The entire roster of the 1984 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers will be in town on October 10, for a reunion benefiting the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Gretzky addressed the media and a group of fans at the announcement press conference on Tuesday.
Gretzky said that it is his hope that the players from their championship team have some impact on the current Oilers, who open their season at home on October 9, against the Calgary Flames.
“Hopefully this will be a rub off on the new team with us being there for the home opener and having the excitement of the fans,” Gretzky said.
The 1984 Oilers created a legacy that has lasted in the city of Edmonton and the NHL for years.
“Hopefully we can pass that legacy onto the new players.”
Oilers winger Nail Yakupov is one of the many pros taking part in the Perry Pearn 3 vs. 3 Hockey Camp. Now a few weeks into training here in Edmonton, Yakupov says he is feeling refreshed and ready for training camp.
After making his way to Edmonton from Russia, Yakupov has had the opportunity to work out with the Oilers trainers and skate with teammates and prospects.
“I’m refreshed and just waiting for the season. I’m having a pretty good time here and just having fun this summer. There are a lot of things to do here before the season, especially when you’re waiting for training camp,” he said.
Travis Ewanyk and Yakupov were the Oilers representatives at the hockey camp on Monday, though more current players and prospects are expected to participate later this week.
Oilers winger Nail Yakupov was on the ice at the Perry Pearn 3 vs. 3 Hockey Camp on Monday. When asked what area of his game or fitness Yakupov focused on this summer, the 20-year-old said there wasn’t just one.
“Just kind of everything,” he said. “I can’t say I have one spot where I should work on. But I am trying to get bigger, be stronger, be faster and get some conditioning going and at the same time work on my hands, my shot and everything. It’s all together.”
After dealing with some adversity and injuries last season, Yakupov is looking to bounce back to his rookie-season form when he scored 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games.
The NHL Scouting Combine will be held at the First Niagara Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo, NY for the next two years.
The event gathers around 100 of the top NHL draft prospects in one place for interviews with teams as well as medical and physical testing. HarborCenter is set to open in the fall. It houses two full-size NHL rinks.
The Scouting Combine had been held in Toronto since 1999.
Edmontonoilers.com and Oilers TV will continue to provide exclusive and in-depth coverage of the annual event.
With the additions made by the Oilers through free agency and trades, there is some more optimism in advance of the 2014-15 season. That optimism is felt by Jordan Eberle, who attended the Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers on Tuesday in Leduc.
“We’ve added some great pieces with Teddy Purcell, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Keith Aulie,” Eberle said. “I like it and I think the thing that sticks out to me is the size that we’ve added, especially on the backend. Those guys are all 6-3 and above and obviously there’s some bigger skilled guys up front. I think anytime you get into August you start getting a little antsy to get back to training camp and that’s how I feel right now. Especially with the additions we’ve added I think you have no reason not to go into the season with positivity.”
It wasn’t only skill the Oilers added but size and maybe more importantly NHL experience.
“I think that’s huge,” Eberle said. “I think you’ve got guys who know how to win and have been there… and I think we all want to play here too. I look forward to this year too.”
“I’ve felt that way the last few years,” Eberle said at Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers on Tuesday. “Obviously it hasn’t happened. But more so this year than anything I think we have a lot of expectations on us. I think we did last year too that’s why it was a more disappointing season than ever just because we didn’t perform. This year I will take a lot of pressure on myself and I know those other guys will too just to perform. The city has been very patient and we need to start winning some games.”
Eberle says the pressure felt by the core group of players, not only the three aforementioned, puts the responsibility on them to win above all else.
“Just to take control of the team and win hockey games,” Eberle said of what is expected. “I think more than anything this league is about winning and we obviously haven’t done much of it. I think anytime you have a fresh start and you add some pieces there is a lot of optimism and I am looking forward to training camp to get things going.”
Since being drafted 22nd overall in 2008 by the Oilers, Jordan Eberle has seen some turnover at the head coach position. Heading into this season, Eberle is happy to have Dallas Eakins return in that role keeping some consistency on the bench, despite two new assistant coaches.
“I think more than anything this year it’s going to be nice to have some familiarity with the head coach,” Eberle said. “I think for me, and this is my fifth year coming up, I’ve had three new head coaches now. I think it can be a good thing and a bad thing sometimes too. We finally have a guy where we can pick up where we left off and I definitely look forward to that for sure.”
Eberle says that consistency at head coach is huge for the team and not having that turnover means not starting fresh.
“It’s huge. It’s one thing that really hurt us at the start of the year. No knock against Dallas obviously. He was coming in and things change and that’s how it is. I’ve had that a few times. It will be nice to have the same guy come in and we’ll have a lot of familiarity when it comes to practicing, the way he speaks and what he expects so I think that for sure will help.”
The Oilers announced Tuesday that they have signed centre Leon Draisaitl to a three-year entry level contract. Draisaitl spoke to the media at Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers shortly after the news was announced.
“It’s really exciting,” he said at the Leduc Rec Centre. “First of all, I want to thank Daryl Katz, Craig MacTavish and all of the other people who are part of the Oilers organization for giving me the opportunity to make this happen. It’s really exciting for me and my family for sure.”
The Edmonton Oilers appointed Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach on July 16. Thompson had previously spent the past four seasons with the Oklahoma City Barons in the same position.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said prior to the search for a new assistant that he was looking for a younger coach who would be willing to spend games serving in the eye in the sky role instead of on the bench. It was clear to Eakins when he interviewed Thompson that he was the candidate who best understood and fit those responsibilities.
“I’ll be really honest, I talked to a lot of people about that job,” Eakins said. “The one thing that comes up right away is that person has to be confident enough in their skin to know that they have an equal voice in that dressing room, they’re respected equally by the staff and players but during those games they are going to be upstairs. Some guys have a problem with that and they can’t get their head wrapped around it. Rocky is a really confident guy and he’s hungry. He wants to learn and he’s got a lot of stuff he can provide us. He was totally comfortable with that aspect of it.”
Eakins says that of all of the candidates he spoke with, Thompson clearly made an impression.
“The reality of it is when I sat down with him for the interview he blew my socks off. I knew Rocky a little bit but I didn’t know a ton about his coaching. I had talked to some people inside of our organization that I greatly respect their opinions and guys that are excellent coaches and they spoke so highly of Rocky. I thought he would be good in the interview but he was excellent.”
Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins chose Rocky Thompson to join his staff as an Assistant Coach. Eakins had a lot of praise for his new assistant, saying that Thompson is the right person for the job.
“I think he’s going to fit in great,” Eakins said. “He’s that bridge between the players’ ages and myself and the rest of our staff. He’s got a hunger to teach, he’s got a passion for the game and he’s got a passion to continue on his career as a coach. I think for him personally, this is a perfect stepping stone. The great thing about Rocky is that he didn’t want to talk about him he just wanted to talk about the team and that’s what Rocky has always been. He’s a guy of high character and the only thing that matters to him is the team. That’s what’s got to be from all of our staff, all of our players, anybody who works for the Edmonton Oilers and any decision that they make, this is about our team first and there can’t be anything else underlying their decisions.”
Thompson will serve as the eye in the sky on game nights, radioing down to the bench information and adjustments. But he will also have a hand in teaching the players in practice and has experience in pre-scouting opponents and developing plans and adjustments for systems.
“He’s going to provide that information during games but that won’t be his most important role. His most important role is going to be on a day-to-day basis with prepping and preparing our players to go out there and play. Hopefully the information coming down is not a lot because we have the game under control all of the time.”