THE TEAM TODAY: Talking 'D'
Colten Teubert update, Taylor Fedun's early success & more at Monday's practice
TALKING 'D'The 2011 Young Stars Tournament couldn’t have begun any better, with the Oilers putting on a clinic in a 7-2 pounding of the rival Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks managed to pound one back, mind you. An early third-period bout between Colten Teubert and Vancouver’s Adam Polasek ended in a hurry. The Oilers rearguard opened up and was popped square on the button, sending him down stunned and in need of medical attention.
“It was going good at the start, and then I opened up and got my bell rung,” he said. “It happens to everybody and it will probably happen a couple more times to me in my career. It's part of the game.”
Joking that he had an exceptionally large nose, providing some extra padding and concussion-preventing protection, Teubert said they’ll reassess his condition with doctors back in Edmonton later this week.
“I think it’s broken,” he explained. “But I'm feeling pretty good right now. With all the recent stuff with concussions, where you want to take the right route, we’re being cautious.
“It's going to happen. It's hockey, right? It's why I love the game and why all the fans love it, too. It's about being a warrior and getting through it.”
Teubert will stay in Penticton with the team, with whom he’s currently captaining, and hopes to be ready to go when main camp opens on Friday. In the meantime, he’s convinced the group will continue to succeed in his absence.
“With the amount of 'D' we have right now, we're going to take the precautionary route and go back and see the doctors and go from there. I'm going to stay with the team.”
Helping ease the load as Teubert watches from the press box will be Taylor Fedun, who signed as a college free-agent last season. The 23-year-old holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton, and is a local boy trying to make his dream come true.
“At the beginning of the game, there were a lot of nerves,” he said. “Coming in the dressing room and seeing the Oilers sweater in your stall is something that really makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up; it gets your heart pumping.
“Once you get out there, touch the puck and make a pass, the nerves really go away and you can settle back in your role.”
Fedun relaxed early on and helped orchestrate the game’s prettiest play during the Oilers’ six-goal second period. Catching Vancouver on a lazy change, the smooth-skating blueliner collected the puck inside his own blueline and, without pause, lobbed a backhand pass up-ice to a streaking Tobias Rieder.
The initial shot was turned aside, but Philippe Cornet pounced on the rebound, putting Edmonton up 2-1 at the time.
Whether he was making things happen with quickly-turned passes or rushing up on his own, Fedun made quite an impression last night, recording a +1 rating in the process.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said when asked about his willingness to push up-ice. “I like to get up in the rush when the opportunity is there, and the coaching staff said yesterday to get up on every chance we had, when the opportunity was there.
“There are some games when the opportunities aren't there, but last night it seemed like the holes were opening up, so I was able to get a step on some of their forwards and get back ahead of them.
“Especially in the second period, we really picked up our pace,” he added. “We seemed to be successful off the rush; we were getting pucks to the net and we were hungry on those rebounds. We also started to transition the puck much more quickly, and we were able to attack on the rush and have success that way, too.”
The Oilers will hope to continue their winning ways tomorrow night when the Winnipeg Jets roll into the South Okanagan Events Centre. Game time is 8:30pm MT and the contest will be streamed LIVE on edmontonoilers.com.
AT THE MORNING SKATEFollowing yesterday’s practice at Prospera Place in Kelowna, the Oilers bussed to Penticton, settled in and prepared for the team’s upcoming clash with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Oilers’ game day routine began with an up-tempo morning skate at the nearby South Okanagan Events Centre, where all games will be played during the 2011 Young Stars Tournament.
OKC Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson and his crew ran lines yesterday, but made a few changes heading into tonight’s contest. 11 forwards and seven defenceman will dress tonight, constructing the following line combinations:
Hamilton - Nugent-Hopkins - Pelss
Cornet - Lander - Rieder
Czerwonka - Martindale - Tyrvainen
Smith - Abney
Marincin - Musil
Musil - Fedun
Gernat - Lowery
Olivier Roy will start in goal tonight. The 20-year-old netminder will be turning pro this season, and he wants to make sure that a strong impression is made prior to main camp.
“What I want one day is to play with the Oilers,” he said. “There's no doubt about that, I really want to be a part of that group. They've got a pretty young group coming up and they're going to be a great, great team really soon in the future and even next year.
“In hockey, you never know what happens so I'm going to take this year, do what I can do, and hopefully all the best will come to me.”
Roy had the opportunity to represent Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship this past January. He struggled at times, posting a 3.57 goals-against average and .875 save-percentage in three games in which he amassed a 2-1 record.
“It was a great experience no matter what happened in the end,” he explained. “To play in an NHL rink was great, it was packed. Representing my country was a dream for me and having the chance to do that was awesome. We missed the gold by one period and that's never easy.”
In regards to tonight and facing the Canucks in another packed house in Penticton, Roy is calm and generally reserved, but quietly excited to do his thing and make a mark.
“I’m really looking forward to the game,” he said. “I’ve played in a couple before, but getting this opportunity is unique. It’s a big year for me and I need to show the organization that I’m there for them. I’ll start with tonight’s game.”
While eyes will surely by on the Oilers’ No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight, there’s certainly more to the story. On the team’s second line, Anton Lander will centre Philippe Cornet and Tobias Rieder in a secondary scoring role.
Judging by work late in today’s session, the trio will get an opportunity to shine on the power-play, to which Cornet described as “an exciting chance.”
“We’re doing really well,” he said of the line’s chemistry. “We’ve never played with each other before, but we’ve adapted so quick. Playing with such high-quality players like that helps, too. Hopefully we'll have some good chemistry tonight and score some goals.
“All three of us speak English, so we've done really well communicating. We're all pretty intelligent players, so we'll know where to be and how to find each other out there.”
Rieder agreed, adding that he was “surprised” to see how quick they’ve come together.
“I think the chemistry is really good,” he said. “I don't know why we've adapted so quick with each other. It was pretty surprising, but I think we're all good players and we're going to do well together.
“I'm going to try and bring good passes and quickness to the game. I think I'm a good offensive player; creating chances up-ice is going to be my key to success. We'll see what happens, I'll try to do my best out there tonight.”
The coaches pushed the pace this morning, but the players pushed right back–even harder. The energy inside the locker room is high and Coach Nelson and others are thrilled to see such enthusiasm this early in camp.
“I think there's going to be a lot of energy tonight from both teams,” he said. “You can tell by the morning skate that guys are really excited.
“They're eager to get things going and I expect a very high pace tonight from both teams. The guys are ready to go and we're going to have some fun tonight.”
Nelson also noted that it appeared to be a calming energy running through this year. Last season, nerves ran rampant, but the 2011 edition is a more veteran-laden squad, helping guide the team’s prized youth in a pressure-packed environment.
“We have some guys that have been here before, and I think that's played a calming presence for the new guys. I'm sure there are going to be a few nerves, but for the most part they seem very comfortable right now.”
Cornet is one of them, and he’s primed and ready to get things underway.
“It's going to be an aggressive game,” he said “Our game-plan will be to be as aggressive as possible. It's the first game for them and for us, so we're going to put pressure on them and capitalize on their mistakes. It should be fun.”
Tonight's game can be seen LIVE right here on edmontonoilers.com.
OILERS 7 - CANUCKS 2The Oilers scored six second-period goals, including a pair by Anton Lander en route to a commanding 7-2 victory in the opening game of the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, BC.
In the win, Edmonton peppered Vancouver's David Honzik and Karel St. Laurent with 37 shots, while the Canucks could only manage 24 on Olivier Roy.
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'DUB' EXPERIENCECamp has begun. The Edmonton Oilers Rookies boarded an early-morning charter to Kelowna, where an up-tempo practice was conducted at Prospera Place along the area's prestine lakeside.
It’s only Day 1 at Rookie Camp as the Young Stars Tournament begins, but the group has already noticed a pre-existing edge.
In total, the Oilers’ contingent is composed of 16 WHL players. It’s a unique circumstance, but one that could very well help in Penticton.
“We were talking in the dressing room about how we had a WHL team out there,” laughed Drew Czerwonka, sixth-round pick in 2010 and member of the Kootenay Ice.
“We’re representing really well and I know pretty much everyone here. You could feel the chemistry in the room this morning and it's going to carry over into the tournament for sure; we have an advantage.”
Some have it better than others. The Oilers have invited Red Deer Rebels winger Brett Ferguson to camp, who played with the team’s No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last year.
“Even in the locker room, the guys were messing around and having fun,” he said. “The camaraderie is awesome. I've only been here one day and it's been really amazing. It's great to have those guys around because we can share our experiences and talk about the league. We're all hoping we can build on that as the week progresses.
“Being here with Ryan (Nugent-Hopkins) is also very cool. He's incredible, I don't have to tell anybody that. He's an awesome player and an awesome guy. He's only going to get better every day. It would be an honour to play with him this week.”
Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson will be manning the Oilers’ bench this week, and he understands the importance of building team chemistry in short order.
“Like any all-star team, you only have one practice to build a team,” he explained. “You've got to come together real quick. They got to know each other the other day, but it's basically only three days and they're in the grind tomorrow. The quicker they come together, the better our chance is to have success.”
At 6’0” and 185 pounds, Ferguson plays a solid, two-way game with a scoring touch that helped him record 23 goals and 61 points with the Rebels in 2010-11.
“I work hard and am tough to play against,” he said. “That's something I need to bring to the table; making sure that I'm not changing my game.
“There's a reason I'm here and I've got to keep doing what's made me have success in the WHL, and bring it out here on a larger scale.”
Doing so should help 21-year-old earn a longer look at camp.
“I'm going to do everything I can,” Ferguson said. “I have to show them that having me around is going to improve the team, because those are the players they want to keep."
“It was really good,” Czerwonka said. "It was nice to get out there. The guys looked really good and everyone was communicating with each other, so that's a plus. I think everyone is excited to be here and show what we’ve got out there. The energy is unreal.
“I know I need to be a physical presence this week,” he added.
Scoring 13 goals and 43 points last season in Kootenay, Czerwonka helped his club reach the Memorial Cup; and, although the experience ended on a sour note, it’s helped him prepare for another NHL camp.
“There are so many good teams and players here to play against,” he said. “You can see how much faster and stronger you have to be to compete at this level. It's going to be a challenge to accomplish, but I’m going to make it happen.”
Practice notes: Milan Kytnar did not skate today (ankle). The Oilers' third round pick in 2011 and Edmonton Oil King Travis Ewanyk did not make the trip to BC because of a nagging shoulder.
Here are the line combinations run at practice:
Curtis Hamilton - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Kristians Pelss
Philippe Cornet - Anton Lander - Tobias Rieder
Drew Czerwonka - Ryan Martindale - Antti Tyrvainen
Toni Rajala - Chase Schaber - Tyler Pitlick
Martin Marincin - Colten Teubert
Martin Gernat - Ryan Lowery
Tyler Schmidt - Jeremie Blain
Wes Vannieuwenhuizen - Brandon Davidson
David Musil - Taylor Fedun
The action gets underway tomorrow as the Oilers go head-to-head with the Canucks at 8:30pm MT. The game can be seen LIVE right here on edmontonoilers.com.