INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 06.01.2014 / 1:09 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers decided to try something different this morning. Following their 5-3 win over Tampa Bay last night, Head Coach Dallas Eakins told the media that the team would practice at 8 a.m. today, which they did.

"It's a little early," said Taylor Hall. "For a guy like myself, I haven't put on the shin pads that early since minor hockey, but it was a good practice. I think everyone was upbeat and it's going to be nice getting home pretty early today."

The team appeared to have some jump this morning, despite the earlier start to practice. They went for about 50 minutes today. Eakins weighed in on practice and what made his decision to change times.

"Man, I thought they were good," said the coach. "Boy, they were sharp and we were moving the puck and had some jump in our step. I actually quite liked it from a practice standpoint and a work ethic standpoint. The whole thought process is a bunch of different things. I'm an early riser. I pull out of my driveway very early and I see my neighbours and people along the road and as you're going, you're thinking and finding inspiration.

"It's like… I wonder if that guy likes his job? It's six-o-clock and he's heading out, or that lady, and you hope that they do like it. Then you find yourself, I'm going to work. I'm not sure I'm going to work. I absolutely love coming to the rink every day and then you think about the players and what a privilege it is to play in the league. With us coming off of Christmas and New Years, the great people in this city and fans are all getting back to work. This is kind of the week which, if you've had your holidays, you're back into the grind and I just thought that this would be a good week for us to… Holidays are over, let's move practice up. Let's be like everybody else in this city and get up and go to work early.

"I say go to work early, but these guys play. We play a game for a living and I get to coach for a living. I just thought we'd change it up for the week and have a few early practices to be more like the fans and the people of this city who get up and go at it and grind it out every day."

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POSTED ON Monday, 06.01.2014 / 10:28 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
After a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay, it's no surprise today's lineup mirrors the winning combination from last night.

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Perron
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Gazdic/Joensuu-Arcobello-Jones

Ference-J. Schultz
Marincin-Petry
N. Schultz-Hunt

Belov

No Corey Potter (groin) or Philip Larsen (illness)

The team is upbeat despite an early start to practice and the team is participating in some full-ice one-on-one drills and power play work.

As first tweeted by Bob Stauffer, the Oilers Power Play units look like this:

4-93-14-57-19 and 83-89-94-59-64
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POSTED ON Monday, 06.01.2014 / 12:02 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers are hoping that 21-year-old defenceman Martin Marincin is the real deal. They took him in the second round, 46th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

After playing the past four seasons in Oklahoma City with Barons, Marincin earned his first call up to the NHL earlier this season. This is his second stint with the Oilers, and he has shown improvement since his initial time in Edmonton.

“He’s more assertive,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I think when you get that first one you’re nervous, you don’t dare want to make a mistake and I think you play hesitant a lot of times. When we sent him back, Craig (MacTavish) and I sat with him and gave him a very clear outline of what we needed him to be better at and most of it comes from being assertive and playing like he does in the American League.

“He’s come back and he’s done that for the most part. He’s got a lot of growing to do, he’s got a lot to learn about the game, but the thing he gives us back there is size. He’s not a heavy guy yet. He still looks like boy but his range with that stick, he can get us out of trouble with that long, long range.”

At 6-foot-4 and 188 pounds, the Oilers are hoping Marincin can develop into a big defenceman that they need on their blue line.

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POSTED ON Monday, 06.01.2014 / 12:01 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says he has a plan for rotating his two goaltenders. Ilya Bryzgalov has started six of the last eight games for the team, but that doesn’t mean he has overtaken Devan Dubnyk as the team’s number one netminder.

“No,” Eakins said when asked if Bryzgalov was the number one based on his recent stretch of starts. “It just means he’s played six of the last eight. Both of our goalies are more than capable of being the number one guy. (Dubnyk) has already had a lot of starts. We’re just trying to get Bryz up to speed. I think he’s earned his starts and it’s important to get a guy like him some workload now. His body is ready for it and we’ll see how he reacts.”

Bryzgalov made 24 saves in tonight’s 5-3 win over Tampa Bay. Dubnyk has 10 of the Oilers wins this season in 30 games while Bryzgalov has three in his 12 games.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.01.2014 / 2:16 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers winger Jordan Eberle returns to the lineup after sitting out one game with a knee injury, following a run in with Logan Couture in San Jose.

“It was awkward,” said Eberle of his collision with Couture. “I just tried to step up and hit him and just felt my knee tweak a bit. I think the adrenaline of the game kept going. I felt all right to play then the next day, it hit me. Like most injuries, it was really, really sore. It’s tough to sit out, but you kind of get a (different) perspective from up top and I’m happy to be back.”

In 43 games this season, Eberle has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points, which is tied for second on the team.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.01.2014 / 2:15 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

37-year-old Ryan Smyth seems to have found the fountain of youth this season. He is not only able to keep up with the speed of play on the ice, but has been a solid forward for the Oilers this season. It is all thanks to his preparation on and off the ice, which has allowed him to continue to perform.

“Over the course of the year, he’s been solid,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I think when you get up in the late stages of your career, you really start to focus in on everything that’s going to make your body churn. What you put in it, how you’re going to train and all of those things. He made a real big commitment to that this summer.

“He’s helped us on the penalty kill. I’ve tried to utilize him where he’s best on our power play. He’s one of those guys that is willing to go stand right in front of the net and take a beating. He’s been a solid guy and a guy that the rest of our group needs to look at how he carries himself in the community and how he carries himself with our fans. He’s a pro and we need a lot of our guys to emulate that.”

Smyth has six goals and eight assists in 34 games this season. He has already bettered his totals from last season, as he finished the 2012-2013 campaign with two goals and 11 assists in 47 games.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.01.2014 / 12:00 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers prospects Anton Slepyshev and Bogdan Yakimov helped lead Russia to a 2-1 win over Canada on Sunday to capture the Bronze Medal at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Slepyshev, Russia's captain, had four shots on goal and a minus-one rating. Yakimov was an alternate captain and had an even rating with one shot.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.01.2014 / 4:26 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers announced that they have assigned centre Anton Lander to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.01.2014 / 12:30 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Both Oilers prospects at the World Junior Hockey Championship are currently playing for Russia -- Anton Slepyshev and Bogdan Yakimov. On Saturday morning, the Russians lost to Sweden 2-1 and will now play the loser of Canada vs. Finland for the Bronze Medal.

Neither player had any points in the game. In terms of plus/minus they both had an even rating. Slepyshev had three shots on goal and Yakimov had two.

Slepyshev is tied for the team lead in points with seven. He has two goals and five assists and is +7 with 16 shots on goal.

Yakimov has a goal and an assist, is +2 with nine shots on goal.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.01.2014 / 9:46 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

As per the lines the Oilers used during pre-game warmups in Anaheim, Ales Hemsky moves up to the second line.

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INSIDE THE OILERS