As the Oilers continue to feel their way out in net and try to get both goaltenders going, they will start Anders Nilsson against the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow.
Nilsson started two games on this most recent road trip and went 1-1-0 with an overtime win in Anaheim.
“We have confidence in both of them,” said Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We are trying to develop two goaltenders that are figuring their way out and trying to establish themselves as starters in the league. They’ve both proven they can play and play well. To say ‘win and stay in’ or ‘win and you’re in’ isn’t accurate. It will continue to be our job to develop both, get them both confident and get them playing. We’re just going to go one game at a time and Nilsson is playing tomorrow.”
Nilsson is 3-4-0 on the season with a 3.21 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Oilers winger Teddy Purcell didn’t like his start to the season and sought to change that. He has a candid discussion with Head Coach Todd McLellan after a handful of games.
“I didn’t like where I was at and he wasn’t pleased, he knew I had more to give,” Purcell said. “He talked about moving my feet and executing. That’s two things that are easily correctable and I’ve been trying to build off that. When I move my feet more, I am more involved in the play, I come up with more pucks and you have the puck more so you feel good about yourself. It can change pretty quick. This game can get nasty at times so you’ve got to keep it simple, keep going, keep trying to build that chemistry.”
Purcell has been playing better hockey in the recent stretch of games. He has points in three of his last four games and goals in two of his last three, including an overtime game-winning goal against Anaheim last Wednesday.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling more confident out there and moving my feet. I’m not the fastest guy anyways and I think when I missed 12 days in camp I kind of fell behind a little bit. It took me a little bit to get up to game speed where guys had some more exhibition games. Anytime you get the chance to play with two guys that are feeling it right now, in Leon and Taylor, it’s nice when the coach puts you up there and puts you in different situations. It can change pretty quick so you’ve got to ride the momentum and keep building.”
Purcell has eight points (4-4-8) in 18 games this season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has missed some time with the flu but was back on the ice on Tuesday at Clareview Arena.
“I know a few guys on our team (had it), I think it was getting passed around a little bit, but feeling a lot better now,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “It was good to get out there and actually skate and get my legs going. It was a pretty intense practice. Pretty high pace, so it was good to get back.”
Sometimes coming back from illness it is hard to breathe and get up to speed out there on the ice, but Nugent-Hopkins was able to finish an intense practice.
“It was a high-paced practice but there weren’t too many battle drills or anything like that. It wasn’t too tough on the lungs but just good to get the legs back under me and get the lungs going again a little bit.”
The Oilers are on the ice at Clareview Arena in Edmonton for Tuesday practice.
Edmonton got healthier on Tuesday with Jordan Eberle, Matt Hendricks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all returning to practice. Eberle and Hendricks missed yesterday’s skate for maintenance while Nugent-Hopkins has been fighting illness.
The Oilers defence looked as follows in their first drill:
Reinhart rotating in
- BLOG: Monday practice updates
- BLOG: McDavid on the mend
- BLOG: Schultz back on the ice
- BLOG: McDavid dealing with no hockey
- BLOG: Oilers continue to deal with injury
- IN FOCUS | McDavid Healing
- INJURY UPDATE | Connor McDavid
- INJURY UPDATE | Justin Schultz
- INJURY UPDATE | Lauri Korpikoski
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
A few Oilers players have been dealing with illness, beginning on this last road trip. The Oilers were short in numbers at practice with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Luke Gazdic and Matt Hendricks among those missing in action.
Not all of the day’s absences were illness related. Head Coach Todd McLellan said Eberle and Hendricks were out for maintenance.
“Illness continues to go through the team,” McLellan said. “Anybody who was on our roster that didn’t skate today is either hurt or sick. We expect some of them to be back for Wednesday when we play against Chicago, but we’re trying to keep the sick guys away from the healthy guys just so the germ doesn’t travel. There’s others that need a little bit of healing time from wounds from the games. Hopefully we’ll have, not a full complement but a larger complement of players to pick from.”
Connor McDavid, like any other young player with an injury, is not enjoying the recovery part.
The 18-year-old centre did not make the last trip with the team, and although he feels better than he thought he would this early in the recovery process (broken clavicle), the young player is bored at home.
“He’s bored, which 18-year-olds can be when they’re not playing hockey and the team is away,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I think he’s got a great mindset right now and the mind heals the body so we’re off to a good start.”
“He hasn’t had any teammates around for eight or nine days and I’m not sure it’s real easy to go out and watch movies if you’re Connor McDavid in Edmonton right now. He’s probably a little bit bored but with his teammates back he’ll be fine.”
According to his teammate Taylor Hall, McDavid is a little “grumpy” around the house, which makes sense.
“Probably. He hasn’t had any teammates around for eight or nine days and I’m not sure it’s real easy to go out and watch movies if you’re Connor McDavid in Edmonton right now so he’s probably a little bit bored but with his teammates back he’ll be fine,” said McLellan.
McDavid has been testing his injury recently as he works to get back.
Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz has been out of commission since October 27 dealing with some back issues.
Schultz has a bulging disc but is clearly on the mend as he skated with the team for the first time on Monday.
“I skated a couple times last week by myself or with (Lauri Korpikoski),” said Schultz. “It’s good to be back with the guys. You definitely don’t feel part of the team when they’re on the road and you’re here alone so it’s good to be back.”
As for a timetable for return, Schultz doesn’t have one but the signs are positive.
“It’s been going well,” he said. “It’s been kind of slow but I feel like I’m getting close. I couldn’t tell you how long until I’m back but it’s good, I’m getting better.”
Connor McDavid spoke to the media for the first time since breaking his clavicle on November 3, against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Oilers rookie centre had surgery the next day.
“It’s definitely way better than I thought it was gonna be at this point,” said McDavid. “It’s the 11-day mark, 10-day mark or whatever. I definitely feel way better than I thought I would.”
McDavid is not in a sling and has begun working out to stay in shape while he recovers.
“It’s not like it’s a leg or anything,” he said. “It’s upper body and I’ve been riding the bike already and doing all that. Definitely well into the process of staying in shape and getting it moving again.”
Not only is he on the bike, but he’s begun testing his shoulder and moving it more.
“I did upper body today in the gym,” said McDavid. “That kind of gives you an idea of how it’s feeling and all that.”
McDavid does not have a timetable for return but is expecting to speak with doctors again this week.
“I think the main part is getting back to 100 percent,” he said. “If there is any positive to it it’s that it’s a bone and that can heal. It’s not like it’s a separated shoulder or a torn ligament or anything like that. Bones heal and just got to wait for it to feel 100 percent.”
McDavid has 12 points (5-7-12) in 13 games this season.
Connor McDavid will speak to the media shortly. Stay tuned for full coverage.
Justin Schultz (back) is rotating in at practice today.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Matt Hendricks and Luke Gazdic are not on the ice for the start of practice.