INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 3:22 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

VIDEO: Post-Practice Story (coming) | Dallas Eakins Jordan Eberle | Justin Schultz | Boyd Gordon

AUDIO: Dallas Eakins | Jordan Eberle | Justin Schultz | Boyd Gordon

The Oilers practiced in Leduc on Friday prior to departure for their weekend games in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

The line combinations at practice were:

Yakupov - RNH - Eberle
Perron - Arcobello - Hemsky (Hamilton)
Jones - Gordon - Pitlick (Gagner)
Gazdic - Acton - Eager

The lines were the same as last night's game against the Capitals.

“I thought they had great chemistry for two periods," Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said about the line of Yakupov, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle. "They were actually playing quite well against the Ovechkin line. Then in the third it seemed to fall away. With our record, and with our injuries it’s been a lot of different line combinations and I just want to breathe for another day so I think I’m going to leave them.”

Eakins said that the team will likely go with Jason LaBarbera in goal on Saturday against the Coyotes.

“I’d like to give Barbs a chance against his old teammates,” said Eakins. “I think we’ll go that way. There’s two sides of the coin. He’s going to play his old teammates and he’ll be excited and motivated but his teammates are going to be motivated to play against him as well. That’s the way we’re leaning right now.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 3:20 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

VIDEO: Post-Practice Story (coming) | Dallas Eakins Jordan Eberle | Justin Schultz | Boyd Gordon

AUDIO: Dallas Eakins | Jordan Eberle | Justin Schultz | Boyd Gordon

The Oilers power play currently ranks 24th in the NHL with a 12.8% success rate. They have five goals on 39 opportunities. Adding to that, the Oilers have a league-high three shorthanded goals against.

Coach Eakins used a good portion of Friday’s practice in Leduc to work on the power play.

“It was more just the basics of the power play. I liked our power play last night, especially our very first power play that we had. We came out really bombing it. A goal there would have changed the game dramatically, I think,” Eakins said. “You have to stay encouraged by that. They’ve taken a step forward, listening. Today was more about reinforcing that message.”

The head coach had five-on-four, five-on-three and four-on-three drills during the practice.

“With the four-on-three and the five-on-three stuff, just to get in time to know that we know what we’re doing. It’s a necessary part of it. It brings the practice to an absolute halt but it’s necessary to do it so we have those things covered off.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 3:18 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Despite a multitude of scoring chances and solid play, particularly early on, Jordan Eberle's line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov finished minus-four on the night Thursday against Washington. Eberle spoke to that after practice Friday.

“Any time you go minus-four you take a few things (away from the game) but that being said, I don’t think the plus/minus stat really reflected the game. I really thought that we had a ton of chances and it could have gone either way,” Eberle began.

“I had a great first shift. For most of the first two periods we were all over them. Then you just make a couple of mistakes and they capitalize. In that aspect, it’s tough to look at minus-four and say you had a bad game where I thought we played pretty well.”

With key offensive players like Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner out as well as depth forwards who had been contributing like Jesse Joensuu and Ryan Smyth, Eberle knows the pressure is on his line to contribute.

“You just want to continue playing any way that you can. Those players being out are key players for us. We’ve got to pick up the offence as a collective group. As one of the lines that plays a lot of minutes and a lot of offensive minutes, we want to be a line that scores offensively and keeps the puck out of our net.”

Eberle also looked ahead to the weekend trip to Phoenix and L.A. which begins tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. MDT at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ.

“We’ve got back-to-back games here coming up (so you want to) try and conserve energy as much as we can. And we need a couple wins.”
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POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 12:14 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers announced this morning that defenceman Corey Potter has been assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons on a conditioning assignment.

From the OKC Barons press release:

The Edmonton Oilers have assigned defenceman Corey Potter to the Oklahoma City Barons on a conditioning assignment. Potter has registered 25 points (7-18-25) in 95 games with the Oilers over the past two seasons, but has not played this season due to injury. The Lansing, Mich. native was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the 4th round (122nd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

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POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 1:29 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers top forward line of Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle each finished the night at -4. However, the line did chip in with 12 of the team's 31 shots on goal.

Edmonton's bench boss turned to analytics when breaking down his top line's play.

"I thought they were going great through two periods," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "We've got a lot of stats going on in-house. Everything from what we're seeing on the bench to the analytical part of the game. It's amazing with those analytics, you feel one way and it says something else. Tonight everything was matching up. I thought everything was going really well with (Nugent-Hopkins) against (Alex) Ovechkin's line. Then in the third, one shift when they got hemmed in, that was the end of the night with that third one."

