Nail Yakupov was asked about his leg injury, having missed practice on Tuesday. Yakupov said that he felt he was ready to play. Coach Eakins also said, Yakupov missing only one practice day he had no reservations about putting him back in the lineup.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was asked if Jones or Arcobello would be likely to return to the lineup on Thursday in Nashville.
"I think both are likely (to play)," Eakins stated.
The Oilers practiced in Leduc Wednesday morning prior to depature for Nashville and the start of a three-game road trip.
Power Play Unit 1:
Power Play Unit 2:
Penalty Kill Unit 1:
Penalty Kill Unit 2:
The Oilers were without Nail Yakupov today at practice and Head Coach Dallas Eakins discussed his forward's absence during his media availability.
"He's got a banged up ankle or foot or something," said Eakins. "It was tender enough where he couldn't skate. We'll re-access it for tomorrow."
On the flip-side of things, the Oilers got back one of their injured players today. Defenceman Philip Larsen made his return to practice, his first skate with the team since suffering a back injury. Larsen has missed the last three games.
"It's a little weird to be on the ice again," said Larsen. "But I had a lot of fun. It was a nice feeling to get out there with the boys again and skate."
Whether or not he is close to game action is up to the coaching and medical staffs as they continue to evaluate Larsen's progress. But there is a chance he will travel with the team when they head to Nashville tomorrow morning.
"If he looks like he's getting close, and the assessment of him… they're probably looking at him right now," said Eakins. "For sure. He was playing extremely well. We miss him back there and it would be great to have another guy that can move the puck like that."
Mark Arcobello and Ryan Jones may return to the lineup very soon, after not playing in a game since November 13. Head Coach Dallas Eakins will look to plug them in somewhere and very soon, possibly on the Oilers upcoming road trip.
"I've got to talk to our other coaches about it but I do want to get Arcobello back in," said Eakins. "I do want to get Ryan Jones back in. This may turn into, depending how we're playing, a rotation process until we can get our lineup totally set.
"We've got guys on the cusp of, a lot of them have played well enough to be in the lineup. The problem is, we've got extra guys and those extra guys have played well enough to be in the lineup. That's something that we'll have to sort through but my vote is to get those guys back in and somebody coming out will have to take it on the chin even though they've probably played okay as well."
Arcobello has 12 points in 20 games this season for the Oilers while Jones has three points in 12 games.
Forward lines by jersey colour:
Gazdic-Acton-Jones (Arcobello as the extra forward)
Nail Yakupov is absent, while Larsen (back) is participating.
Coach Eakins mentioned that he would like to get Arcobello and Jones back in the lineup soon, perhaps against Nashville. He also said Bryzgalov will start against the Predators on Thursday.
Eakins said Yakupov hurt his foot in the game Monday and was unable to practice today.
"That's a veteran guy," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "He comes in with a little swagger… He was good. The only one they got by him was tipped."
Bryzgalov's entry into the game was met by a loud ovation from the Edmonton crowd.
"It's very nice from them," Bryzgalov said. "I didn't even know that… there was a standing ovation. I was so focused on the game and a little bit nervous too. That's why I maybe not paid attention to that moment that was outside the game."
The goalie is scheduled to make his first start as an Oiler against either Nashville on Thursday or Columbus on Friday night.
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to make his debut for the Oilers this coming week when the team has a back-to-back on the road in Nashville and then Columbus.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins confirmed today that he'd like for Bryzgalov to start either in Nashville against the Predators or against the Stars.
"I'd like him to play one of the two games," he said.
Bryzgalov has played two games this season for the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City, with a 1-1-0 record and a 3.03 goals against average and .888 save percentage.
The Oilers have enjoyed improvement in their special teams play when it comes to both power play and penalty kill.
Their PK play is ranked 14th in the NHL, while their PK on home ice is tied for ninth at 85.7%.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says while the team has gotten better, there's still some work to be done.
"I think we have a better understanding of what we're looking for," said Eakins. "We've been way more aggressive down-ice. We've got our guys going on that again. I think that's where Dubnyk has made some big saves for us on our penalty kill, which is extremely important. Once again, even though the penalty kill has been excellent, we've struggled getting the puck out of our zone when we've had a chance.
"When the puck is on our stick and now it's going down the ice, we seem to find a way the guy can knock it down with his stick or it hits a leg or we fan on it. We've got to get those pucks down. That's where you're usually tired and now it stays in and now you're in trouble with a group of four who are tired. Even though we've had success, there's still some details that need to be worked out so we can be even more efficient with it."
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins has taken on a more scruffy look with his facial hair recently. When asked about his beard a few games back, Eakins said it would be gone the next day. However, the coach has kept the facial hair due to the team's recent success.
Not normally superstitious, Eakins says it was a request from players and coaches in the dressing room that he'd keep the beard going while the team was successful.
"We had some requests to keep it so that's my commitment to the team," said Eakins. "I'll keep this. Actually, my wife quite likes it which is interesting. Maybe she's going blind but we'll keep it, keep it rolling and have a little fun in the dressing room… For a guy who used to make fun of everyone's superstitions, I'm starting to get there myself."
The Oilers are on a three-game win streak, hoping to extend that streak tonight.