Hemsky says the new role is a different one but should he play there, it will only help his offensive game.
“It’s a little change than where I played in the last 30 games or something like that, or 20 games,” Hemsky said. “It’s just my game. If you play with those guys, it just helps you be better and just be better offensively. I’ll take any role they give me in the end. If they put me on the third line or first line, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just try to do the role they give me.”
Nail Yakupov’s foot absorbed a heavy shot from a teammate in last night’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He left the bench in the third period and did not return.
While Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins had not yet received an update from the trainers when he spoke to the media, Yakupov spoke sometime later and provided his own.
“Justin Schultz just (made) a shot and I was in his lane,” Yakupov said as he described the play. “But it’s okay, it happens sometimes and it’s part of the game, part of hockey and sometimes shots will get your body or your legs when you stand in front of the net. It happens. It’s okay. I think it will be better for sure and I’m just waiting to be in a game again and just play for the Oilers.”
When asked how he felt today, the prognosis is looking good.
“I feel good,” he said. “Much better than yesterday so it’s nothing serious, just got (hit with) a shot. It will take a little time.”
Yakupov confirmed there are ‘no breaks’ which is good news for the Oilers young forward. However, he is unsure as to whether or not he’ll play tomorrow night against Calgary.
“I don’t know. I can’t say anything now but I hope not.”
Yakupov said that although he left the game in the third, he knew right away it wouldn’t be serious. He says he can walk on it and move it. He was at Millennium Place in a walking boot this morning.
“It wasn’t that bad,” he said. “I just couldn’t play the third period and just left but I thought nothing serious.”
The Oilers have taken the ice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park this morning.
Nail Yakupov is absent from practice as Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said he might be.
Yakupov took a hard shot off the foot and left last night's game in the third period.
As #Oilers Coach Eakins said last night was a possibility, no Nail Yakupov on the ice this morning at practice.— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) February 28, 2014
#Oilers Hemsky on top line RW w/ Hall & RNH, rest of lines are: Perron-Gagner-Eberle, Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu, Gazdic-Smyth-Jones— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) February 28, 2014
Here are the line combinations:
The Oilers worked on their power play some during practice with changes to their two units.
FIRST PP UNIT:
RNH, Hall, Smyth, Hemsky and Justin Schultz.
Joensuu with Perron, Gagner, Eberle and Ference.
Nail Yakupov took a hard shot off his foot and left the game, early in the third period. The Oilers young forward did not return. Head Coach Dallas Eakins told the media following the game that an update on the injury will have to wait until tomorrow.
Eakins said that he doesn’t expect Yakupov to practice with the team at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park, tomorrow morning.
“That was a hard shot in not a good spot on his foot and I believe they were looking at it now,” Eakins said after the game. “But in my experience, when a guy leaves a game he rarely practices the next day. So we’ll have to get an update tomorrow on that.”
Both players tried their best to provide a spark of energy to their team, that was in need of a boost. Eakins singled out Hendricks as the team’s best forward in the game.
“I thought Hendy was possibly our best forward,” Eakins said. “Off the top of my head, I would say that he was.”
Eakins says both Hendricks and Gazdic tried to help their peers get their engines going, but the whole team had an off night.
“Luke is always there,” the coach said. “He works extremely hard and tries to give us momentum with his hits and his physical play. We were hoping that would get us going but it was interesting… It wasn’t even split. It wasn’t like we had guys who struggled the whole game and guys who played well. It would be, a certain player would go out and give us three really good shifts and then he’d come back and give us four bad ones. We just couldn’t get anything rolling as 18 skaters. We could get it rolling with six and then the other 12 would fall off. I just thought it was an ugly hockey game for both teams.”
The Oilers had four power play opportunities against Minnesota but failed to convert on those chances. Winger David Perron talked about the special teams play and what seemed to be missing for the team in their first game back, following the Olympic break.
“Well, we just don’t bear down,” Perron said. “There was a couple of pucks bouncing and we tried to use our sticks to keep it in. Use your body. It’s that much more thing it can hit to keep it in. Going back for breakouts, you’ve got to skate 200 feet one way, 200 feet back and once you do that once or twice, you don’t have as much energy to battle down there and get the pucks. Now it’s down the ice. The second unit goes and it’s the same deal over again.”
The Oilers rank 22nd in the league in power play percentage, converting 16.6% of their man-advantage opportunities. They worked on the power play some during their Olympic break mini-camp, but there is still some fine tuning left in break outs and the overall handling of the puck.
However, Head Coach Dallas Eakins said the rest of the installations to system play took hold well, particularly defensively as the team limited Minnesota’s shot count.
“I wish we would have handled the puck better, mostly, and executed better,” Eakins said. “But the stuff that we worked on this week, the adjustments to our system stuff, I was actually quite happy with it. We only gave up 21 shots in the game, which is encouraging and I thought our guys did a good job of implementing the new part of the system… But tomorrow we’ve got to break out pucks and handle the puck and transition the puck. These guys, we’ve got to ramp up the number of touches in practice and maybe not worry so much about the system stuff tomorrow.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins tweeted that Ben Scrivens will get the start in goal tonight against the Minnesota Wild. He also noted that Anton Belov will be playing, fresh off his performance with Team Russia at the Olympics.
Scrivens starts. Belov will play. Time for both teams to shake the rust off.— Dallas Eakins (@dallaseakins) February 27, 2014
- PRACTICE RAW | Dallas Eakins
- PRACTICE RAW | Matt Hendricks
- PRACTICE RAW | Justin Schultz
- COMING SOON: PRACTICE UPDATE
The topic du jour of the Edmonton Oilers amongst the media seems to be the goaltending situation. The coach and general manager have fielded several questions of the futures of Ben Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov, as both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke briefly of how the team plans to split the reps between their two goaltenders for the remaining 22 games. The answer is, there isn’t one yet. However, Eakins did admit the team may lean more towards the younger Scrivens if he earns more starts with his play.
“It’s hard to say,” Eakins said. “I don’t have a crystal ball next to me. It’ll depend on their play. It may come down to if Ben plays well and Bryz is playing well, yeah we may give Ben a couple of extra starts. I think Bryz would understand that. Or, we might split it down the middle.I won’t know until we get started here.”
Eakins said although they may be inclined to look more at Scrivens over the next 22 games, Bryzgalov has a lot to play for and prove as well. Both goalies will be using their starts as an audition for this team or others. The competition could be beneficial to the Oilers.
“Yeah, and I think it’s important for Bryz to keep fighting along too. It’s on them both and that’s not going to change. Bryz has been a number one in the past. I think he has still got the potential to do that. I know Ben’s numbers line up and he is a confident kid and he wants to show the national hockey league that he’s ready to be a number one and I know that’s what he’s going to try to do. For me, it’s a great situation. You’ve got two goalies who are going to be looking for contracts. I believe they both like the situation and the opportunity that’s here and you want that competition. It’s no different than two defencemen having friendly competition or your number one and your number two centres having a friendly competition. You want them to push each other and that’s how your teams get better.”
The Oilers are on the Wednesday and the lineup appears unchanged from their previous practic.
The forward lines are as follows, based on jersey colour: