INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 10.5.2015 / 11:28 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice for their first regular season practice of 2015-16, after finalizing their opening day roster this morning.

Line Combinations:

Pouliot-RNH-Purcell
Hall-McDavid-Slepyshev
Korpiksoki-Lander-Yakupov
Klinkhammer/Gazdic-Letestu-Hendricks

Defence:

Klefbom-Schultz
Sekera-Fayne
Reinhart-Gryba
Ference-Davidson

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POSTED ON Monday, 10.5.2015 / 10:16 AM MT

The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned centre Leon Draisaitl to the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors.

The Oilers have finalized their 23-man roster for the start of the 2015-16 NHL season, which includes two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards. Both Jordan Eberle and Dillon Simpson are currently injured and not on the Oilers active roster.

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POSTED ON Monday, 10.5.2015 / 9:59 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

UPDATE: Ben Scrivens has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the AHL.

The Oilers have placed goaltender Ben Scrivens on waivers for the purpose of assignment.

Scrivens had a 15-26-11 record last season with a 3.16 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in 57 games played. The season before, he was 9-11-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .916 save percentage for Edmonton in 21 games.

Overall in 78 games, Scrivens has a 3.12 goals-against average and .898 save percentage with two shutouts and a 24-37-11 record.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 10.4.2015 / 9:58 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

UPDATE: Nikitin has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors.

The Oilers have placed defenceman Nikita Nikitin on waiver for the purpose of assignment. Last season, Nikitin had four goals and 10 points in 42 games with the Oilers with 12 penalty minutes and a -10 rating.

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POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 5:05 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
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POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 2:50 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

There were a lot of teaching moments on the ice today for the Oilers. Head Coach Todd McLellan directed an intense practice at Rexall Place and ended things with a unique drill.

Half the players positioned themselves against the boards with space in between. The other half lined up behind them. When the whistle blew, the players would battle for the puck until they heard the whistle again. They’d rotate partners and engage in another battle at the whistle. This rotated through as the players worked on positioning and battling, through fatigue.

“It’s a form of a body position, competitive-type drill that forces you to be athletic and strong when you get fatigued,” said McLellan. “It tests your mental capacity to stick with it. You can line your team up and skate them back and forth forever without pucks and most of them are in well enough condition to handle that. That battle drill is the game, in my opinion. It happens along the boards, you move to your next job. It happens (again) along the boards, you move to your next job. They did a good job of it.”

McLellan can’t remember when he first utilized the drill, but admits he likely first saw it as a player.

“It was a staple of ours in some of the other places that I’ve coached when our games got away from us and we weren’t nose over the puck. It will become a staple of ours when we need it,” said McLellan.

Captain Andrew Ference thinks the essential lessons taught in the drill pay dividends on the ice in games.

“The smaller details of your body positioning and where you’re battling from end up making a huge difference in your team,” said Ference. “Obviously, we have a long way to go from our last couple years. Bringing down goals against, being a harder team to play against and those are the lessons for sure.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 2:47 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Taylor Hall said last night’s 5-2 loss to Vancouver was the first time this pre-season that things didn’t go according to plan for the Oilers. Head Coach Todd McLellan said he wouldn’t give any of his position groups a passing grade for the night. Today’s practice was the team’s first chance to work towards their bounce back.

“We’re trying to define standards and what’s acceptable and unacceptable,” said McLellan. “We have played some good hockey in the exhibition season. We followed it up last night with a game that was, in my opinion, unacceptable in a lot of different areas and that can happen. We’re a team that’s going to learn a lot of lessons as we go. It’s how we respond to them, how we approach the next day, how we as a staff try and structure the day so we can get better. I didn’t think we were at a level we needed to be in a lot of the confined areas of the game and we worked on that today. Yesterday, I was disappointed in the group and today I was proud of the group and it can happen that way. We can have some days where it’s not that good, but we better respond the next day. Hopefully, we got our footing underneath us again and we’re ready to play the proper way in Vancouver tomorrow.”

Is it possible to teach that kind of rebound in the pre-season, or does it take time to develop? Well, bad games are going to happen. McLellan says no matter who you are you have bad games. It’s about knowing what you can live with and what needs to be addressed. That may take time to cultivate, but today was a start.

“I think defining the standards is what we’re trying to do. What’s acceptable and what isn’t? We’re going to have bad games,” said McLellan. “I know Chicago has won three Stanley Cups in the last six years and they’ve had bad games too. It’s what you do as a team after to get better and how you accept that. We spent good time on video today, pointing out situations, not necessarily systems but just situations, execution situations. Then we parlayed that into time on the ice. When they left (practice) they were tired.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 2:46 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers may have something in 2013 third-round pick Anton Slepyshev. This is the winger’s first season in North America after playing in the KHL, and he has done nothing but impress so far in training camp and pre-season.

He has played so well that he is now getting time on a line with skilled players, Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. With Jordan Eberle out 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, Slepyshev has stepped up to help fill the void.

Head Coach Todd McLellan agreed with the media that he continues to warrant discussion for the opening night roster.

“When I look at his game, and we watched the video again, the video doesn’t lie,” said McLellan. “He did a lot of the things we worked on today in the game (on Thursday night). He’s a young player, but he’s played pro hockey before. You can see it. He’s been around pro players before. It doesn’t matter what league you’re in, you’re just around older players, more mature players and he carries himself well.”

McLellan said earlier in camp that Slepyshev was “opening our eyes” to what he can do. The 21-year-old can fill spots up and down the lineup, with the ability to play a faster, skilled game or a slower, heavier game. McLellan says the winger has the ability to change the dynamic of a line, depending on who he is replacing.

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POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 11:23 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have taken to the ice at Rexall Place for their Friday morning skate.

Line combinations:

Hall-McDavid-Slepyshev
Pouliot-RNH-Purcell
Draisaitl-Lander-Yakupov
Korpikoski-Letestu-Hendricks

Gazdic and Klinkhammer are rotating in.

There are eight defencemen on the ice. Oscar Klefbom (who is a little banged up per Head Coach Todd McLellan) is not among them.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.30.2015 / 5:58 PM MT
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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG