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The Oilers have made no secret that they want promising NHL rookie defenceman Martin Marincin to absorb as much helpful knowledge as possible while he attends the Olympics as a representative of the Slovakian team. To make sure that happens to the fullest success, Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins has enlisted the help of one of the best in the business to take Marincin under his wing; Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara.
Chara and Marincin were seen chatting with each other by the locker rooms after the game yesterday.
Slovak Olympic defencemen Marincin and Chara chatting with Coach Eakins in the hallway post-game. pic.twitter.com/WIRcTemySo— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 1, 2014
“I was calling in a favour,” Eakins said. “I’ve gotten to know Chara over the years. I saw him, at a very early age, with the New York Islanders. I was there at training camp the one year and I saw him starting to put in the work. He was obsessed with it. He’s turned into, for me, one of the top players in the game, a guy with extremely high character, great work ethic, extremely humble and I had talked to Marty about his Olympic experience and the importance of him asking Chara a lot of questions.
“I asked Z after the game… I said I’d like to call in a favour to help this young man; Mr. Marincin. Z was great and he said he’d spend lots of time with him. Zdeno even texted me later, after we were on the plane, just reiterating what he promised. That’s a guy for Marty that… Chara wasn’t quite as light as Marincin is now, but if Marty commits to (taking) that level of commitment that Chara has with his body, then that will speed the process in him being a very good player in this league.”
Marincin and Chara will be teammates in Sochi, Russia this month at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Chara-Marincin relationship and how the Oilers defenceman can benefit from that tutelage.
When the Oilers and Sabres look at the standings and see each other listed as their next opponent, both may see it as an easy win or even a must win. However, the Oilers will not get caught underestimating Buffalo when it comes to their matchup tomorrow night.
“We’re in no position to take anybody lightly, where we’re at in the standings,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I don’t expect that. I expect Buffalo to be coming hard after losing their game the way they did to Colorado. I’d like us to have a little more fight in our game to get to the net. That’s what we were working on today to generate some more scoring because right now, it’s basically one line generating all of our scoring chances and we’ve got to have the other three lines pick up the slack in that department.”
“They’re 30th, we’re 29th,” Taylor Hall said. “It’s a game that both teams don’t want to lose. Anytime you see a team in the standings that’s near you or below you, you want to beat them just to kind of validate yourself a little bit for sure.”
Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry did not participate in today’s skate in Buffalo. However, it may not be serious as the blueliner could be ready as soon as tomorrow. Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided a brief but optimistic update.
“Day-to-day,” Eakins said. “I think we’re hopeful that he’ll play tomorrow, but you never know. He took that heater in the foot. We had a couple of guys take those, but his got him in a very tender part of his foot.”
The Edmonton Oilers may have left Boston carrying the weight of a 4-0 loss, but they did not leave without a blueprint for how they’d like to proceed forward. The Bruins, the ‘jewel of the east’ as goalie Ben Scrivens called them, are one of the NHL’s elite and play exactly how Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins envisions for the future of the team.
It’s a matter of getting the players to buy-in to a defence first mentality and translate that into their play.
“They’re the best defensive team in the league and they give up very little,” Eakins said. “I thought we were okay through two periods and the third fell away from us, especially after the second goal. Through two periods, the chances were actually quite close and then it fell away from there. It’s something that we’re hammering away to the players and the simple reality is if the other team doesn’t score, you’re not going to lose the game. We have to have that mentality here and it’s been a process. It’s an on-going process to get the players to totally understand that, to totally buy in to that and play that way.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center.
The lines are as follows:
Jeff Petry is not on the ice
Petry not on the ice this morning.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) February 2, 2014
The Edmonton Oilers assigned forward Mark Arcobello to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
Arcobello has scored 18 points (4-14-18) in 41 games with the Oilers this season.
He is the Barons all time leader in goals (50), assists (83) and points (133) while being second in games played (173).
The Edmonton Oilers pulled the trigger on a trade this morning which sent prospects Cameron Abney and Teemu Hartikainen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenceman Mark Fraser.
Fraser, 27, has played in 19 games this season for the Maple Leafs, with one assist and 33 penalty minutes. He has played in 162 NHL games in his career, which began as a third round pick, 84th overall, of the New Jersey Devils in 2005.
Abney has played in the ECHL this year, while Hartikainen is overseas in the KHL.
Mark Fraser on Oilers Now
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said the team plays better when the goalies are hot, and Scrivens was on fire in this game.
“Yeah, I think it does,” said Eakins. “I think when your goalies have played like our guys have the last few games, it gives your team confidence… When the team and the players have great, great confidence in their goalie, I think they can push the envelope a little bit more knowing they’re going to get that save.
"Obviously, with Ben coming in and being new here, that performance obviously gives our players a real good feel for what kind of guy he is. He’s in that net stopping pucks and every timeout, he was coming back to the bench, encouraging guys, giving reminders and everything. He was not only just stopping the pucks, he was great with his teammates along the way.”
Scrivens broke franchise and NHL records with his 59 save performance in Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over San Jose. He earned the opportunity to continue his success.
“Well obviously tonight, after that performance, you’ve got to give it a long look and think about it and we’ve got some time to do that," Eakins said of reviewing the goaltending schedule. "He’s not going to do that every night obviously, but it certainly earns him the next game.”
Martin Marincin has been a bright spot on the Edmonton Oilers roster since returning on his second call up to the team earlier this season. The 21-year-old Slovakian defenceman has begun transitioning into full-time NHL duty with solid play that speaks to why the team drafted him in the second round, 46th overall in 2010.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins talked about whether or not he was surprised at how far Marincin has come and how much ice time and responsibility he has been able to place on his young blueliner.
“I guess, yes and no,” said Eakins. “A guy with that experience, you certainly don’t expect to have to run him that hard but he’s earning his minutes. I think we’ve been good at pointing out mistakes, learning from them and making sure he gets right back on the ice to keep his confidence up and there’s lots of stuff he has to work on.”
One of those tidbits of advice that the Oilers bench boss is going to provide to Marincin is that he shadows Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this February.
“I’m going to encourage him at the Olympics to be right beside, behind Zdeno Chara every step that he takes. Z’s a big, strong man. He’s extremely strong, he’s worked hard at it and that’s the one thing Marty needs to take a big step forward with, is his conditioning and his strength and that will come with age. Chara is a guy that really needs to look to, to learn some quick lessons from while he’s at the Olympics. If Z stops too fast, Marty should be running his head right into his butt.”
For more on Marincin and his journey to the NHL and how he should look to Chara as an example, read edmontonoilers.com’s feature on the defencemen which was published a week ago.