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INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 5:30 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers announced that they have recalled defenceman Brandon Davidson from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

Davidson has two shots on goal and a -2 rating through the Barons' first two regular season games Friday and Saturday against the Charlotte Checkers. He had one assist in two pre-season games with the Oilers.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 4:30 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was asked on Sunday about the compete level of his team and whether he was happy with it to this point in the season. What followed will be of interest to many Oilers fans.

"No," he said, matter-of-factly. "You have to get detailed with it. If I said you work hard, what does that mean? You've got to show instances of what we expect the compete level to be.

"But I will say this. The guy for me, who has been our best forward and who has demonstrated every night a passion for the game and his ability to get in on the forecheck and to protect pucks, to backtrack how we want him to is Hemsky.

"When I was coming in, it was like where's this guy going to fall. Is he in or is he out? He's been unbelievable. I said to our group this morning, 'we need more Ales Hemskys on our team right now. That kind of passion. And that's what I'm looking for.

"And then to show some video -- and listen, I could have done it on numerous players -- show a guy not going in to finish his check, a guy turning over the puck and then literally three minutes later the same player making the right play and competing so hard. It's like Jekkyl and Hyde.

"I think they're trying to find their way, it's like 'okay I'm going to do it the new way' and then they fall back to an old way. But that's okay. I was talking to one of our staff this morning. I didn't think we were going to come in here and flick a switch that I would say do this and they would all turn into robots. There's a muscle memory to this. There's a process to it and I love a good fight. And I am steadfast.

"I'm not going away anytime soon."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 4:12 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers skated at Rexall Place Sunday with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back in a familiar spot on the top line. Taylor Hall was shifted to the left side to play with the centre. The lines were:

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Gordon - Hemsky
Smyth/Hamilton - Arcobello - Yakupov
Gazdic - Acton - Brown

Jesse Joensuu did not skate (pronounced day-to-day), neither did defencemen Andrew Ference and Ladislav Smid (maintenance days).

Hall talked about moving back to the left side and playing with Nugent-Hopkins.

"I'm excited to be back playing with Nuge. I'm excited for him to be back, it's a huge addition to our team," said Hall. "I'm happy being on wing. I've played there for a long time and had a lot of success there so I'm comfortable with the position and I've just got to revert back to my old habits now."

Nugent-Hopkins echoed Hall's comments, being happy to play with familiar linemates.

"We talked and we're happy to be playing with each other again. It was a long recovery and I'm happy to be back."

Head Coach Dallas Eakins explained his thought process behind moving Hall back to the wing and putting Nugent-Hopkins with familiar linemates.

"As we did with Hall early, we thought it was important with him at a new position to put some veterans around him during training camp to help the process. Now with Nugent-Hopkins coming back it's good to give him some players that he's familiar with. The second part of it is, Hall's whole line that he had been playing with who were good in training camp (Smyth-Hall-Hemsky) have suffered a little bit early so we'll shake that up," Eakins began. 

"Will Acton's line has played very well for me. Gordon has been one of the few guys that's been very consistent so far. Arcobello's pulling his weight. So we're able to go back the other way and see how it goes. We may not be finished with Hall in the middle but at least for the next game -- or at least for the start of it -- we are."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 4:06 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Dallas Eakins was asked about the pressures of being in a hockey market -- a market that certainly doesn't take an 0-2 start lightly.

"It's awesome," he said. "Because the other side of that is, when things are going great it's a big party in the city. I don't know how guys do it. I had a cup of coffee in a few organizations where hockey wasn't a big deal when I was a player. You lose, nobody cares, you win, nobody cares.

"That's the greatest thing about playing in a hockey market. They care. And you know what? The city and the fans should be angry. As angry as we are and our players are feeling it, too. Listen, they're not walking around and high-fiving each other and having a big party. They're feeling it too and they're upset and understand there's a process to this.

"I love it. I've got no problem with people saying something or tweeting something or whatever they want to do. I'm fine with it because if you're upset by their criticism then you can't be okay when they're patting you on the back. I'm all for it, let it go two guns a-blazing."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 3:58 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Without even taking a question, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins opened his press conference answering any immediate inquiries the media might have.

"Ference and Smid (who did not skate) got banged up a bit. Neither are life threatening. LaBarbera will play tomorrow. Hall's back on the wing with Nugent-Hopkins. They had success in the past. Gordon and Arcobello and Acton have played well enough to fill the holes.

"Are we done with Hall in the middle? Maybe not, maybe so. We'll see where it goes. And am I still mad about yesterday? Just look at my face. I haven't slept.

"We'll continue on the process. With last night's game, it's an incredible thing. Part of the message to the players this morning was they are greatly confusing me because I can show them clips where we have no compete level at all and then I show them clips where our compete level is way more than I even expect -- and out of the same people. It would be like me showing you a clip of me on the ice doing nothing and then three minutes later a clip of me on the ice being superman. So they're confusing me because I see they want to do it but then they're falling back. And maybe it's the new habits. Maybe it's 'okay, we're trying' then we revert back.

"As bad as it was, there was a little bit of good. It was just that those flashes of good were few and far between. So I'm a little bit confused by the group but that's part of the process here on building new habits."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 3:38 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins announced in his post-practice press conference today that Jason LaBarbera will be starting in goal on Monday against the New Jersey Devils.

"What I'll do is I'll look at the schedule and then I look at the month and I have it in my head where I'm going to go," said Eakins, talking about his mindset when choosing a starting goaltender. "But plans change all the time. If one guy gets hot, he's playing. I don't care what the plan is with the other guy. If one guy is running with it then that's the way it goes."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.10.2013 / 2:25 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers took some time during Sunday's practice to do some special teams work.

Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boyd Gordon, David Perron and Justin Schultz made up the top power play unit.

Second unit was Ryan Smyth, Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Mark Arcobello and Anton Belov.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.10.2013 / 2:54 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk didn't have the greatest debut in the team's season opener against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night in which he made 23 saves on 28 shots in the 5-4 loss.

Head Coach Dallas Eakins says after that performance, he was prepared to go with back up net minder Jason LaBarbera but after a conversation with Dubnyk he is ready to give him a second chance.

"It was a short conversation," said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "A lot of times I won't share the conversation but this one I will. I said to him that I am going to assume that is not your best game. He agreed. I told him that a big part of me wanted to immediately go with the other guy but I wanted to know if he wanted another shot at it. He was adamant, he had fight in his voice. He wanted a chance to rebound and that was a great sign for me."

Dubnyk's willingness to battle back and eagerness to have a rebound game is something that Eakins is happy to see from his starting goaltender.

"Some guys would just say it's your call coach, that's your job but he didn't do that. He was like, I want another chance, I want to fight back and that meant a lot to me. It's not just the goalies, it's the players. If you have an off-game, fight back. We've got some skaters who have to fight back tonight too."

Dubnyk is expected to make the start tonight against Vancouver.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.10.2013 / 1:54 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Vancouver Head Coach John Tortorella put to bed any rumours that Alexandre Burrows would be playing tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.

Tortorella confirmed that the Canucks forward will be out tonight against Edmonton and may be out for "a couple of weeks".

The Canucks bench boss also told the media he is not going to call up a forward which means the team is likely to skate an extra defenceman against the Oilers tonight in Vancouver.

Stay tuned for more updates from morning skate.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.10.2013 / 6:31 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers announced on Friday that Ryan Hamilton has been recalled from Oklahoma City.

Hamilton played six of the Oilers eight pre-season games and had three assists. In 12 career NHL games -- all with Toronto -- he has three helpers. He scored 30 goals in 56 games last season for Dallas Eakins' Toronto Marlies squad.

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INSIDE THE OILERS