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- RAW | Dallas Eakins
Oilers forward David Perron missed the Oilers last game, against Toronto, with an illness. He then missed practice with pain in his neck which he remained out with today.
Edmonton's Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that Perron will likely be out of the lineup for another game tomorrow night as the Oilers host the Detroit Red Wings. He is being sent in to get a MRI done on his injured neck.
"I don't think he's going to be," said Eakins when asked if Perron would return to the lineup. "We're going to send him for an MRI on his neck to make sure nothing's dysfunctional there because he's got a lot of pain in his neck. We're going to send him for a MRI and we'll wait for that. He's still questionable I guess, but he's a guy I need a more in depth look to see what's going on."
"Justin Schultz has had a nagging groin," said Eakins. "Today, I think he had some discomfort in his ribs so he left practice which is never a great thing. I think it's a day-to-day issue. We'll see how he is in the morning."
Eakins says that the team may have to call someone up as insurance in case Schultz can't play.
"That's the next thing on the list. I'm going to go see where our athletic therapist T.D. (Forss) thinks he's at. If it sounds like we've got to call somebody up, I'll ask Craig (MacTavish) and see who it is."
Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk has sat out the past few games with an ankle injury, but he may be close to his return.
"It's better," said Dubnyk. "It was kind of a weird injury and with the little bit of time off, it's gotten better each day. It's a little bit sore, but it's nothing restricting out there. Certainly, I don't think about it anymore on the ice."
When asked if he was ready to start tomorrow against Detroit, the goalie said he feels like he is.
"I'll be ready to go. We haven't talked about it yet but I'll be ready to go if that's what they want to do."
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that Dubnyk was starting to play better after a struggling start to his season. The decision on whether or not he will start tomorrow has yet to be determined as Eakins will talk with the medical and coaching staffs to see where Dubnyk is in his recovery.
"I thought he was gaining his confidence back" said Eakins. "He was square in the net, he was under control in the net when he didn't have much confidence (before). He was all over the net. He's practiced hard here the last few days and I'll get a read on where he's at."
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park. Taylor Hall skated on his own, then briefly with the team. Justin Schultz also made his return to practice. David Perron remains absent.
Hall skating with the #Oilers today at Millennium Place. JSchultz also back practicing after missing yesterday. Perron (back/neck) absent.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 1, 2013
- Ryan Smyth Injury Update
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Since being recalled from the American Hockey League, Ryan Jones has been steadily playing better and better for Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
The bench boss says it's due to Jones having a newly acquired desperation that has inspired an upswing in production on the ice.
"I think he's come back with desperation, that's for sure," said Eakins. "I think he's come back with a little desperation and now he's played some more hockey too, he's missed a bunch of games. We need Jonesy to play just how he has kind of the last couple of games. He's got to finish every check. That's not negotiable with Jonesy and he's doing a good job with that."
With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the receiving end of a knee-to-knee hit against Los Angeles last week, it was Jones who answered the bell and went after the offender later in the game. Jones and Kyle Clifford scuffled as the Oiler was sticking up for his teammate, something that didn't go unnoticed.
"He went and stuck up for one of his teammates. I don't expect that of him a whole lot. I challenge our group that we have to stick up for each other. It's everyone's job. He did that in the L.A game which took courage, so we like that out of him."
Eakins says that for Jones, it's all about sticking to his game.
"He's playing a simple game right now and that's what Jonesy is. He's going to skate up and down his wing, he's going to hit everything that moves and he's going to drive the net hard and cause a commotion there. That's where he'll be rewarded with his points. I've been encouraged with Jones over the last few games. I just find him to be more desperate now than he was in training camp."
The Oilers rank among the bottom five in the league in penalty kill at 76%, ahead of only Minnesota, Boston, Anaheim and Chicago.
Last season, special teams was a strength of the team where they were ranked ninth in the NHL at killing penalties at an 83.4% clip. New systems and personnel injuries could factor into the slow start for the Oilers.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says he is still trying to tweak his PK unit, finding the best possible combination of players. While there will be more tweaking to come, the one thing that will hold strong is the aggressiveness of the system.
"The penalty kill… it's all new," said Eakins. The one thing we've changed as we've gone along is, we've changed our up-ice on a nightly basis, which isn't a big deal. That's not a big deal in the league. It's all, if Ovechkin and Backstrom are swinging to this side, it'd probably be pretty smart to take those guys away. In-game stuff.
"But the aggressiveness of it is something that is different for these guys and we're not going to change that. We're going to stay with it. I know it doesn't come naturally to some of our guys. I've had trouble getting a really good feel for the guys I want to kill penalties up front and it's kind of back and forth on performance. I feel over the last couple of games, we've got into the mix that we want to use and I think we've done a little bit better job at it."
Eakins also says the team's power play, which scored at a top ten NHL rate of 20.1%, has suffered do to personnel being in and out of the lineup due to injuries. This season, the team has a power play conversion rate of just 13%.
David Perron missed Tuesday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an illness. While the Oilers forward is over that and feeling better, he is still day-to-day and missed practice this morning.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says they'll see if he'll be ready to play on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
"We'll see," said Eakins. "He wasn't feeling well the other day, I think he's over that. He's got a ton of pain in his back and up on his neck. He took some serious whacks the other night. He's kind of day-today. I'm hoping he'll be back tomorrow."
Oilers veteran forward Ryan Smyth, who has been out with a groin injury, skated with the team this morning at practice. He served as a defenceman, with Justin Schultz not participating and Denis Grebeshkov and Corey Potter both assigned to Oklahoma City.
Smyth says it felt good to get back out there with the team and he's been feeling much better.
"It's obviously nice to be around the guys again and get a feel for the pace," said Smyth. "It's feeling good.
"The groin is feeling good… It's something I have never experienced in my career. I've had some soreness in my groin but I've never pulled it. It's healing up well and, like I've said, it's nice to get back with the guys."
The timeline for Smyth's return is to be determined by the doctor and coaching staff.
"I'm feeling fairly decent. Obviously, we'll talk with the doc and we'll let them and the coaching staff make the decision. I just want to be healthy moving forward."