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.
"I think I was trembling when I played my first NHL game," said Eakins as he reflected on his playing career.
"I'm much more at ease now than I was then."
Eakins has been asked a few times over the course of the pre-season how he was feeling as the season approached. Last night it was his wife who checked in on the first year coach.
"My far better half, my wife, asked me that last night and again this morning. I haven't thought much about it. I think you get so busy that you're into it. I'm just excited to get going. I want to get playing, I want to see where we're at when we've got challenges early. I want to see how we respond to the challenges. I'm good right now, but that may very well change. I don't think it will. I'm pretty even keel when it comes to that stuff."
The Oilers lines for tonight's season-opening game against the Winnipeg Jets:Smyth - Hall - Hemsky
Perron - Arcobello (wearing #26) - Eberle
Joensuu - Gordon - Yakupov
Gazdic - Acton - Brown
The defence pairings:
Ference - J.Schultz
Smid - Petry
N.Schultz - Belov
Prior to taking the ice for morning skate, the Oilers announced that their alternate captains for the upcoming season. They are:
#Oilers have named Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nick Schultz and Ryan Smyth Assistant Captains.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 1, 2013
The forward was excited that the Oilers picked him up off waivers yesterday.
"I thought I had a good game against them and a good training camp. It was nice that someone noticed up there and it couldn't have worked out any better," he said.
Gazdic scored a goal and played a good, physical game against the Oilers in Oklahoma City on Friday.
"I thought I came in in good shape. I got into a couple exhibition games and I thought I did a lot of other things well. I thought I might have a chance to stick there but things didn't work out and I'm happy to be here."
Known for his fighting ability -- he had 80 penalty minutes in 59 games last season -- Gazdic added that he feels he brings more to the table than just fisticuffs.
"I bring a lot more to the ice than that 'goon mentality'. I think that job in the game is done. I have to be sound defensively, I have to be reliable, making plays. It starts in the defensive zone. If I can chip in on the scoresheet every once in awhile then that's okay. I know that first and foremost, the physical side of my game has gotten me this far and that's my primary job on the ice."
Joining the Oilers this late in camp, Gazdic has had to do a crash course on the team's systems work.
"He's throwing all the systems at me. For the most part, all this stuff is generally the same but they do some different stuff here so he's going over and making sure I know what spot I should be in and where I'm supposed to be on the ice at all times."
The other Oilers forward lines are the same as yesterday:
Perron - Arcobello - Eberle
Smyth - Hall - Hemsky
Joensuu - Gordon - Yakupov
- Tom Gazzola goes 1-on-1 with Andrew Ference
- Post-Practice Interviews
- RAW | Dallas Eakins
- RAW | Mark Arcobello
- RAW | Luke Gazdic
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Mark Messier speaks with the Edmonton media
Mark Messier was at Oilers practice today and afterwards met with the media.
"I'm here doing a sports and memorabilia dinner up in Sylvan Lake on Thursday so I took the opportunity to come in a couple of days early and see the boys and catch the opening game," he told a group of local reporters.
"I always get a chance to come see the game, see Kevin and MacT and some good friends here in the city."
Messier is currently helping oversee the transformation of the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into the largest ice complex in the world -- nine rinks. He is working on this project after departing the New York Rangers organization this past summer. After the project is complete, Messier could see himself returning to the NHL in some management capacity but his focus right now is on the project.
"This was an opportunity that I had been working on for the last three years and all of a sudden it became very real and we were getting through all the approvals that you need to do something in the city. It's a historical landmark building and all the approval processes are very stringent. We're getting through community votes, we're getting through council votes, we're getting through to City Hall. It looks like it's getting off the ground," he said. "This has been a work in progress the last three years."
The former Oilers captain also had some words about Andrew Ference, who was named the 14th captain of the Oilers yesterday.
"Being a captain at any team level is important. It's not to be taken lightly. It's a big responsibility. I think that players need a galvanizing figure to rally around. That player has to have the experience and wherewithal to live 25 lives instead of just one and it's not easy sometimes," Messier began. "The guys that do it well and the teams that do have good leadership from their captains and assistant captains oftentimes are the teams that will perform better. But you don't need a letter on your jersey to be a leader. Ultimately, everyone needs to be a leader in their own way and take their own responsibility to do more."
Following Oilers practice on Monday, Curtis Hamilton stepped out onto the ice to skate on his own. Hamilton has been out with a knee injury since tearing his ACL in the American Hockey League playoffs back in May.
"It shouldn't be too much longer before I'm back playing," said Hamilton prior to hitting the ice today.
"It's slowly progressed. You're limited in a lot of things you can do and you have a knee problem and it's been a slow process but it's coming along nicely. I've been skating quite a bit now. Hopefully I start skating with the team in a little bit."
The winger had surgery back in May and the recovery is going along just as scheduled. He will remain in Edmonton until he is ready to play. As for when that will be, there are no definite timelines.
"The trainers here think I'm close to ready but it's up to the doctor's discretion on when he thinks I'm allowed to come back and do skates. As far as contact goes, being able to actually play a game is probably still a little ways away but I kind of go day-by-day."