BLOGS
POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:30 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

For two straight games now, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan has expressed his pleasure with the play of the defensive partners Griffin Reinhart and Jordan Oesterle. McLellan has also begun experimenting with the former American Hockey League pairing, swapping Reinhart to the right side and Oesterle to the left.

“I think that pair has been pretty steady since we’ve put them together,” said McLellan, following a 2-0 win over Vancouver Friday night. “We’re experimenting with him on the right side and Jordan on the left. They both played big minutes, they penalty killed.”

Reinhart logged a career-best and team-high 23:37 TOI against Vancouver, while also contributing a game-high eight blocked shots. Oesterle played 21:23 against the Canucks and recorded an assist on Matt Hendricks’ big goal that gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead in the third.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Friday, 03.18.2016 / 11:29 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers defenceman Griffin Reinhart didn’t register a point against the Vancouver Canucks, but his defensive performance stood out. For those who just look at the stat sheet and see the zero by Reinhart’s name in the goal and assist columns, they don’t get the whole story.

“There were six (possible) points handed out, two goals and four assists,” Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said after the 2-0 win. “Some guys play on teams and aren’t counted on for offence. Other guys play and move pucks and break up plays and that’s Griffin’s forte. Even in his best years in junior he wasn’t leading the league in scoring as a defenceman. It takes all types to have success. We’re still trying to find more pieces to the puzzle, we’re trying to develop the pieces we have here, trying to get more out of them so that we can grow and have more success. We’re not where we need to be. But Griffin, from the time we sent him down last time to this time, there has been some grown and it’s showing. That’s a good thing.”

Reinhart isn’t worried about offensive numbers when he can play a solid defensive game.

“There’s kind of a double standard in some ways, but I thought I defended well and I look at a good game in how I break up plays and execute breakout passes and get the puck out of our zone. All the stuff on top of that on the stat sheet is just a plus,” he said.

Reinhart played 23:37, finished +2 and registered eight blocked shots in the Friday night win over Vancouver.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Sunday, 03.13.2016 / 12:20 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Matt Hendricks, who missed last night’s game with injury, is practicing this morning.

Adam Pardy, Benoit Pouliot, Brandon Davidson, Eric Gryba and Oscar Klefbom are all not skating.

Stay tuned for full updates after practice, including video interviews and blogs.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.9.2016 / 4:10 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers rolled out some new forward lines at practice in Leduc. The common theme, which is a continuation of recent games, is size with skill. Zack Kassian was grouped with Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. Leon Draisaitl and Jordan Eberle had Patrick Maroon on the wing.

“It’s important,” Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said of blending the big with the skilled. “Those bigger bodies can hold onto to pucks and create time and space for some of the skilled players down low, but that needs to get done.”

McLellan said Maroon has done a good job of complementing skill, but the team needs to jumpstart Kassian’s game.

“I need to get back playing straight lines,” said Kassian. “I think when you play with two guys like that you need to get in on the forecheck, play physical, open up space, but at the same time play in straight lines and good things are going to happen out of that.”

On the other side of things, Hall sees his skill paired with Kassian’s size. That changes the dynamic for him too, while providing versatility to how the line can attack.

“You have to read the game,” said Hall. “You have to play hockey. You try to take advantage of everyone’s skill set. With Connor, you want to use his speed. If you can get the puck to him in open ice then that’s perfect. We can carry it in, but if you can’t then you want to lay it in and let Zack go to work, let his big body protect pucks, get in on the forecheck and get pucks back for us. That’s what happens when you play with different guys, you learn how to just play to their skill sets.”

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.9.2016 / 4:09 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers forward Zack Kassian has been held scoreless in five games. Following a 3-0 loss to San Jose, Kassian found himself on a line alongside two of the Oilers most skilled players at practice in Leduc.

Kassian skated with Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall as Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan shuffles the combinations to spark some offence. Sparking Kassian goes along with that.

“Kassian has to get going again,” said McLellan. “I don’t think he’s been the player he was five or six games ago and we’re giving him a real good opportunity now to capture a spot with some really good players. I’d like to see him take advantage of it. In his case, he’s got to get the forecheck going, he’s got to be the first in on pucks, he’s got to keep plays alive, he’s got to go to the blue paint. There’s a lot of things he needs to do when the play is going on to be effective and we’ve talked to him about that and he’ll be better.”

Kassian recognizes his slump and is eager to turn it around beginning Thursday in Minnesota.

“There’s no excuse. I have to be better,” he said. “I think there were a couple games on the road trip where we got wins but I didn’t play my best and when the team is winning it’s OK, it slides. Then when you lose games like yesterday and you didn’t have another good effort it’s tough. You go home and you really start thinking you want to help this team and you didn’t help the team. It’s something that is going to happen over the long duration of the season but the dips and valleys have to be short. I have to get back on the horse and start playing the right way. I’m looking to do so in Minnesota. We’re lucky as a team, we play a lot of hockey in the next month.”

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.9.2016 / 11:23 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers are on the ice for practice in Leduc before flying out to Minnesota. Matt Hendricks, Adam Pardy and Andrej Sekera are absent from the skate.

The forward lines are as follows:

Hall-McDavid-Kassian
Maroon-Draisaitl-Eberle
Korpikoski-Letestu-Yakupov
Cracknell-Lander-Gazdic/Pakarinen

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.9.2016 / 10:52 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse will have a hearing tomorrow with NHL Player Safety as a result of an altercation with San Jose’s Roman Polak in last night’s game at Rexall Place.

Nurse and Polak were each given fighting majors at 18:20 of the third period, with Nurse receiving the extra two minutes for roughing.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Monday, 03.7.2016 / 10:00 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

The netminder recorded three wins on the Oilers road trip this past week, in Buffalo, Philadelphia and Winnipeg. Talbot shut out the Flyers on March 3 with a 35-save performance.

In those three wins, Talbot’s save percentage was .981, stopping 105 shots on 107 faced. He posted a .065 GAA in that week.

The 28-year-old goaltender has a .919 save percentage in 45 games this season.

Jets centre Mark Scheifele was named second star and San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns earned third-star honours.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.2.2016 / 3:23 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

As the 2016 World Cup rosters continue to be announced, we’ll have coverage here at edmontonoilers.com.

Oilers rookie centre Connor McDavid has been named to Team North America’s roster as the first 16 players were announced Wednesday.

McDavid, 19, has played 28 NHL games this season and has 12 goals and 19 assists. Internationally, McDavid has represented Canada at the U-18s and World Junior Championships. McDavid helped Canada win gold in 2015 at World Juniors.

McDavid joins Lauri Korpikoski (Finland), Andrej Sekera (Europe) and Leon Draisaitl (Europe) as Oilers players to be named to World Cup of Hockey rosters.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.2.2016 / 2:45 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

As the 2016 World Cup rosters continue to be announced, we’ll have coverage here at edmontonoilers.com.

Andrej Sekera and Leon Draisaitl have been named to Team Europe’s roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Team Europe released its first 16 players and both Oilers players were chosen.

Sekera, a 29-year-old defenceman from Slovakia, has played 550 NHL games in his career and has an extensive international background. Sekera has played for Slovakia at the U-18s, two World Junior Championships, multiple World Championships and the Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014.

Draisaitl, 20, is from Cologne, Germany. The centre has skated in 92 NHL games in his career and has 44 points in 55 games this season for the Oilers. Draisaitl has represented Germany at multiple levels, including in junior and at the 2014 World Championships.

|
|
|
INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG