"How can you not put him in? He’s worked hard, he’s put his nose to the grindstone and he understands his role," Eakins stated. "He can play centre and can play wing. To just bypass someone who’s been just sitting, waiting, I think it’s terribly wrong and I think it’s terribly disrespectful."
Acton has only played two games out of 11 for the Oilers since making the team out of camp. He has no points and five penalty minutes with a -1 rating.
"We’ll give Will a chance here early and if we have to make adjustments, we will," said Eakins.
The players are also wearing jerseys corresponding to power play units:
Unit 1: Arcobello-Pouliot-RNH-Eberle-Schultz
Unit 2: Draisaitl-Perron-Purcell-Yakupov-Nikitin
The NHL has suspended Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference three games for a hit to the head of Vancouver's Zack Kassian on Saturday.
EDM D Andrew Ference has been suspended 3 games for an illegal check to the head of VAN F Zack Kassian.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 3, 2014
Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Monday.
At 14:03 of the second period of the Oilers' game Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, Ference hit Cancuks forward Zack Kassian. Ference was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. Kassian was not injured on the play.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head, charging. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
The Oilers announced that Taylor Hall will be out two to four weeks with an MCL sprain.
Taylor Hall will be sidelined 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 2, 2014
The Oilers announced on Sunday morning that Taylor Hall will not join the team to start their upcoming five-game road trip. He will remain in Edmonton and be evaluated by the Oilers medical team.
Taylor Hall will remain in Edmonton and be evaluated by the #Oilers medical team.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 2, 2014
Luke Gazdic gave an update on the status of his injury on Sunday after practice, noting that he was cleared for contact a few days ago.
"I'm real close," he said. "I'm taking some pretty big contact, doing all those battling drills and feeling strong."
When asked about timelines, Gazdic felt that he should be back relatively shortly.
"I'd say a couple of weeks away. We'll see how these next few practices go and then re-evaluate here."
Gazdic said it was nice to get battling again in practice after many weeks skating in a non-contact jersey.
"That practice yesterday, we had a ton of battle drills in the corner. It's great to get into that physical aspect," he said. "It's nice to finally hit somebody."
The Oilers have had a couple of days to practice and prepare ahead of a busy week in which they'll play two high-powered Eastern Conference foes Monday and Wednesday in Tampa and Washington followed by the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.
"The things we're doing well are our forecheck and ability to close quickly on our forecheck in the neutral zone," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins after practice. "We're also continuing to try and get better in a couple areas. Our power play's come off a little bit. We're not overly worried about it but we worked on that."
Eakins added that he also worked a lot on the team's play in its own end.
"Our D-zone coverage. That's nonstop with every team in the NHL. Just looking at the goals from last night (in the game between Vancouver and Tampa Bay), that area in front of the net is critical to every team. We spent a couple of days working hard on that.
"You need compete drills and battle drills in practice. Our guys worked extremely hard on that yesterday."