Dallas Eakins will coach his 100th NHL game tomorrow night against the Coyotes. In his second year with the Oilers, the players have noticed him evolving as a head coach in the league.
“This year, he’s been awesome,” Jordan Eberle said. “As far as the practices we’ve been running, they’ve been quick paced in tempo. I think the more you’re with the coach, the more familiarity you get with him and you know what he expects. I think having him around this year, we’ve had so many coaching changes, it has definitely helped by getting right back into it and the systems we established last year. More than anything, it’s how he runs the bench and everything like that. It just makes it a lot easier on everybody.”
Eakins reflected on his first 99 games with the club today after practice and says it’s been a good situation for him, coaching in Edmonton.
“I didn’t even know it has been 100 games,” Eakins said. “It has been what coaching is. You’re in the battle every day. My family loves living in the city, we like the challenge of coaching and my girls are settled in so on the family side it has been excellent. I work for extremely good people, which is excellent and we’re encouraged that our team is getting better.”
The Oilers could be getting a huge boost to their lineup tomorrow night against the Arizona Coyotes. Their top left winger Taylor Hall could be back from his MCL sprain.
“I think if morning skate goes as well as I think it will then I’ll be playing,” Hall said.
After another good day of practice, how it feels tomorrow morning will decide if Hall plays or not.
“There’s not too much pain anymore,” he said. “The pain dissolved after a couple of days. It’s more of just strength and being able to rely on it. Like I said, today was another good day and I want to keep going.”
However, he is wearing a black jersey along with Luke Gazdic. It does not appear as though he will have a regular line to skate on today.
The Oilers forward lines are as follows:
“So impressed. So impressed.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left his head coach thoroughly pleased with his performance against Ottawa on Thursday night. The centre is going to be, if he isn’t already, a very good NHL player.
Taken first overall in 2011, Nugent-Hopkins has taken great strides this season both on the ice and as a leader.
When the Oilers were down 3-0, Nugent-Hopkins showed his resiliency and demanded better.
“It’s fun to watch him,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “It’s fun to watch this kid grow into whatever player he’s going to turn into. He’d been a horse for us on that road trip and tonight, as he was battling through too, you could see him, his eyes narrow and him dig his heels in and basically say, ‘I’m going to change this game now.’”
Nugent-Hopkins had a partial breakaway shortly before the end of the first period. He earned an assist on Jordan Eberle’s 100th career NHL goal that drew the Oilers within one. He was also instrumental on the game-tying goal when he carried the puck strong into the zone and set up Jeff Petry for the tally.
The Oilers lost 4-3 in overtime, but their push back was impressive.
Having the Oilers best players put the team on their back and turn a game around is, “a great sign.”
Eakins said, “As these guys mature, I think you’re going to see more and more of it. They’re able to do it not just occasionally anymore. They’re getting to a point, they’re not there yet but they’re getting to a point, where they’re strong enough to do it, confident enough to do it, mentally tough enough to do it and it’s a part of their development. We saw a bunch of it on the road trip, but I think our fans got a very clear view of which way this young man is going.”
Nugent-Hopkins leads the Oilers in scoring with 13 points (5-8-13) in 15 games.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have recalled winger Luke Gazdic from the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons.
Gazdic, 25, posted two goals and seven penalty minutes in five games with Oklahoma City during his conditioning assignment.
The Oilers held a moment of silence on this Remembrance Day at 11:00 a.m. Coach Eakins spoke about it prior to his pre-game media availability.
"(Today is) a day where our organization honours those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf to keep us safe. Our team, organized by our captain Andrew Ference, had a moment of silence at 11 o'clock this morning which, again, shows Andrew's leadership and our group's dedication to the military," said Eakins. "So thank you for that."
David Perron expanded on the coach's comments.
"It's just awesome what they do for us and what all the people did for us back in the day," he said. "It's actually amazing. I read on Twitter this morning about the 11 o'clock thing. We had a little moment of silence before practice thinking about everything that's been done and it's a good day for everyone."
Oilers winger Taylor Hall, who has missed the last four games with a sprained MCL and won't play again tonight, skated for the first time since his injury on Monday in Edmonton.
"Taylor and I touch base every few days," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "He's coming along fine."
The head coach talked about liking the way his team has responded without their leading scorer.
"That goes to our depth," he said. "Craig's done a great job giving us more depth up front. We've got guys playing bigger roles so we're at least hopeful we can come out and survive it without our best player."
It looks like Marincin and Klefbom are both the odd men out on the blueline.
Don't be surprised if Dallas Eakins goes with Viktor Fasth for 3rd straight start. He is 4-0, 1.45 GAA, .943 SVP vs Nashville— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 11, 2014
Oilers winger Matt Hendricks returns to Nashville for the first time since he was traded to the Oilers last January.
Hendricks has now played more games as an Oiler (48) than he did as a Predator (44) and talked about his time in Edmonton so far.
“It’s been great. We’ve got a really good team," he said. "We’re building, constantly getting better and it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of that and hopefully it’s continued and we keep climbing the ladder."
This will be the fourth time that the Oilers have played the Preds since acquiring Hendricks. Edmonton won both meetings last year by a score of 5-1 but earlier this season the Predators prevailed 4-1 at Rexall Place.
"We got to play them a few times last year in Edmonton and beat them so that was a good time but we lost the last one in Edmonton. This is my first time back so it’ll be fun to come in here and beat them," said Hendricks.
Hendricks was also asked about how the Nashville squad's playing style has changed with new head coach Peter Laviolette.
"Their structure has changed. The way they play throughout the neutral zone is up-tempo. If they turn the puck over that leads to transition in a real hurry and that just leads to more offence.
"We have to be very good with the puck. We have to keep it on our stick. If we can’t make plays we’ve got to get it deep and go to work because if we turn it over, they’re going to come back the other way in a real hurry."