Ben Scrivens has only been a member of the Edmonton Oilers since January 15, but the goaltender has climatized himself well over the past few days.
“I think Ben, he communicates a lot with us,” said Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz. “Whether it’s during the play or on a tv timeout, he’ll be encouraging us a lot and it’s good. It helps us out a lot and we’re glad to have him back there.”
Scrivens has shown early on a devotion to earning ice time and fitting in with the new dressing room.
“I think the relationships are always important,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I was grabbing dinner by myself when we were on the road and I saw him walk in with like, seven other guys to the restaurant I was in so that was encouraging right away. As those relationships grow, you find that they’ll fight for each other a little bit more.
“I think he’s got… He’s an intelligent kid, he’ll get a real good barometer of our group real quick and I know he’s excited to play. The greatest thing he’s said so far is, after we made the deal, I called him and in two sentences he said, ‘I want to come in there and earn my ice time and I want to earn another contract.’ He knows where I come from on where you go about this.”
Scrivens is from Spruce Grove, AB and makes his first home start at Rexall Place tonight, as an Oilers goalie.
AUDIO: Dallas Eakins | Ben Scrivens | Andrew Ference | Luke Gazdic
VIDEO: Practice Story | Eakins | Scrivens | Hendricks | Ference | Gazdic
"I don’t know if Larsen’s ready yet. He was out there, but I don’t think he’s been cleared. Potter’s practiced hard, he’s played hard. We’re looking to get him back in the lineup."
“They were just going on the ice for a twirl," said Eakins. "Hemsky’s got one of those really deep bone bruises. We haven’t found any fractures or anything, but those deep bone bruises can be just as nasty sometimes.
"Yak just continues on with the protocol that I about halfway understand."
Coach Eakins talked about the process this season that has gone from the biggest issue being players out of position on the ice to now just needing some better execution.
“Early in the season, we had some guys who didn’t understand where they were supposed to be and we were teaching that. Now it’s come down to, we’ve got guys in the right spot, we just need them to finish off the execution.”
The coach said that it's not for a lack of trying in most situations.
“Every player wants to do it, they do the best they can. Sometimes it’s just not being so aggressive, overplaying the guy. Sometimes it’s not being aggressive enough. We’ve been doing a good job of installing one-on-one battles in practice, two-on-twos, three-on-threes.
"You can run whatever system you want — offensively or defensively — but the winning of the one-on-one battle is huge and the creating of a two-on-one battle is huge, when you have the puck.
"For some, it’s small adjustments and for others, it’s experience."
Eakins was asked if sometimes a player just doesn't have the make-up to have that kind of battle on a consistent basis.
"A lot of times it’s the personality test. There’s guys who, no matter what they’re doing, they’re competitive. They’re polite guys in public but you look sideways at them, they might smack you. There has to be a bit of meanness in them, too."
The Western Conference has a lot of big, mean, teams which increases the importance of having those types of players.
"This conference is nasty. The game is being played by strong men who enjoy doing hard things. Not only do we have to look at our skill set, we’ve got to look at the guy’s DNA when it comes to the level of battle that comes naturally."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins remarked that he was still undecided on which of his two goaltenders was going to get the start tomorrow (Tuesday) at home against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’re going to play it by ear here based on our feel, their feel, who we’re playing, their last performance. We haven’t made the decision for tomorrow yet. It is audition time.”
Eakins talked about the fact that there's now 31 games left in the season and both Oilers goaltenders have their contracts expiring at the end of the season.
“It’s a great opportunity for both guys on a team that’s struggling to show what they can do by themselves. Both guys don’t have contracts for next year," the head coach began. "I’m not speaking out of turn, I’ve already said this to both of them. You guys have unbelievable opportunities, not only here with our organization but you’ll have all eyes on you when free agency starts as well. That’s the one position, if you could get real hot and do some things on your own — which you can do as a goalie — I think the opportunity may be even greater on a team that’s been struggling.”
The bench boss was asked whether the two goaltenders would be splitting the duties the rest of the way, but again he said that depends on perfomance.
“If we did it overall, I would guess that it would be fairly close to even but I’m not going to go back and forth. I hope they both have good stretches where they get hot.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins gave his thoughts on Saturday's Calgary/Vancouver incident, which saw Canucks head coach John Tortorella try and get into the Flames dressing room in the first intermission following a line brawl that occurred two seconds into the game.
"I’ve never seen a coach try to get in the room. I’ve seen instances where players are coming off the ice in similar vicinities trying to get at each other. It’s an emotional game. Everyone’s different, everyone carries their emotions differently. I think it’s a long day for the league. Those are the guys I feel for today, the guys that have to put down the judgement. That was some interesting TV, to put it lightly."
Eakins was asked if he would ever dress his fourth line to start a game.
“I would have done both things. It depends on where you’re at in the standings, how was your last game against them, how has your team been playing lately, how important are the points to you," the head coach began. " Because there’s two ways to go about it. You can come flying out with your most skilled guys — or maybe you come out with your second line saying ‘you’re going to do that? Maybe we’ll go up 1-0 right now and we’ll see how you like that’.
"Or you could come out swinging your guns and see what happens. You have to have a feel for your team. I don’t have a clue where Bob Hartley was with his team, I don’t have a clue where John Tortorella was with his team. I could look at the standings but until you’re right in it, on one team or the other, it’s hard for me to give an opinion. My answer is, I would do both. It all depends on where we were at with the team and what our relationship was with the other team."
The Edmonton Oilers are back on the ice at Rexall Place today. The lines are:
Nail Yakupov (head injury) and Ales Hemsky (foot) are not on the ice. There are eight defencemen on the ice, however, including Corey Potter (groin injury) and Philip Larsen (illness).
Oilers lines; Hall-RNH-Eberle, Perron-Gagner-Jones, Smyth-Gordon-Hendricks, Joensuu-Arcobello-Gazdic— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 20, 2014
Oilers goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit has a lot of potential. It’s the kind of potential that lead to the team trading for the 20-year-old netminder.
His numbers in the ECHL with Bakersfield are very impressive. He leads that league in goals against average at 1.35, save percentage at .943 and shutouts with five.
The mathematical equations have finally aligned: @LBrossoit now officially leads league in GAA (1.35), Sv% (.943), and shutouts (5).— Ryan Holt (@BroadcastHolt) January 18, 2014
Brossoit, the former 164th overall pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has a record of 8-2-1 in the ECHL this season. He played three games with Alaska before being traded to the Oilers organization
The Edmonton Oilers are on the ice for practice at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Nail Yakupov is not skating with the team, meaning that the lines have been shuffled:
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Gagner - Jones
Smyth - Gordon - Hendricks
Gazdic - Arcobello - Joensuu
MTS Centre practice lines...Hall-RNH-Eberle, Perron-Gagner-Jones, Smyth-Gordon-Hendricks, Gazdic-Arcobello-Joensuu. No Yakupov.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) January 17, 2014
The Oilers parted ways with former third round pick, 61st overall in 2010, Ryan Martindale this morning in a trade with the Florida Panthers to acquire Steve Pinizzotto. In addition, the Oklahoma City Barons acquired Jack Combs from the San Antonio Rampage for Derek Nesbitt.
Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson commented on the Martindale trade and why the Oilers organization could afford to move the prospect in a trade.
“In Marty’s case, he needs a fresh start,” said Nelson. “A guy like Marty, he’s a big centreman that has some skill. We think moving forward that we have some guys coming up through the ranks that will fulfill that role. For him, it’s a fresh start every time a player gets traded. It’s a new opportunity and we wish him the best of luck.”
The acquisitions of Pinizzotto and Combs will be welcomed additions to the Barons lineup as the team is looking for more grit and some additional scoring support.
“We were looking for a guy like Pinizzotto to come in, have some bite to his game and make us tougher to play against. I think the acquisition of him will help.
“In the case of Combs, he’s a guy that’s sort of like a (former Barons forward) Philippe Cornet type player. He can produce offensively. In San Antonio, he wasn’t given much of an opportunity because of the bodies that they have. He’s excited to come.”
Both Combs and Pinizzotto will get an opportunity to contribute immediately on the Barons, who are dealing with injuries in the forward ranks.
“It’s always tough to lose two players who you’ve had for quite a while. But we’re going to welcome the two new guys in and hopefully, they’ll come here and compliment our team.”