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POSTED ON Friday, 25.10.2013 / 1:14 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Despite stringing together some solid hockey through the first 40 minutes, the Oilers could not crack Washington's goaltender Braden Holtby and eventually succumbed to the Capitals offensive attack as well.

Head Coach Dallas Eakins says he could see early on that the energy and success of his team was slowly diminishing, potentially due to the long road trip that ended two days ago.

"Quietly, I could feel the air coming out of the balloon," said Eakins. "I could see the guys' faces and they started to… they seemed to be short shifting me a bit. I felt like maybe the travel and the time change and all that was maybe catching up to us. I wasn't sure, but even though we were still going very, very good in the second period I just felt like there was a leak in the balloon."

The Oilers just couldn't string together a complete 60 minutes and while Holtby's performance didn't help the Oilers, a lack of shots to the net was also a hinderance to any potential comeback.

"I think we've just got to learn that we've got opportunities by shooting the puck and keeping things simple," said forward Ben Eager. "We kind of got away from that. Maybe because we were down and we thought we had to make some plays, but I think we've just got to keep the puck going to the net and remember the effort and hard work we put forward in the first two periods and bring that to the next game."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 24.10.2013 / 2:34 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

With centre Sam Gagner on the mend and expected to eventually return to the lineup, a question that keeps cropping up is whether or not 25-year-old rookie Mark Arcobello can hold on to a spot that he appears to have earned thus far.

What makes the decision even tougher is Arcobello's recent offensive success, having tallied 10 assists in 10 games with the Oilers.

The forward says he doesn't know what the future holds after Gagner's return and can only focus on his own performance.

"There's always room for improvement," said Arcobello. "I don't know exactly what's going to happen when (Gagner) comes back but if I can just keep putting my best foot forward. That's the only thing I can really do."

Head Coach Dallas Eakins added that he hasn't even thought about that decision yet.

"The way these injuries keep lining up, I don't even look past today with my lineups," said Eakins. "I actually haven't given it any thought. I don't know when Sam will be back so I haven't even looked at a lineup basically past this weekend."

Weeks ago, the Oilers coach told fourth-line centre Will Acton to 'find a place' in Edmonton. It was a concession that Acton would be staying around for longer than originally planned. That's a concession that the coach has yet to extend Arcobello, yet.

No, we haven't," said Eakins. "I'm guessing he's still in the hotel.

"He has not been told that by me yet."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 22.10.2013 / 11:40 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Montreal Canadiens forward Lars Eller had some bold statements before tonight's game against the Oilers. He likened Edmonton to a 'junior team'.

“It can be anything, you know? They play a little bit like a junior team, I think, sometimes,” said Eller.

The Oilers had the last laughs today beating the Canadiens 4-3 on their home ice.

"When you have a player like Lars Eller running his mouth before the game, it makes for great banter in our dressing room and great motivation," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "We thank Lars Eller for his comments before the game.

"You've got some young player who's trying to get his feet wet calling an organization a junior team. People take notice. I knew (the game) was going to turn. It's just one of those things. That is a total hockey god thing and I'm sure that young man has learned his lesson. I highly doubt you'll ever hear anything like that come out of his mouth again."

Eakins says the 'bulletin board' material was just a boost for the Oilers when they took the ice against Eller and the Canadiens.

"They may as well have sent me over a fruit basket and a bottle of wine. I was like 'man, that is just perfect.' That was a really great present Mr. Eller laid on us today."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 22.10.2013 / 2:41 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers 2nd round pick in 2009, Anton Lander has been named captain for the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons.

Lander is the youngest captain in OKC team history at 22-years-old. He is also the first player drafted by the Oilers to wear the 'C' for the Barons.

Barons captains by year:

Ben Ondrus - 2010-11

Bryan Helmer - 2011-12

Josh Green - 2012-13

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 22.10.2013 / 2:05 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers recalled former second round pick Tyler Pitlick giving him his first NHL call up and he will play in his first NHL game tonight.

After a strong camp and pre-season, the rookie has now discovered what it takes to play in the NHL.

"I know what I've got to do," said Pitlick. "I've got to skate and I've got to use my body. If I keep doing that, I should be alright."

"Tyler is, I think, figuring it out," said Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish. "It does take time. I think, normally between the second and third year, in terms of development, you start to see guys figure out what they need to do to get a foot in the door at the NHL level. We felt Tyler did that at training camp. He added a level of consistency that he previously hadn't had and went down and sustained that down in the American Hockey League and we're excited to give him the opportunity."

Pitlick says tonight will not be too big for him.

"I'm just going to try and play my game," said the forward. "Like I said, just skate as fast as I can and hit everything that moves."

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INSIDE THE OILERS