The Oilers skated at Rexall Place on Thursday with some shuffling to their forward lines. Jordan Eberle moved to the line with Jesse Joensuu and Boyd Gordon. David Perron and Mark Arcobello were skating with Nail Yakupov:Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
@89SGagner is wearing a "face guard- type shield" to protect his jaw— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) October 3, 2013
Ben Eager cleared waivers today at 10:00 a.m. MDT.
A loss, especially in the fashion of last night's loss, is not something to feel warm and fuzzy about.
That being said, there were some positive signs from this year's Oilers roster in their season opener, one of which being the new additions.
Several new faces contributed to last night's game in positive fashion.
Gazdic was claimed off of waivers from the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Two days later he was playing in his first career NHL game and he got it off to a great start.
2:10 into the game, the forward scored on a shot right off the draw. It was his first shot on the first shift in in his first NHL game and resulted in his first NHL goal.
He also had a solid scrap against Chris Thorburn.
He also won 62% of his face-offs in the loss.
This writer's most impressive player of the night was forward Jesse Joensuu.
The Oilers free agent pick up plays a physical game and always seems to be around the net. Joensuu shot the puck a team-high five times, scored a power play goal and drew a penalty that resulted in another goal.
He had several scoring chances and appears to be a big, strong player that Edmonton can use to their advantage.
Lost in all of the chatter about the Jets win and the Oilers handing it to them, was the fact that another newcomer scored a nice goal.
Forward Boyd Gordon scored a nice deflection goal that tied the game 2-2. Gordon registered four shots on net and blocked three shots.
Arcobello may have played in a game for the Oilers last season, but he could be considered a new face as well. Arcobello notched an assist, four shots, a hit and a takeaway last night against Winnipeg.
Arcobello nearly scored the game tying goal late in the third period but was stopped by Ondrej Pavelec.
One game is not a large body of work but the new faces in the dressing room could contribute early and often.
The Edmonton Oilers have placed forward Ben Eager on waivers.
Eager is a 29-year-old winger out of Ottawa, ONT and is in his eleventh professional season, his third within the Oilers organization.
The six-foot-two, 235 pound forward is known for his physical play including the ability to answer the bell if called upon to scrap.
With the team claiming a sizeable and physical player in Luke Gazdic off of waivers from Dallas last week and with that forward faring well in his NHL debut last night, the Oilers chose to go with the 24-year-old in that role.
The Oilers players and coaches feel like there were some positives that can be taken from tonight's loss. The team had the game in hand at one point, or so they felt, before Winnipeg rallied to victory.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that there is a lot of work left to do before the organization is where it needs to be.
"There's a ton of work," said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "Your work is never done. We'll get to a place where we're really happy with things and you'll still be trying to make it better. There were good things in that game, don't get me wrong. I liked our shot attempts, I thought we were buzzing their net. That was one thing we really want this team to do is have more pucks on the net…There are habits here that we have to make sure they die."
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins did not hold back his frustrations following the team's 5-4 loss to Winnipeg tonight.
The bench boss says there were multiple things he pinpoints as problem areas for the Oilers in that game.
"It was a little bit of everything," said Eakins. "We had a couple of turnovers that caught us, we had a couple of questionable goals, we got jumped by on a face-off. That can't happen. It shows that you're not fully engaged in it and it goes back to I don't care if it's the first second or the middle second or the last second, every moment in that game counts for something. Every moment and that was a true testament to that tonight."
The Oilers were obviously frustrated with how their season opener transpired. With a long wait until their next game, which will take place on Saturday in Vancouver, the players in the locker room wish they had a game tomorrow or the next day to erase this one from memory.
"Maybe not tomorrow, but the day after," said Joensuu who finished the game with a team-high five shots. "It's not fun to memorize this game."
The feeling resonating around the Edmonton Oilers dressing room following their 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, was not so much that their opponents earned the win. It was more that the Oilers themselves gave it away.
"It didn't really seem like they did a lot," said forward Taylor Hall. "We gave them a couple of shots and a couple of opportunities in our end and that's all it takes in this league really. Myself included, we have to manage the puck a little better. I had a couple of tough turnovers there in the third period that kind of stalled our momentum."
Upon hearing Hall's comments, forward Jesse Joensuu concurred.
"Yeah, I agree," said Joensuu. "I think if we would have been really cold or played really smart and tough, then they would not have had a chance so it's frustrating. If you lose a game and played as good as you can then you have to accept this. But it doesn't feel good."
The Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was also frustrated by the outcome, knowing that the game was in hand at one point of the contest.
"It's one thing when a team beats you," said Eakins. "You seem to be a little okay with it but not when you hand them a game like that. It doesn't feel very good."
Oilers centre Sam Gagner spoke with the media today after morning skate. It was the first time that the forward has spoken publicly since a high-stick by Vancouver's Zack Kassian in the pre-season knocked out some teeth and broke his jaw, which required surgery.
"I feel better," said Gagner. "I am starting to work out, getting my heart-rate going which is nice. Obviously, a tough past week just not being able to do much but I feel better now and I am on my way."
The Oiler lost four teeth in the incident and his broken jaw required a metal plate and six screws to repair. Gagner bitterly reflected on the play that knocked him out of competition for the time being.
"I think it was pretty reckless. I mean, I obviously don't think he was trying to hit me in the face by any means but I guess it's just one of those plays where you've got to be aware of your stick and that's all I really have to say I guess."
Over the course of their history, the Edmonton Oilers have fared well in season and home openers.
Their overall record in regular season openers is 19-10-4 and they are 19-9-5 in home openers.
The team has been victorious in eight of their last nine season openers.
Oilers fans hope the trend continues tonight versus Winnipeg.