INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 12.15.2014 / 12:49 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today that he has relieved Dallas Eakins of his head coaching duties and would be taking over behind the bench on a short-term basis. Todd Nelson will be joining the staff and the team will eventually transition to him as he becomes the Oilers interim head coach.

“(Nelson) will join me as I transition the team and the responsibilities of the team over to Todd,” MacTavish said. “I know the personnel well, so I want to help Todd with that transition. I want to be clear in my messaging to the players. I want to get in and get into the trenches. I think I have a very good idea and understanding of what the dynamic is there, but I want to get my hands on it for a short period of time and then I will transition it back over to Todd. Todd will remain as interim coach for the remainder of the year.”

Nelson had three 40-win seasons to start his career in Oklahoma City. He’s made the playoffs in each of his four seasons with the Barons, heading into this year. In 2012 and 2013, he led the Barons to the Western Conference Final. Nelson has the Barons off to an impressive start this season, with a 15-6-2-2 record. They had won eight-straight games at one point and were unbeaten in regulation in 10 straight.

“He’s done a terrific job with our minor league team in the American Hockey League,” MacTavish said. “He’s deserving of this opportunity, I want to help him transition this group and… give myself a chance to get my hands on it.”

MacTavish did not give a timeline for the transition process.

“I will leave at a reasonable time, when I think Todd is completely familiar with the group and with the players,” he said.

Gerry Fleming will take over as head coach in Oklahoma City. There are no other changes to the staffs as of now. MacTavish said the team has made no decisions on coaching staff for next season, but Nelson will have the rest of this year to be evaluated.

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.15.2014 / 11:55 AM MT
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POSTED ON Monday, 12.15.2014 / 10:31 AM MT

The press conference will be streamed live on 630 CHED.

It will be streamed live on the Oilers mobile app. Click the "radio" button in the top right corner of the main page of the app.

In his press conference, GM MacTavish announced that Todd Nelson will be joining the team from Oklahoma City and will be transitioning into the head coaching role in the "near future."

For now, MacTavish will be behind the bench as he helps Nelson with the transition.

More info to follow...

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.14.2014 / 11:24 AM MT

The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have recalled defenceman Brad Hunt from the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons.

Hunt, 26, has appeared in six games with the Oilers this season, posting his first National Hockey League goal on October 11th against the Vancouver Canucks.

The 5'9", 187-pound defenceman has registered 22 points (7G, 15A), six penalty minutes and a plus seven rating in 17 games with Oklahoma City this season.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 12:12 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 12:08 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers are trying some new looks down the middle on their power play with Matt Hendricks setting up in front of the net on one unit and Tyler Pitlick on the other.

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about continuing to find the right mix.

“We continue to search for goals (on the power play) and we’ll keep changing it, adjusting it, hammering on it,” he began.

“Hendy (Matt Hendricks) will not leave the front of that net when the puck’s up on the point. He’s good on retrievals. He’s heavy on pucks, we’ve got to have that. What happens on your power play usually is when a guy like that goes on it, there’s usually someone with skill who moves off or moves to another unit. It’s where we’re at now. We have to have somebody in front of the net.”

The head coach added that he felt that losing Boyd Gordon's faceoff ability -- he remains out with a back injury -- puts the team in a tough position.

“When you get into these situations, boy do you miss Boyd Gordon and the value that he brings our team in the faceoff circle.”

With Pitlick in front of the net on the other unit, Eakins is taking a page out of the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.

“Pitter is going to be our bumper up there. He was doing it in Oklahoma City. We were chatting with (Barons head coach Todd Nelson) down there and he was real efficient there.”

While Pitlick has not been a centre for most of his pro career, Eakins does like his faceoff ability.

“He has centre in his background and can win face-offs as well. We’ll put him in that role on that unit.”

Pitlick played centre for a good number of shifts on Friday against Anaheim.

“I only moved him there for a shift or two and he did so well that I just let it run, I kept going with him. I thought he looked really good there. Is that a long-term approach for him? Probably not, at this level. But he was one of the guys for me last night that was going. He was playing and he was being physical. He’s in the mindset right now, whatever we ask him to do he just nods his head. You end up having a lot of time for players like that.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 12:00 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Like last Sunday, the Oilers are not skating tomorrow morning. With the team coming off four games in six days and the Rangers playing tonight (and also not skating tomorrow), Coach Eakins felt that fresh legs were important for the club.

"You see that first period last night, we're pooched. Fourth game in six nights. With a win last night and better execution you wouldn't have seen us today. I would have liked to keep them right away from the rink to get them some rest but we needed touches. We had to go back on that power play again. We got that done today and now we need them to rest," Eakins stated.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 11:36 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Tyler Pitlick will be on a line with Mark Arcobello and David Perron on Sunday night against the New York Rangers. For Pitlick, he's skating with a couple of players he's familiar with. He skated with Perron in his first game up with the Oilers back on December 1 and played with Arcobello in Oklahoma City.

"I think it’ll be great," said Pitlick of his new linemates. "Me and Arco played together my first year in OKC pretty much the whole year. And on and off throughout the years that he was there. He was up and down quite a bit.

"I’m familiar with him and we’re kind of familiar with each other. We can trust each other so I think it’ll be good to have that factor," Pitlick continued. "Me and Perron played together that first game and I thought we played well together getting pucks in deep, playing a simple game and letting the forecheck take care of the work."

Arcobello added that he was looking forward to playing with Pitlick.

"He plays hard every game. He’s got good speed and size and likes to throw the body. It’s nice to have him on the forecheck. He’ll chip it in and press a lot of those D. It’s going to be good."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 10:17 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
The Oilers are on the ice for practice this morning at Rexall Place.

Line combinations are:

Hall-RNH-Purcell
Yakupov-Draisaitl-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Pitlick
Gazdic-Hendricks-Pinizzotto
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POSTED ON Friday, 12.12.2014 / 1:13 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers need to get more pucks to the net, especially on the power play. They also want more slap shots to head towards the net than wristers.

Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke about hat and the Oilers need for players like Justin Schultz to become that shot presence from the blueline.

“Justin’s first thought is get the puck to the net and we’re all for that. But we have asked him to start teeing it up because he can shoot it,” Eakins said.

Eakins says the Oilers don’t have that feared heavy shot from the point like the Predators have in Shea Weber, so it falls on the rest of the players just to shoot it.

“Do we have a guy that’s got a huge gun like some teams have a d-man back there that everybody in the league knows… it’s coming? We really don’t really have a guy like that,” Eakins said. “That being said, I’m not sure who can’t shoot the puck with these sticks. Everybody can gun it, you just have to be committed to, ‘I’m shooting the puck here and that’s it.’”

“If you have a chance to shoot it, I’d much rather you tickle the rafters with your stick and gun it than just wrist it through.”

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