Hockey is a team sport and when a team is struggling in the middle of a game, communication on the ice is key. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was very disappointed with the lack of talking between players on the ice.
"There is absolutely no skill involved in using your voice," said Eakins. "We talk to each other all day. We talk on the phone, we text, we talk amongst each other. Not to be talking on the ice is criminal. It takes no skill. You put five guys out on the ice with no skates on and they don't even need to play hockey, they can at least talk. It's the one skill that is so under-utilized in the game, to me. You have to communicate. You have to talk out there and when you do that, that usually sorts it out very, very quickly."
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins gave some candid thoughts to the performance of his team following their 6-2 loss to Phoenix.
"Arco's been a good player for us all year," said Eakins. "Tonight I thought he was way off. I thought he had a rough, rough night. It wasn't the Arcobello that we've seen and that happens to players. You're not going to play 82 unbelievable games. That should be your goal obviously, but you understand when guys have hiccups. I'm a little hesitant to throw him totally under the bus. I thought he had an off game, they've been rare. He'll rebound. That's his fight. He's a smart player, he understands angles, he understands where he's supposed to be on the ice and when he gets those battles against those bigger men, he's going to have to use his brain and his stick more than his brawn."
Arcobello, normally known for his solid face-off skills and offensive ability, was just 36% in the face-off dot. He did finish the game with two shots and a team-high three blocks in the loss however.
Jeff Petry finished the night -2, with just one hit on the stat sheet and struggled defensively in the eyes of Coach Eakins.
When asked if he was disappointed in Petry's game, Eakins had this response:
"Yes. With the amount of minutes that he plays and the responsibility that he's given, we need more from him."
The lineup this morning at practice are as follows:
Dubnyk in net.
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled goaltender Jason LaBarbera from the Oklahoma City Barons. In order to make room for the transaction, the team has assigned defenceman Corey Potter to their farm club.
LaBarbera's recall comes just one day after Ilya Bryzgalov left the game in Dallas with an upper body injury following a collision with Ryan Garbutt of the Stars.
"Bryzgalov took a hard hit yesterday," Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said after this morning's practice. "He's being assessed as we speak to see where he's at. We'll know later in the day."
LaBarbera has played in two games for the Barons, and has a 1.93 goals against average and a .953 save percentage.
In addition to those moves, the Barons announced the assignment of Kale Kessy to OKC from the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL.
Quad City Mallards goalie Ty Rimmer tweeted out that he is 'excited to be joining' the Barons. He is expected to take LaBarbera's place in OKC, recalled from loan from Quad City.
Very excited to be joining @okcbarons— Ty Rimmer (@Rimms35) December 2, 2013
Rimmer has a 4-3-2 record with Quad City this season, with a 3.17 goals against average and .894 save percentage.
It's a light day at practice for the Oilers at Russ Barnes Arena, as the team focuses on the power play.
For the early session, only six skaters are on the ice not including goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
The power play unit consists of Anton Belov and Nail Yakupov on the backend with Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky up front.
Philip Larsen is skating after missing the last road trip with an injury.
UPDATE: The Oilers other power play unit is now on the ice as well.
Justin Schultz, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and David Perron have joined their teammates.
Light practice today for the #Oilers, looks like power play work, Philip Larsen is skating, Dubnyk is the only goalie & only 6 skaters— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) December 2, 2013
After 28 saves on 29 shots, Ilya Bryzgalov took a different kind of shot that would end his night prematurely. A run-in with Ryan Garbutt knocked the Oilers goaltender to the ice, forcing him to leave the game and not return.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided an injury update on Bryzgalov after the game.
"He's got an upper body injury," said Eakins. "We're going to have to reassess in the morning. I've been upfront with you guys, I'm not being upfront now. I've got to keep this one under wraps until we check him a little further."
Devan Dubnyk came in to finish the game and played strong, making 15 saves on 16 shots and earning the shootout win.
The Oilers coach was very pleased with both of his goalies tonight.
"The could have easily been first and second stars or second and third," said Eakins. "Which would have been maybe a first in the NHL."
The Oilers have won four of their last five games and the recent success is due to a boost in confidence.
"We have a lot more confidence than in the past," said forward Taylor Hall. "I feel like we've had a lot of complete games that, from start to finish, we're playing how we want to play. It's exciting for our group and it's a start to a new chapter in our year."
Ryan Jones mirrored Hall's thoughts.
"I think we're playing with some confidence," said Jones. "You can see that at the start of the year, there were some guys that were just struggling with where they were with their game. Anytime you can get some wins and a couple of points, it obviously helps you play a little more confident and a little loose and that's always when you play your best hockey, for sure."
The Oilers announced today that Ilya Bryzgalov would start tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, his second straight. Last night, Bryzgalov stopped all 33 shots in a 3-0 shutout over the Nashville Predators. Even still, the decision was not made lightly.
"Well, it's one of those you flip back-and-forth," said Eakins of his decision on a starting goalie. "Okay, it's back-to-back games, he's just been here a couple of weeks back playing and do you want him playing back-to-back games? Is he going to be tired? I don't think so. He had the shutout last night, so I think it's an easy decision. One that I wanted to sleep on as well because it's the, if you don't play him, then it's 'why didn't you play him? He had a shutout.' Then if you do play him, he could be tired. I think he's fine. He's a veteran guy. He had a great game last night and we'll continue to roll."
Bryzgalov will face his former teammate in net tonight as Sergei Bobrovsky gets the nod for Columbus. The two played together on the 2011-2012 Philadelphia Flyers team.
The Oilers have recalled defenceman Denis Grebeshkov from Oklahoma City of the AHL.
Grebeshkov, 30, has played 11 games for the Barons so far this season. He has two goals and three assists for five points and an even plus/minus rating with four penalty minutes.
He has also suited up for three games with the Oilers, with a pair of penalty minutes and a +1 rating.