INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 2:16 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

VIDEO: PRACTICE: Sunday at Rexall Place | RAW: Todd Nelson | RAW: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
AUDIO: Todd Nelson | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Prior to practice on Sunday, Taylor Hall skated on his own and then helped warm up the goaltenders. Coach Nelson said that he will skate with the team for the first time on Monday at morning skate prior to the game against the Leafs.

“He’s going to skate with us tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels,” said Nelson.

The coach was also asked if, when Hall returns, he'll assume his usual spot on the right side half boards on the power play, considering how well the team has played with the man advantage since Hall's been injured (28.1%, #1 in the NHL). Nelson said he didn't want to jump to any conclusions for a decision that will be made down the road.

“A lot of things can happen over the next few games with personnel, guys get injured and what-not. I like where Nuge is right now and we’ll try to make it fit, if everybody is healthy, with Taylor on one of the two units.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 2:09 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Since Todd Nelson took over behind the Oilers bench as interim head coach, the team's power play has been outstanding. The team had a 12.0% overall power play success rating (and 4.7% on the road) with only 13 total goals scored (2 on the road).

“I think at the start of the year we were getting a lot of chances and we just couldn’t score. You start holding on to the puck too long and that really hurt us. Now lately, we go out there with a lot of confidence, feeling like we’re going to score. Putting a lot of pucks on the net, working hard and winning battles,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the team's much-improved play with the man advantage.

Since Nelson, the team's power play has been running along at a 25.0% clip with 23 goals on 92 opportunities. The best power play in the entire NHL -- the Detroit Red Wings -- are at 25.3%. On the road, that power play has been 29.5%.

“I think the personnel, the units that we have, they’re working well together," said Nelson. "Our challenge from our staff is to outwork their penalty kill. I think Craig Ramsay’s done a great job of preparing them but the message is to keep it simple, get pucks going to the net, get traffic and try to outwork their penalty kill.”

The power play has gotten even better since the all-star break. In that six-week stretch, the Oilers have the best power play in the entire NHL by a significant margin at 28.1%. On the road, it's even better at 34.2%.

It's all the more amazing when it's considered that they have accomplished this all without Taylor Hall, the team's usual leading power-play point-getter who was injured coming out of the break.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 10:44 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

VIDEO: PRACTICE: Sunday at Rexall Place | RAW: Todd Nelson | RAW: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
AUDIO: Todd Nelson | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place after returning late Friday night from their five-game road trip through the Northeastern U.S.

Tyler Pitlick is on the ice wearing a non-contact yellow jersey. The forward lines are:

Pouliot - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Purcell - Roy - Yakupov
Hendricks - Lander - Fraser
Gazdic/Hamilton - Gordon - Klinkhammer

There are seven defencemen on the ice: Nikitin, Ference, Klefbom, Marincin, Schultz, Aulie and Fayne.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 4:12 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers are on the ice at Cosol Energy Center in Pittsburgh for practice.

Lines:

Gazdic-RNH-Eberle
Purcell-Roy-Yakupov
Hamilton-Lander-Fraser
Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer

Pouliot had maintenance day.

Defence:

Klefbom-Schultz
Marincin-Fayne
Ference-Nikitin (Aulie)


AUDIO:

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 4:04 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Todd Nelson was a Paul Coffey fan, watching him play for the Oilers and Penguins from his hometown of Prince Albert, SK.

“I enjoyed the way he played the game,” Nelson said. “Let’s face it, when he picked up the puck and got his feet moving, he was pretty to watch. He was the player I always wanted to be.”

Nelson was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft. He’d get his first call up with the Penguins on November 23, 1991, filling in for an ill Ulf Samuelsson. And guess who was there to greet him when he walked through the door.

“As soon as I walked in, Paul Coffey came over to me and welcomed me to the team. Second guy was Mario (Lemieux).”

The Oilers interim coach only played one game for the Penguins in his career, but it was a good time to be a part of the organization. Being greeted by Coffey upon his arrival was just one of the moments from his stint with Pittsburgh Nelson will never forget.

“It was a time they were winning Stanley Cups and I was a young guy just trying to cut my teeth in pro hockey,” Nelson said. “It was quite a time for me because we had so many great players in the organization. Walking into that dressing room, you were somewhat starstruck because you had quite a few hall of famers there. It was a good two-year run for them and I was fortunate to play one game for them.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 11:30 AM MT

The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned defenceman Jordan Oesterle to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons.

Oesterle, 22, appeared in six games for the Oilers and he posted his first career National Hockey League point (assist) on March 3rd against the Los Angeles Kings.

