of the Oilers two goals on December 29 against the Los Angeles Kings, and combined for six points against the Calgary Flames on December 27.

“It’s much better now, that’s for sure,” said Pouliot. “We’re trying to get back to what we were doing last year together. We’re finding each other a little bit more. We’re talking more too, which is nice. In the offensive zone, we know where we’re going.”

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan was happy with that line’s performance against Arizona. Eberle scored twice, while Pouliot finished the game with two assists and Nugent-Hopkins had one helper, as well as a shootout goal.

“I felt confident with that line,” said McLellan.

“Just that group alone, I thought was our most effective group throughout the night.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:17 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Todd McLellan was bullish when he talked about the performance Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had against Arizona on Saturday.

“He wanted the puck tonight. He wanted it on his tape, he was ready to shoot it, guys were getting it back for him. That’s good for those three and that’s good for our team,” said the head coach.

The centre finished the game with an assist and three shots on goal in 21:30 of ice time, adding a shootout tally at the end of the game to win it. He also came close to ending it in OT with a speedy rush down the right wing.

“I thought Nuge had a really good game,” said McLellan. “I don’t know what anybody else thought. But standing back there, I kept wanting to put him on the ice. He battled, he stripped pucks, he created a great opportunity for (Jordan Eberle) on the (game-tying goal) and I felt confident with him.”

Nugent-Hopkins has four assists in his last four games.

“There’s been games where I could have had a few but didn’t get the bounces and a few where it’s kind of gone the other way too,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “You’ve just got to try to stay positive.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 10:04 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.

SWEDEN 6, SLOVAKIA 0



The Swedes stayed perfect at the 2016 World Junior Championships with a 6-0 beatdown of Slovakia in the quarterfinal.

Sweden got off to a fast start, with Joel Eriksson Ek giving them a 1-0 lead at 5:10 of the first. Oskar Lindblom would score 6:25 later to make in 2-0 heading into the intermission.

Christoffer Ehn made it 3-0 at 10:07 of the middle frame, and then goals by Adrian Kempe, Jens Looke (shorthanded) and Alexander Nylander closed out the 6-0 decision in the third.

Swedish netminder Linus Soderstrom needed only to make 17 saves for the shutout.

Oilers prospect William Lagesson did not register a point, but was +2. He had one shot on goal.

Sweden now advances to the semifinal and will play the winner of Canada vs. Finland.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.30.2015 / 2:00 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was a close call in Tuesday night’s game against Los Angeles. Oilers winger Matt Hendricks took a stick right above his eye, cutting him. He got cleaned and stitched up, but it was a frightening several minutes.

“Scary incident last night off a faceoff in the third. A stick got me pretty good. It was a scary moment for me for a while there,” said Hendricks.

The winger had previously not worn a visor, but that will change moving forward.

“I don’t know if I’ll take it off after that,” he said.

Sometimes it takes a scary moment to break traditions.

“The game is a very traditional game,” said Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’re very apprehensive for change. You can see that with the rules and the size of the rink and all that type of stuff. Players have those apprehensions too. You don’t want to change. You come into the league a certain way. You look at (Craig MacTavish) or Doug Wilson. I think they were the last two to not wear helmets. I think both of them were crazy. But now, as time goes on and everybody who enters the league wears a shield, the ones who aren’t you wonder why they aren’t. It’s personal preference. They’re allowed to make that choice. Matty got a scare and he’s going to put it on. Good for him.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.30.2015 / 1:59 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Anyone who knows Darnell Nurse as a player or person wasn’t surprised by him stepping up for his teammate on Tuesday night. Nurse challenged veteran tough guy Milan Lucic to drop the gloves following his hit on Lauri Korpikoski in the corner.

Nurse said after the game he was just looking out for his teammate, something that is not lost on the Oilers head coach.

“It says volumes about his character,” said Todd McLellan. “He’s all in, for one. He’s got a lot of courage, for two. He’s trying to establish himself in a real tough league, is the third one. I think he earned a lot of respect from his teammates and probably around the league as well. It takes a lot of courage to do that.”

Little things like Nurse’s courage are what helps pull a team together and ignite pushback.

“There are the unsung things that happen during a game that give people the lift,” said McLellan. “The goals and all that type of stuff is pretty evident, but the blocked shots seem to do that, the sticking up for a teammate, if you get a big faceoff win, getting the puck out at the blueline in a stressful situation. Those are all things that give groups a lift. Players recognize it on the bench, the coaches recognize it. We acknowledge it verbally. It can give teams a lift and I think Darnell did that last night for us as well.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.30.2015 / 1:58 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers could get a welcomed body back on the blueline when they host the Ducks on Thursday as Brandon Davidson has skated with the team these last few days and is almost ready to return from his rib injury.

“He had a good practice today,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I would say that he’s pretty much ready to go, unless somebody tells me otherwise after our meeting here.”

With forward Iiro Pakarinen out with an undisclosed injury suffered Tuesday against Los Angeles, one of two players could make their return to the lineup in his stead.

Either Rob Klinkhammer or Jujhar Khaira are the choices for McLellan.

“Klink is getting close as well, so it will be one of JJ or Klink to come in,” said the coach.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.30.2015 / 11:22 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice for practice on Wednesday at Rexall Place. Iiro Pakarinen is not participating, after leaving last night’s game with an injury. Eric Gryba is not on the ice either.

Rob Klinkhammer and Brandon Davidson are both skating again as they get closer to returning.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.28.2015 / 12:00 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place.

Brandon Davidson (undisclosed) is skating, as is the recalled Brad Hunt.

Power play seems to be a focus this morning. The units are as follows:

Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell-Lander-Hunt

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle-Letestu-Schultz/Sekera

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.28.2015 / 9:42 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.

SWEDEN 1, USA 0



Sweden continued its hot start to the 2016 World Junior Championships with a 1-0 win over the United States.

USA outshot the Swedes 46-23, and controlled large portions of play. However, goaltender Linus Soderstrom had a perfect performance in net, shutting out the Americans.

Alexander Nylander scored the game’s lone goal at 2:41 of the second period. He was assisted by Dmytro Timashov and Gabriel Carlsson.

Oilers prospect William Lagesson finished the game with two penalty minutes.

Sweden looks to stay undefeated when they play Denmark on Wednesday at 7 a.m. MT.

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.28.2015 / 7:00 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Read Press Release | Career in Photos | Laurikainen recalled | Bio & Career Stats

The Oilers have acquired forward Zack Kassian from the Montreal Canadiens, in exchange for goaltender Ben Scrivens.

Kassian, 24, was taken 13th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has played 198 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, scoring 35 goals and adding 31 assists and 307 penalty minutes. He has played eight NHL playoff games.

The Windsor, ON native has been involved in two previous NHL trades. Buffalo sent him to the Canucks in 2012, in exchange for Cody Hodgson. On July 1, 2015, Montreal acquired the forward and a fifth-round pick from Vancouver, in exchange for Brandon Prust.

The physical forward’s best NHL season, production wise, came in the 2013-14 season with Vancouver. Kassian posted a career high 14 goals and added 15 assists for 29 points in 73 games. He also had 124 penalty minutes that season.

Kassian played his junior hockey for Peterborough and Windsor. He won a Memorial Cup with the Spitfires in 2010 and captured a silver medal at the 2011 World Junior Championships.

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