The Oilers have been without physical forward Luke Gazdic since he suffered a shoulder injury in a fight in Philadelphia. He says he feels good and is ready to play if the team needs him.
"I feel good, I feel strong," said Gazdic. "I've been practicing and doing all full contact stuff and I feel good. I don't feel like it's hindering me at all. It feels strong. I feel great actually."
The forward says he could provide a physical spark against a tough, physical team like the Sharks if called upon tonight.
"I don't view myself as a guy to make or break a game but I definitely think I can bring a boost of energy to the team. They've got a big, strong team. If we can have some size here, especially on our third and fourth lines to get in on the forecheck and get after their defencemen, that's going to make the difference for us. I'm not going to go in there and score a couple of goals, but I can get in on the forecheck and make some hits and get some energy for the guys."
Head Coach Dallas Eakins called Gazdic "a consideration" to play tonight.
Oilers radio colour analyst Bob Stauffer tweeted projected lines for tonight's game on the Edmonton side following the morning skate:
Oilers projected lines: Hall-RNH-Eberle, Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky,Smyth-Gordon-Perron, Joensuu-Acton-Gazdic— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 15, 2013
Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish will speak to the media today at 12:30pm at Rexall Place. Stay tuned for full post-coverage of the presser on oilers.nhl.com.
UPDATE: Listen to Craig MacTavish Press Conference
Lines at practice this morning at Rexall Place per jersey colours are:
Oilers lines at practice: Hall-RNH-Eberle. Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky. Smyth-Perron-Gordon. Jones-Arcobello-Macintyre. Gazdic-Acton-Joesnuu.— Tom Gazzola (@TomGazzola) November 14, 2013
The Oilers are frustrated with the lack of scoring, both at home and on the power play. Following tonight's 3-0 loss to Dallas, their third straight shutout loss at home, players in the dressing room were searching for answers.
The resounding option; less pretty, more gritty.
"Enough talking about skill or this and that," said forward David Perron. "We have to find a way to get one by. You've got to give credit to their goalie and their team who played well, but for us it's been three games now without a goal at home. It's pretty bad, we can't have that."
"You don't want your (power play) units scoring nice goals all of the time," said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "You need the ones that are bombed rebounds. I thought there were rebounds there tonight and it was just a night where we couldn't get our sticks on it. It wasn't a night where I thought our power plays were bad."
"It's frustrating, but there's no excuses," said Ales Hemsky. "If you don't score, you don't score. If you hit the post, it's not a shot on the net. We don't crash the net, we don't score the dirty goals. We have to get better at that. Just crash the net more and get some rebounds."
The Oilers stated that they need more control of the puck in the offensive zone.
"It's frustrating because I feel we get a lot of chances on the rush and stuff like that but we don't sustain any pressure in the (offensive zone)," said Perron. "It's in, then it's out. We need to be strong on the puck."
Be strong on the puck, score the greasy goals.
"We don't score the dirty goals around the net like other teams do," said Hemsky. "That's one thing we have to get better at."
Ex-Oilers captain turned Dallas Star Shawn Horcoff didn't know what to expect in his return to Edmonton after being traded to the Stars in the off-season. However, following a classy video tribute by the Oilers organization, the fans showed their respect for a player they used to cheer for with a round of applause.
"You never know here," Horcoff said laughing. "I've heard them boo a lot of quality players that have come back in this town, so I expected more boos than that. It was nice show of respect and I really appreciate it."
Horcoff played in close to 800 games for the Oilers, tallying 162 goals and 447 points from 2000-2013.
A day after Oilers winger Nail Yakupov addressed the media on comments made by his agent and his frustration with lack of play time, his head coach is expecting all eyes to be on the young player. He feels that Yakupov is up to that challenge, but will still have to earn more ice time, just like the rest of the team.
"I don't feel any differently about Nail," said Dallas Eakins. "Climbing a mountain, he obviously hit a valley yesterday with having to come out and answer questions and make statements. I think it's pure frustration of a player and something he'll learn negatives or positives to take from it. We'll see how Nail's going. That's how it always goes with our team. Every guy earns their ice time. My expectations for him are that, between his agent's comments and his comments yesterday, my concern for him is all eyes are on him now and that can be a burden sometimes.
"I think he's up to the challenge of all eyes on him. We'll monitor how he's going, how we do every night. I expect him to come out and play hard. He always has passion in his game. He's just still learning the game and it'll depend on the score of the game and so many different things on how much ice time he gets. But I expect him to come out flying."
The Oilers are on the ice for morning skate prior to tonight's game against the Dallas Stars.
Lines and defence pairings are:Perron-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Arcobello-Yak, Hall-Gagner-Hemsky, Perron-RNH-Eberle, Jonesuu-Gordon-Jones, Ference-Petry, Belov-Larsen, N. Schultz-Potter— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 13, 2013