Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins voiced his displeasure after the game that more players didn't step up, though he was happy with the ones who did.
"I thought some of the individuals that we asked for bigger games out of did that. We asked Yak [Nail Yakupov] to shoot the puck more, he was extremely dangerous, I think he had five or six shots."
Eakins was also impressed with the play of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
"I thought Ryan Nugent-Hopkins really stepped up his game. We did an excellent job staying out of the penalty box. The fact of the matter is we can’t have just five or six guys step up, we need all twenty guys pulling and maximizing their potential. If you’re not maximizing your potential you are doing our team a terrible disservice and that’s the difference of the game. It’s a game in which you outshoot and outchance but you don’t have two points, and all of the positives really don’t matter."
Eakins was asked how he can bring out that competitive nature in more of his players on a regular basis.
“Well that’s part of your job as a coach, and that’s probably the most difficult job there is as a coach. People are wired a certain way, they have a certain DNA, and when it comes to that there are different ways to go about it. The one thing you don’t want to get caught in is every 10 days you have to try and jump-start a guy. If you are jump starting your car every ten days you are probably getting rid of it. I think for the most part though we have very competitive guys and they are getting better at understanding that it has to be every night, not just 60 nights a year.”
One of the things Oilers winger Jordan Eberle was upset with during the game was the slow start that the team had.
“Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating," he said. "I can’t remember or recall many nights last year where we played like this or we outshot a team and outchanced them, and you have to give them their credit. They played well, made some big saves for them. Their biggest thing is their start. We get behind the eight ball, their two goals and we’re just playing from behind the rest of the game. It’s not easy to win games that way.”
Eberle felt the start weighed on the team mentally, particularly starting the road trip with such a bad bounce which led to the Voracek goal.
“Yeah, it’s definitely tough when you give up two right off the bat, especially on the road you’re coming back, you’re coming from behind, it’s not easy to do. We definitely made it interesting with all the chances we had and trying to get one we just couldn’t find a way. Their goalie kind of was there to stop the door every time we were there, but you know it goes back to the things you know, we have to find ways to win. I think the biggest thing for tonight that we take away is the start. We have to be ready to play hockey games.”
One positive for the Oilers on the night was Viktor Fasth stating after the game that he felt no ill effects of the groin injury which kept him on the shelf for several weeks.
“It felt great," he said. "It was one of the positive things. I didn’t feel anything, which was good. I’m really excited to be back out there and unfortunately we didn’t get the win today.”
He did, however, have to shake off some rust particularly in the opening period.
“It felt a little bit rusty in the beginning, but I felt better as the game went on. I can’t blame that I’ve been out two weeks for the loss. Wish I could have made a couple more saves.”
Starting goaltender will be Viktor Fasth.
Victor Fasth is first off...looks like he starts tonight in Philadelphia— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 4, 2014
- PRACTICE | Monday's comments
- RAW | Dallas Eakins
- RAW | Oscar Klefbom
- RAW | Andrew Ference
- RAW | Jordan Eberle
Following practice on Monday, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins commented on the three-game suspension to Oilers defenceman and captain Andrew Ference.
"The League has terribly hard decisions to make. I know for a fact that they take in all angles, guys’ past histories," Eakins began. "They leave no stone unturned. So I’m always comfortable with the League’s opinion and decision."
Eakins added that the loss of Ference for the first three games of this trip coupled with the loss of Taylor Hall for two-to-four weeks due to an MCL sprain is a tough blow for the club.
"We’re going to miss Andrew for sure. You can say what you want about Andrew but he gives us 100 maximum effort every night," Eakins remarked.
"It’s not a little bit of a loss, it’s a lot of a loss in the leadership department and in the player department. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s a time where you look for certain players to stand up. We know we have guys who will do that. We’re interested to see if some others who have been looking for that role and added ice time can back up their words for it."
Andrew Ference talked about the absence of both himself and Hall from the lineup and how the team will be able to adapt to losing two core players.
"All teams around the League go through it, with missing guys and people coming up and playing well. We had the same thing last year with guys coming up from OKC and play tremendous for us. It’s just part of the deal for every team in the League. Whatever circumstance it is," said Ference.
Coach Eakins remarked that Nikita Nikitin will be an option for him to dress on Tuesday so that should help fill the void of Hall and Ference being unavailable. The head coach added that he hopes other players on the team will step up as well.
"It’s a team sport. We need to lean on others and need to lean on some call-ups. Some guys who had good camps and had been playing in OK City to come up and help us," he said. "We’re going to put Pouliot up in Taylor’s spot to start but we’ve got all kinds of options."
Jordan Eberle talked about some of those options.
"You have to fill that by committee. One guy can’t pick up the slack, it’s got to be all of us. I think we did pretty well (against Vancouver). We kept the pace going," Eberle began.
"We feel a lot more comfortable, for sure. When a guy goes down like that you get an opportunity to play a little bit more."
One of those players who will be given an opportunity is Benoit Pouliot, who will be slotting into the top line left wing position normally occupied by Hall.
"Speaking for my line and myself, (Pouliot) is a great player," Eberle continued. "He’s going to step into that spot nicely. He carries that speed like Taylor does and leads the forecheck like Taylor does, too. He’s going to fit in nicely there."
Ference echoed Eberle's comments on needing the players to step up.
"Taylor being out, it’s going to hurt your team. But guys making up for his ice time, they’re good players in their own right. They’re going to do a good job and they’re in this league for a reason."
“It’s a good time down there. We have a good team, good coaches. Last year was obviously a big year for me, getting to know the coaching staff down there and how to play in North America so we’re playing pretty well I think.”
Klefbom has seven points (one goal, six assists) and is +7 through seven games in Oklahoma City.
“I’ve got a lot of responsibility down there. A lot of ice time and a little bit of power play as well.”
Coach Eakins stressed that he didn't want to put too much pressure on Klefbom and hopes that the defender will not try and do too much.
“We want him to continue on his path. Oscar plays the game hard. We know we’re going to get 100 max. There’s never any sense of any drop-off and effort. He’s going to give us everything that he has and we need that on our back-end.
“We just want him to go about his game as he normally does. There’s no need for him to step outside his box.”
"How can you not put him in? He’s worked hard, he’s put his nose to the grindstone and he understands his role," Eakins stated. "He can play centre and can play wing. To just bypass someone who’s been just sitting, waiting, I think it’s terribly wrong and I think it’s terribly disrespectful."
Acton has only played two games out of 11 for the Oilers since making the team out of camp. He has no points and five penalty minutes with a -1 rating.
"We’ll give Will a chance here early and if we have to make adjustments, we will," said Eakins.