After three groups of players went through a few drills and some fitness testing yesterday, the team was on the ice for a full practice today.
“It’s nice to be back,” Taylor Hall said. “It was a long time not skating and certainly, I don’t feel 100% out there. It’s just very awkward and all of your gear seems to be like it’s new or something. I’m having fun being back. It’s good to be around the guys. It’s just good to be practicing again and get your heart rate up.”
For the Oilers, it was nice to get back into the swing of a full practice.
“Today’s another day to get used to being with the guys and, for me, trying to track pucks and get in front and re-establish good habits,” Goalie Ben Scrivens said. “It’s still early. We’ve got some time left and it’s feeling better. Yesterday was a little sketchy out there. Today felt better and hopefully tomorrow’s even better than that. It’s a matter of establishing good habits and trying to go from there.”
The Oilers are attempting to use the Olympic break to install some things into their systems before the NHL season picks back up again.
“The first couple of days is just making sure we have our hands and our heads back up to speed,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’ll be modifying some things that we’ve been doing with some of our system stuff and adding some stuff to it as well. It’s interesting. You actually have more time right now to work with your team than you actually do at training camp because you’re preparing for the games in camp as well.”
Hall added, “We’re changing a couple of things system-wise. If there is a time to do it, it’s right now just to get used to everything and what it’s like to practice like that. I think for me, I’m just kind of working on the basics again. Just shooting, passing, skating and making sure that when I come back for these last 22 games, I’m the best I can be.”
Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry was named to the Des Moines Buccaneers Hall of Fame. Petry, who played two seasons for the USHL team before beginning his collegiate career at Michigan State, talked about the accomplishment after practice on Thursday.
“It’s an honour to be inducted into that hall of fame,” Petry said. “There’s guys like (Los Angeles Kings) Trevor Lewis, I think he got inducted two years ago. It’s an honour to be a part of that.”
Petry played two seasons for the Buccaneers and scored 45 points (18-27-45) in 55 games during the 2006-2007 campaign. He says he never expected to get such an honour from the club.
“I didn’t. My goal, at that point, was to get a college commitment and to go to college, spend four years there and ultimately, I was drafted after my first year there. It just kind of put things into perspective go how things happen quick and how my dream of playing in the NHL was one step closer.”
The Oilers will be back on the ice early tomorrow morning as practice starts at 8 a.m. The early practice will give the players an opportunity to watch the semifinals game between Canada and USA.
“I like to sleep in,” Taylor Hall said. “But it is a huge game for our country and it will be nice to watch it with the rest of the nation.”
Hall says he doesn’t know whose idea it was for the early practice and joked he might have chosen more sleep over the early start time.
“It wasn’t (my idea), I’ll tell you that. It will be nice to watch the game. I like to sleep in a little bit, but that’s just me.”
The Oilers are hoping that they can pick up where they left off before the Olympic break, winning five of their last seven games. They feel like their confidence is pretty high as they return to work.
“I think there’s a few teams in the league that haven’t done very well before the break and they’re probably not coming back with the same confidence that we are,” Taylor Hall said. “We have to carry that and make sure that we know the things that we were doing well and just continue them.”
When asked whether or not he thought the team would take off running when the break ends, Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was undecided on an answer.
“That’s a hard one to answer,” Eakins said. “I’m not sure. All the teams are in the same boat coming back. I think the pulse in the room yesterday and today was upbeat. Even though we fully understand where we’re at in the standings, I think getting some points and especially with how we played the last two games, were real positive signs. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off. But it will be interesting to see, not only how are team comes out of it but how the top teams come out of this. This is real interesting with having players over there playing, coming back from huge time zone changes and see how teams do pick up afterwards.”
Thursday practice is underway at Rexall Place.
The lines, by jersey colour, are as follows:
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Yakupov
Gazdic - Gagner - Eberle
Hendricks - Gordon - Perron
Joensuu - Smyth - Jones
Philip Larsen (illness) is participating.
MINI-CAMP RAW | Jordan Eberle
MINI-CAMP RAW | Andrew Ference
MINI-CAMP RAW | Jesse Joensuu
MINI-CAMP RAW | Ryan Smyth
IN FOCUS | Back to the Grind
The Oilers are back at Rexall Place for practice this afternoon. The team is broken up into three groups today.
And we're back. Oilers with 3 sessions today at Rexall Place. pic.twitter.com/qldLozSsDU— Tom Gazzola (@TomGazzola) February 19, 2014
2:00 PM GROUP 1:
- Jordan Eberle
- Andrew Ference
- Boyd Gordon
- Jesse Joensuu
- Mark Fraser
- Ryan Smyth
- Ilya Bryzgalov
2:45 PM GROUP 2:
- Taylor Hall
- Nick Schultz
- Luke Gazdic
- Ryan Jones
- Philip Larsen
- David Perron
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Coach Frederic Chabot in net
The Oklahoma City Barons announced an AHL trade that sent Nicholas Tremblay to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in exchange for Greg Miller.
Miller is a 24-year-old forward from Toronto who spent four years at Cornell University. He has played nine games for the Tigers in the AHL this season. He has also skated in 37 games with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, scoring 17 goals and adding 21 assists.
Both players involved in the trade were on AHL deals.
My thoughts on the trade: Tremblay is a great guy, but Miller is a point-per-game guy this year. Can't argue with numbers.— Ryan Holt (@BroadcastHolt) February 19, 2014