The 6-0’, 182-pound defenceman has registered 21 points (6G, 15A), six penalty minutes and a plus five rating in 49 games with the Barons this season

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.9.2015 / 12:15 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Although he is having a promising season, 21-year-old Oscar Klefbom has had some downs to go with the ups. The last two games are a perfect example of a young defencemen experiencing the peaks and valleys of development.

Against Chicago, Klefbom was excellent. The blueliner played 26:23 against one of the best teams in the league, recording seven shots on goal, two hits and three blocked shots. The game against Carolina was a different story as Klefbom saw his minutes cut to 20:09 and he finished -3 with a couple giveaways and no shots on net.

The Oilers expect a bounce-back game from the young defender.

“We expect that with a young guy like Oscar,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “You’re going to have nights like Chicago and then last night was a little bit of a tough one, but we expect him to bounce back strong tonight. That’s the way it’s going to be, especially for young defencemen. I think it’s a hard position to establish yourself in the National Hockey League and there are always going to be ups and downs. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you do have those tough nights. But just knowing the past experience of Oscar, he does bounce back.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.7.2015 / 1:46 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have taken the ice in Raleigh for their practice ahead of tomorrow's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Lines:

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
Purcell-Lander-Yakupov
Hamilton-Hendricks-Fraser
Gazdic-Gordon-Klinkhammer

Derek Roy is not on the ice. He is just out for a maintenance day.

Defensive Pairings:

Klefbom-Schultz
Marincin-Fayne
Ference-Oesterle

Aulie-Nikitin (shoulder)


AUDIO:

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.4.2015 / 2:29 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place.

Matt Hendricks and Nikita Nikitin are absent.

Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick are in non-contact yellow jerseys.

Lines:

Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
Purcell-Roy-Yakupov
Gazdic-Gordon-Klinkhammer
Hamilton-(Lander & Pitlick rotating)-Fraser

Defensive Pairings:

Klefbom-Schultz
Marincin-Fayne
Ference-Oesterle

Aulie


AUDIO:

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.4.2015 / 2:27 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

he Oilers beat New Jersey and then followed up a great effort against the Islanders with a 4-3 overtime win in Montreal. That was followed by a 7-2 loss in Ottawa. They bounced back with a 4-3 shootout loss to Winnipeg and then a shootout win over Boston, again followed by disappointment with a 4-0 loss to Minnesota. That shutout was followed by a nice effort against Anaheim and a win against the very same Minnesota Wild. A 2-1 loss to St. Louis followed, not short on effort. Then came the disappointment last night in the form of a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles.

Two or three solid showings, followed by a letdown game. The Oilers are striving to weed out the latter.

“We’ve got to figure out why we play two or three good games in a row and then, not only are we playing bad but we’re almost embarrassing ourselves,” Luke Gazdic said. “The 4-0 loss to (Minnesota) was brutal, last night was brutal against LA. St. Louis, we lost but I thought we played a good quality game. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but we’ve got to find a way to bring a good, consistent effort every night. We can’t be playing two, three, four good games in a row and then come out and just stink up the joint. We’ve got to find a way to be a little more consistent in our starts and our efforts.”

Gazdic, along with several Oilers players showed anger and disappointment after last night’s result.

“We were frustrated,” Jordan Eberle said. “It wasn’t our best night, not even close. I think we’re trying to find a level of consistency where we’re playing our game every night. When you have a step back like that, it pisses you off. We addressed it today, we talked about it and went over the video. It was ugly. We strived to have a really good practice and we did.”

The search for consistency continued today at Rexall Place, where the Oilers pushed the pace of practice.

“I liked today,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We had a very good video session. We went over the things that we want to develop more consistency with and then we had an excellent day on the ice. If we can apply that work ethic on the ice we had today in practice to a game then we’ll be a much tougher team to play against. I think the guys are getting the concept, I think they’re understanding how we have to play consistently. We mentioned it last night that we have three decent efforts and then you have a game like last night where it wasn’t a very good game at all… Our goal is to play consistent the rest of the season.”

Nelson wasn’t the only one pleased with the response of the team today, following last night’s loss.

“It started today in practice for sure,” Nelson said. “We had a little video session before it and Todd was talking about things we have to work on, but the thing he focused on was we can’t think about next game with Chicago, it’s got to start in practice. We had an up tempo, good paced practice. It was tough, but we did well at it. We pushed through it and the next goal is to get ready for a good Blackhawks team.”

The Oilers begin a five-game road trip in Chicago on Friday.

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG