“They skated with us today. There was no contact but it was good to see them on the ice practicing with us. They’re still both a ways away but it’s one of those things where we’ll take it day-by-day with both guys and see how they feel and how they respond after skating with us,” Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson stated, adding with Pitlick's injury being a lacerated spleen they need to be more cautious.
“It’s a process with him. It’s good to see him on the ice skating and we’ll see if it’s mending properly then we’ll go from there,” Nelson continued. “He just needs to try and stay in the best shape possible. He had limited activity right after the injury. But he looked good out there today and it looks like he’s been doing stuff in the gym to maintain his physical fitness.”
Pitlick added that he has been feeling much better and was glad to finally get on the ice with his teammates.
“Everything’s been feeling good. I haven’t been in any pain in awhile so that part’s going good. I’ve been getting on the ice. Today’s my first practice with the team. I’ve got to wait for my next scan, wait for word that everything is healed up and then start taking my next contact.”
Pitlick is hopeful to join the team for their upcoming five-game road trip in early March.
“We’re trying to push it up to March 3. So hopefully I can get that scan, go on the road with the guys, do some practices and then by the time we get back from the road maybe get in a game,” Pitlick remarked, adding he's been experiencing some cabin fever wanting to get back out there.
“There’s not much you can do for a month. I pretty much sat on the couch and watched TV for a month straight and then started walking on the treadmill a little bit, just easing into it. It’s been boring. I haven’t had much to do. It’s not like a knee where you’re on the table, doing some exercises or getting work done. There’s not much you can do except rest.”
Pitlick said that at first, he didn't feel anything after a collision with Lance Bouma lacerated his spleen.
“I knew it was a big collision right away because I felt the impact,” he said. “It really didn’t hurt that bad initially. I just kind of felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I kept skating and had a few more shifts. I felt all right. I just felt like I had something in my stomach. I finished the game and afterwards I went in the training room and got ice for my shoulder. Wasn’t really thinking about my stomach but just kind of asked about it. They checked it out and there was some tenderness there so they wanted to make sure everything was all right before I got on the plane.
“It’s a good thing they did because as soon as we got in the cab and headed to the hospital, the pain escalated. It’s a good thing they caught it and I wasn’t on the plane when that happened.”
PETRY ALMOST READY
Jeff Petry skated again with the team and said he felt like he could be ready to go tomorrow when the Oilers meet the Minnesota Wild.
“I’m hoping to be in the lineup against Minny. It was just a shot to the ribs, nothing was broken. Just bruised. It’s pretty sore to rotate but every day’s gotten a lot better and I didn’t have any issues today.”
Coach Nelson did add that the team did not have any further updates on Anton Lander's shoulder injury.
Nail Yakupov got hurt last game but played the entire contest. Today, he started practice but left early. Coach Nelson said that him leaving practice was precautionary and he will travel with the team to Minnesota.
“Last game he tweaked something. He got through the game but we just shut him down (today) for precautionary reasons. He’s making the trip and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Tyler Pitlick and Nikita Nikitin are both on the ice (in yellow non-contact jerseys), skating with the team for the first time since suffering their respective injuries.
Line combinations up front are:
This is Oesterle's first NHL tour of duty. He has played 49 games this season in his rookie AHL campaign and has six goals and 15 assists for 21 points along with a +5 rating and six penalty minutes. He is second in scoring among Barons defencemen this season.RELATED:
Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl has been named the WHL's Player of the Week. From the WHL's official press release:
ROCKETS’ DRAISAITL NAMED DENNY’S WHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CALGARY, AB -The Western Hockey League announced today that Kelowna Rockets forward Leon Draisaitl is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 15th, 2015.
Draisaitl collected nine points (2g-7a), while posting a plus-four rating in four games over the past week to help lead the Rockets to a 3-1-0-0 record over that span.
On Monday, February 9th, Draisaitl tallied two assists to lead the Rockets to a 5-2 win over the Prince George Cougars. On Friday, February 13th, Draisaitl collected three assists against the Victoria Royals in a 7-3 victory while also earning first star honours. Draisaitl concluded the week with a four point performance (2g-2a) against the Moose Jaw Warriors on February 14th in which he scored the game-winning goal and added another in a 6-0 shutout victory.
A 19-year-old Cologne, Germany native, Draisaitl has gathered 27 points (9g-18a) along with a plus-nine rating in 17 games this season. The 6’1”, 210 lb forward is in his third WHL campaign and first with Kelowna. Draisaitl has amassed 190 points (68g-122a) in 145 career WHL regular season contests and was selected third overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Ben Scrivens spoke to Oilers TV's Tom Gazzola after practice on Sunday to talk about his recovery from a hamstring injury.
“It’s progressing well. I’m feeling good in practice. It’s getting a little better every day,” Scrivens began. “I’m doing what the doctors and trainers are telling me to do and doing everything I can to get back as quickly as possible.”
Scrivens said that the play came about from a fluke incident where he was trying to scramble back to the net in New Jersey to prevent a goal.
“I went to play the puck behind the net, it wasn’t a great puck play, I kind of gave it away. Tried to get it to Schultzie and turned it over and a guy try to come and stuff it really quickly. I came out and spread and jammed the post so I was in a full spread and torqued it a little extra.
“You kind of feel something but obviously I was good enough to keep going. It tightened up that night and I talked to the trainers and started to get treatment done the next morning.”
Coach Nelson added that he expects to see Scrivens back on the team's upcoming three-game homestand which starts Wednesday against Boston.
There was a myriad of injury updates following Sunday's practice. Tom Gazzola spoke with Benoit Pouliot, who played his first game on Saturday after missing five with a foot injury.
“I felt good. The foot felt good. It wasn’t really the game I was hoping for but I’ll talk personally. I think I felt okay. In the third I felt a little bit better. The first two periods were slow but after that I gained speed,” said Pouliot.
Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks both didn't skate on Sunday. For Gordon, interim head coach Todd Nelson termed it a maintenance day. For Hendricks, the hope was a day of complete rest would show some more recovery.
“He tried it yesterday (at pre-game warm-up in Ottawa). We thought a day of rest today would be better off. We’ll try it again tomorrow morning,” said Nelson, adding that losing a player like Hendricks hurts the team.
“Let’s face it. He’s an emotional guy, he’s a glue guy in the room and he’s a leader. The thing is, any time you lose a guy like that out of your lineup, you’re going to miss him.”
Nelson added that Ben Scrivens, who was retroactively placed on IR on Saturday, will not play tomorrow due to his hamstring injury but is a potential for the team's upcoming three-game homestand.
“He’s not going to be available for tomorrow. We’re just trying to get him ready for our homestand at home.”
Another absence at skate was Rob Klinkhammer. He will likely not play on Monday, but for a different reason. When he landed in Winnipeg, he got news that his wife was in labour. He immediately jumped in a car and drove overnight to Lethbridge. He is still awaiting word on the new addition to his family.
One day after a disappointing 7-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Oilers were back on the ice in Winnipeg and looking to bounce back.
“We had a really good meeting before practice. We had a spirited practice out there and the guys competed hard. That’s the great thing about the game of hockey. We got to wake up this morning, get back in the saddle and try to rectify things,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson.
Nelson added that the way the team played was odd to him considering they had made some great strides throughout the week with three excellent games, particularly against two tough Eastern Conference teams in New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.
“I wish I could figure it out. I’m sure every coach would like to figure it out because it’s pretty odd, right? Especially when we were trending in the right direction and then we come out with that performance,” Nelson continued.
“There were so many things. All 20 guys were culprits. Just our thought process with our system work, making plays, our execution was off. It was one of those games. I think the most important thing now is us moving forward and trying to get back to where we were in Montreal and Long Island.”
Benoit Pouliot added that he felt the team could give a lot more than they showed on Saturday.
“You don’t want those games to happen too often. Yesterday afternoon was pretty embarrassing. Just the way that we played. We didn’t really try that hard. Intensity was low and they scored seven goals. It showed. We can’t play like this or we’ll be like this every night.”
Jordan Eberle did add that despite the loss, the team has been showing positive signs.
“We’re definitely playing better as a team, with the exception of last game. Before that, we were really starting to hum,” Eberle began.
“When we play bad, we lose. It’s plain and simple but now when we play good and play the right way, we’re winning. That just shows the signs of a good team. We just have to bring that consistent level every night and play the way we know we can.”
Eberle expects a battle on Monday night against a Winnipeg team coming off the high of a shootout win in Detroit.
“Moving forward to Winnipeg, they’re a good team. They play a lot like Ottawa. They’re big, they’re strong and they’re fast. We know they’re going to come around in our face so we have to play a lot better than we did.”
Purcell - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Hamilton - Roy - Yakupov
Pouliot - Lander - Pakarinen
Gazdic - Fraser
UPDATE: Klinkhammer is in Lethbridge with his wife awaiting the arrival of his child.
Day 11 of road trip in WPG. No Gordon & Hendricks. Klinkhammer in Lethbridge with his wife in Lethbridge awaiting arrival of child.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) February 15, 2015