The Oilers announced that they have recalled winger Andrew Miller from the AHL Bakersfield Condors. In four games, Miller has a goal and two assists for three points, including the first-ever goal in Condors history.
In the corresponding move, they placed forward Matt Hendricks (foot) on injured reserve.
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- BLOG: McLellan comments on coaching at the World Cup
- BLOG: Team making progress
- BLOG: Oilers on the ice Friday
- BLOG: McLellan to coach U23 North American squad
- BLOG: Oilers shake up power play units
- PRACTICE | Friday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE RAW | Coach Todd McLellan
- PRACTICE RAW | Connor McDavid
- PRACTICE RAW | Mark Letestu
- PRACTICE RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The second unit had Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu and Nail Yakupov with Andrej Sekera and Connor McDavid on the point.
The biggest change was Mark Letestu being added, but the veteran centre said that being on the power play is not something foreign to him.
"This is one of my roles," he said. "In Pittsbugh, I played on the power play and in Columbus played on the power play on the point. That's what I did before I was an Oiler. There's no nerves going into this, this is what my job is. I play in a lot of situations and a lot of different roles and I've largely been successful as a power play player. I'm happy for the opportunity and hopefully get the guys going."
Letetsu added that his faceoff prowess will be a big help to the club, particularly in terms of keeping possession of the puck and keeping it in the offensive zone.
"I think that's one of the obvious things for me to get out there. We're going to get out there and win the draw early. Hopefully it'll allow us to get at least the first 20 seconds in the zone rather than chasing back. The face-off will definitely be a big key to me being out there."
He added that even though he's taking the draws, he'll be dropping back to the point once the unit gets set up.
"I'm probably actually going to be viewed as the other defenceman in that unit. For right now, I'll be one of the guys on the flank, probably shooting and delivering pucks and making the plays for the guys."
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan talked about where the team is at at this point in the season, with four straight regulation losses giving them a 0-4-0 record to start.
“I’m not surprised — I’m a little disappointed — but I’m not surprised," McLellan began. "The players who haven’t been here for very long, they’re wondering and they’re not sure. Players who have been here for awhile they’re going to be the big ones who are going to dictate where we go, how they react to the four losses."
From the coach staff's standpoint, the team is making progress but the players cannot afford to get down on themselves, particularly those players who have been around for the past three to five seasons.
"If they put their heads down and don’t stick their chest out it’s going to make it even tougher. If they hold their heads high and come and compete as hard as they can and give us an opportunity for success then we’ll be okay.
“We knew that we had a lot of work to do here and that hasn’t changed.”
As for positives, McLellan feels that the team has played well defensively for the most part but still need to avoid the mental breakdowns every now and then if they want to compete with heavy, veteran squads like Nashville and St. Louis.
“I think that the forwards have to be able to help the D out as well. We’ve been a fairly strong defensive team. Not perfect, but fairly strong for three or four games. Mistakes were made and mature teams capitalized on it. Do we need to get better? Absolutely. We need to be cleaner coming out, we need to be faster coming through the middle of the rink. A lot of that is on the defensive play, not just the defenceman. But that’s not the only area. We’ve got a lot of areas to improve on.”
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan spoke with the media following practice on Friday about being named head coach of the Under-23 Team North America at next fall's World Cup of Hockey.
“It’s an exciting opportunity. I had such a great experience this past spring in the Czech Republic with the National Team. It left such a good taste in my mouth to be around the players and to have a chance at success. I’m looking forward to this opportunity," said McLellan, adding he hasn't had a lot of time to think about it. "It’s so far away, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. Obviously, all the time and energy I’ve got is being put towards what I’ve got going on here and that’s something that will continue to be our focus and needs to be our focus going forward.”
McLellan was asked if he felt it might be a disadvantage for him to be away from the team for a majority of training camp next year while being away in Toronto coaching the Under-23 squad. His answer was two-fold.
“I feel, with having a staff that’s familiar with myself — coming from San Jose is a benefit. We’ll be a year into the program," McLellan began. "We should be polished, or at least working towards advancing our game and our program so I feel good about that.”
He also added that the way the schedule works out, the opening round ends on September 22. Only the top-two groups out of four advance from each pool and NHL Training Camps are set to commence immediately after that, on September 23.
“From a selfish standpoint, you hope you miss training camp because that means the young team has played very well in that tournament. But if it doesn’t have success, I think we can be back for opening day of training camp as well," he said. "The NHL and the Player’s Association have done a good job — Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the rest of the federations — of planning the tournament and setting it up so a lot of players and coaches can be back if they don’t have success.”
The Oilers head coach was also asked about coaching a younger team. He pointed out that it's not a lot different from what he's doing right now here in Edmonton.
“It will be, when you compare it to the World Championships, but not a lot different from what we have going on here. You’ve got Reinhart and Connor and Nuge and Leon and Darnell Nurse. Those types of young players that are involved in the organization.
“It’s a pool of players that we’re going to be growing up with over the next three or four years.”
The NHL announced today that Oilers head coach Todd McLellan will be coaching the Under-23 North American team at the World Cup next September.
The NHL's official press release had a quote from Oilers GM and Team North America GM Peter Chiarelli:
"We are excited to name our head coach and management team for our World Cup squad. They all know what it takes to win at the highest level and we're looking forward to working together for next September's competition."
Read the Entire Press Release Here >>
Gazdic-Letestu-Slepyshev (with Klinkhammer rotating in)
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The Oilers play in Dallas on Tuesday, and their lineup could see two new additions.
“There’s a chance that both will get an opportunity to play tomorrow,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It’s early in the year. Davy is here and we’ve talked about wanting to use him and see what he can do, give him a chance to perform and he’ll likely get that opportunity.”
Davidson was paired with Eric Gryba at practice today.
As for in net, Talbot has played well the first two games for Edmonton but Tuesday could be a chance for him to rest with Nilsson a likely starter against the Stars, according to McLellan.
“Anders will have a real good chance at playing tomorrow,” said the bench boss. “He hasn’t played since the Arizona game in exhibition. It’s time for him to get in and perform.”
Sunday was a CBA-required day off for the Oilers and the players used it to their advantage, enjoying a beautiful day in Dallas while taking in some professional sporting events.
A group of players went to either one or both of the NFL game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys and the MLB playoff game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers. Several Oilers players are Blue Jays fans and had the opportunity to support Canada’s baseball team as they beat the Rangers 5-1 to stay alive in their series.
“It was fun. It was a good day,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “It was my first NFL game, which is really cool. It was good to experience that and I’ve always been a fan of the Jays. It worked out perfectly timing wise, it’s just across the street. It was a great game and a lot of fun. Great ballpark too.”
Some of the players were caught on television celebrating Troy Tulowitzki’s home run. The Oilers head coach was happy his players were able to experience a pair of events like the two games on their day away from the rink.
“Timing is excellent, really, for our team to be on the road,” said Todd McLellan. “A Sunday off and they can get out in the fresh air and cheer on the Blue Jays, of course, and see a tremendous football game. I think it’s really important sometimes for athletes from different sports to interact and to see each other perform, the level of preparation and commitment and all that type of stuff. It was a good day for our guys.”