On Friday, the Oilers assigned forward Mark Arcobello to Oklahoma City and recalled defenceman Oscar Klefbom. Given Arcobello's production this season, the news was surprising but necessary given the injury situation with defenceman Justin Schultz and with another blueliner banged up.
Arcobello didn't take the assignment the wrong way, understanding the need to make the move.
"I understand it," said Arcobello. "It was a roster move. It was a necessity. I am eager to get back in the lineup and hopefully it's sooner rather than later."
This morning, Arcobello didn't skate on a definitive line as the team ran the forwards in the same combinations as their game in Calgary, in which he didn't play.
The forward doesn't know if that will carry into tomorrow's game against Columbus, or if he will get his chance to return to the lineup.
"I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen for tomorrow, but I'll show up to the rink ready to play tomorrow."
Head Coach Dallas Eakins commented on Arcobello, reaffirming that he has a place on this team. However, when it comes to cracking the lineup, now that the Oilers forward group is healthy again, it is difficult for a player like Arcobello to claim a spot.
"Arco is a part of this team," said Eakins. "He knows that. He could very well be in the lineup tomorrow. We got arguing about forechecks and stuff this morning with the coaches, so when it came to the lines I just threw out how we had them last game and just left it at that.
"That's going to be Arco's battle, it's going to be a number of our guys' battle, it's going to be Will Acton's battle. Those guys that you were not sure if they were going to make the team in training camp, because it is very hard to knock guys out of the lineup who are and who have been established NHL players. They are going to have to fail greatly to take their spots."
Despite the uncertainty of Arcobello's place, one thing is certain; he belongs in the NHL and with the Oilers. Last week, Eakins told the media that he spoke with his forward and told him to get a more permanent housing situation in Edmonton.
The 25-year-old takes comfort in that reassurance but will continue to earn his place.
"It's a little bit more settling," said Arcobello. "But at the same time, I'm trying to really establish myself here as best I can. It's obviously still a work in progress, and I have to get back in the lineup first and then go from there. I'm constantly working on parts of my game that will help me establish a spot. It's a little bit of the same attitude, but it's comforting know I can get a place here and stick around for a little bit."
Arcobello has 12 points (2-10-12) in 20 games for the Oilers.
The Oilers have been without defenceman Justin Schultz since October 29, but that could change as early as tomorrow as the blueliner may finally be recovered from his groin injury.
It is still uncertain whether or not Schultz will be ready to go tomorrow night against Columbus, but things are looking up for his return.
"I felt really good today," said Schultz. "I'm not going to say for sure, but hopefully I can get in the lineup tomorrow. We'll see how I feel in the morning and tomorrow during skate."
Head Coach Dallas Eakins said last week that Schultz was progressing 'slowly' and the defenceman said he did hit a setback, but seems to be on the right pace now.
"It did slow down there a bit and I kind of took a few days off the ice and then yesterday I had a full day off. I think that's helped me and hopefully it feels good tomorrow."
Coach Eakins says he hadn't spoken with the trainers or Schultz as of practice, and calls both Schultz and fellow defenceman Philip Larsen as most likely 'questionable'. This leads to the possibility of a defenceman being recalled from Oklahoma City.
"Both guys could easily be questionable and if they are, we're going to have to reach down into Oklahoma City again," said Eakins.
Should the Oilers need to recall a defenceman form the AHL, there is a short list of players who have already made the trip to Edmonton this season.
Taylor Fedun has played in four games for the Oilers already this season, with two goals and a -1 rating. Rookie, and former 19th overall pick, Oscar Klefbom was recalled on Friday but didn't suit up for the team while they were in Calgary.
Another more experienced option would be veteran defenceman Denis Grebeshkov.
The team will take a wait and see approach and speak to Schultz before making a decision.
You can watch the coverage live right here in our YouTube archive:
You can also fast forward to the interviews.
Ilya Bryzgalov starts speaking at 9:17.
Justin Schultz speaks at 0:55, Jordan Eberle at 2:33 and Head Coach Dallas Eakins starts speaking at 24:46.
The following are today's forward lines at the Oilers practice:
J. Schultz is skating while Philip Larsen is not on the ice.
Oilers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will wear number 80, as tweeted by the Oilers official Twitter account.
Curious what number Bryz will wear?! http://t.co/RhLNHsmjJc— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 18, 2013
The Oilers, along with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place.
Check back for reports from practice as the day goes on.
The Oilers announced this morning that they have placed goaltender Jason LaBarbera on waivers.
#Oilers place goaltender Jason LaBarbera on waivers.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 18, 2013
In two games, Bryzgalov stopped 44 of 50 shots with a 1-1-0 record, 3.03 goals-against average and .880 save percentage as the Barons played the AHL's top team, the Abbotsford Heat, on the weekend.
The Barons dropped a 5-4 decision on Friday night but rebounded to win 4-1 on Saturday.
C.J. Stretch scored the first two goals for the Oklahoma City Barons, who defeated the Abbotsford Heat 4-1 Saturday night at Cox Convention Center. The Barons victory gave them a split on the weekend series and ended the Heat’s winning streak at nine games.
The Barons got on the board first at 12:37 of the second period when Andrew Miller won a race to the puck and fed Stetch a pass from behind the Heat net. Stretch added his second at 19:40 when Austin Fyten gathered the puck in the Heat zone and dropped the puck back for Stretch in the slot where his shot beat Joey MacDonald. Stretch’s two goals extended his point streak to four games, a season high for the Barons. Austin Fyten and Andrew Miller assisted on both goals as the line of Fyten, Stretch and Miller continued their productive play over the weekend.
Paul Byron brought the Heat back within one-goal at 9:59 of the third period, but Linus Omark regained the Barons’ two-goal lead on a powerplay goal less than two minutes later.
Down 3-1, the Heat pulled MacDonald for an extra attacker, but Ben Eager gathered a neutral zone turnover on the right wing and put the Barons up 4-1 with the empty net goal at 18:27 of the third period. The Eager goal gave the Barons their largest margin of victory on the season to date.
Ilya Bryzgalov was sharp for the Barons all night as he stopped 25 of 26 shots in his second straight appearance for the Barons to earn the win. The Barons were 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Heat were held scoreless in their four power play chances. Bryzgalov made some of his biggest saves to keep the Barons penalty kill perfect on the night.
Stretch earned the first star, Fyten was second star and Bryzgalov was the third star of the victory. With the victory the Barons improved to 7-7-0-2 on the season, while Abbotsford dropped to 13-5-0-1, which is still an AHL best.
The Barons next action will be Tuesday, November 19 at 10:30 a.m. when they head to the AT&T Center to play the San Antonio Rampage.
Click here for the boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011326
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled forward Mark Arcobello from the Oklahoma City Barons, the team announced today.
In 20 games this season for the Oilers, Arcobello has 12 points (2-10-12), and ranks tied for third on the team in scoring.
Per the team, the forward is not available to play for the Oilers tonight when they take on the Calgary Flames.
Earlier today, the Oilers assigned rookie defenceman Oscar Klefbom to OKC.