EDMONTON OILERS BLOGShttp://www.edmontonoilers.com/rssEDMONTON OILERS BLOGSNHL Enterprises, L.P. (c) 2015 NHL. All Rights Reserveden-usFri, 30 Jan 2015 17:48:15 ESTFriday's video and audiohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36511Marc CiampaFri, 30 Jan 2015 15:41:00 ESThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3651136511BLOG: Aulie returns to lineuphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36513Keith Aulie makes his return to the Oilers lineup after missing 11 games since his last outing on December 31 in Calgary. He will be paired with Mark Fayne. “We’ll just put him in the slot where Niki (Nikitin) was. He played with Fayne before so that’s what we’re doing,” said Oilers coach Todd Nelson, adding that Aulie can't change the way he's plays despite his last game being one where he received a game misconduct and subsequent suspension. “He has to play that style. That’s what got him here to the National Hockey League and that’s what’s going to keep him here,” Nelson continued. “He plays an aggressive style. He has to keep things simple out there and just play a good defensive game. In the last game he played, he was playing very well and he’s been working extremely hard in practice. I think his puck skills have definitely improved in the last month or so.” Aulie said he's excited to get back into the lineup. "I've been working hard every day to stay ready," he stated. "As a player you want to play but you can only control what you can control. Come to the rink every day with a hard-working attitude and just be ready for your opportunity."Marc CiampaFri, 30 Jan 2015 15:35:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141117_aulie3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3651336513BLOG: Team showing plenty of improvementhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36512The Oilers return to Calgary for the first time since December 31. Oilers head coach Todd Nelson talked about the team's growth since then. “We’ve grown since that time as a team. Every day we’re trying to make ourselves better and I think we’re improving in certain aspects. We talked about going hard to the net, shooting the puck more, competing harder. We’re seeing improvements with that. We’re striving to have our team do it for 60 minutes consistently. That’s our goal.” The Oilers have picked up points in three of its last four games. “Everyone’s excited to play Saturday night in Calgary. It’s always a fun time. We’re ready to try to keep things going. We’re on a bit of a run here, collected a few points over the last four or five games. It’s a good test for our hockey team.” Matt Hendricks talked about how the team's better practice habits have helped contribute to their upswing. “I think our practice habits have improved dramatically in terms of the work ethic. The attitude at practice every day is much improved. I think we’re seeing some results on the ice,” Hendricks began. “We wanted to be a team that outworked (other teams) and it just hasn’t worked out. Nelly’s put us in a position for practice where if you don’t do it you’ll be left behind.”Marc CiampaFri, 30 Jan 2015 15:31:00 ESThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3651236512BLOG: Oilers practicing in Leduchttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36508The Oilers are on the ice for practice in Leduc prior to departure for Calgary. Taylor Hall is again absent. As is Nikita Nikitin. Forward lines are the same as last game: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Yakupov-Roy Gazdic-Lander-Fraser Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer Defence pairings: Klefbom-Petry Aulie-Fayne Ference-SchultzMarc CiampaFri, 30 Jan 2015 13:35:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/12/644leducpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3650836508BLOG: Oilers hope proximity “enhances development”http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36494The Oilers were part of a major announcement involving the American Hockey League on Thursday in San Jose, CA. As part of a “monumental shift in geography” five teams well relocate to California, forming a Pacific Division. Anaheim will purchase the Norfolk Admirals AHL franchise and move them to San Diego. Calgary’s affiliate will move from Glens Falls, NY to Stockton. The Los Angeles Kings will relocate Manchester to Ontario, CA while the Sharks will bring Worcester home to San Jose. The Oilers will move their Oklahoma City franchise to Bakersfield. Having all five teams geographically close to one another makes for easier travel and development gains, according to Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group Kevin Lowe. “We’re really excited,” Lowe said. “It’s been a few years coming. From a development standpoint, we had a good experience in Oklahoma City. Great city, great people. Not as many went to the game as we would have liked, but in terms of the location of Bakersfield it has the potential to be a great hockey market, a great American Hockey League market. It already has had great success in the ECHL. The geography of it and where it’s located, relative to the other franchises, is a big plus for us.” Development is the primary objective, and it’s something Lowe feels will benefit under this new arrangement. “It’s really going to enhance our development,” Lowe said. “The Canadian teams are a little further away. We won’t have the luxury of driving down the coast to see our American League team but we know that the players are really going to benefit from the proximity of the teams. Presently, we’re in Oklahoma City and it’s a wonderful city and we really enjoyed being there but our closest opponent was a six-hour bus ride away and the rest of the teams were pretty much a flight away so this is really going to enhance development for our players. The big thing in development in hockey, and I guess it’s the same in other sports, is to have practice time. When you’re flying around all the time across the country, you eliminate practice days. We anticipate possibly somewhere between 20-25 extra practice days, and in a season that’s roughly 180 days that’s a big percentage of time for the development of these young players.” The Oilers organization feels they’ve build a solid foundation for development in OKC. They say their emphasis on that part of hockey operations remains firm in Bakersfield. “I think the same recipe with a little extra spice,” Lowe said. “There’s no question we firmly believe drafting and developing will be our lifeblood and we really feel things have gone well in Oklahoma City in terms of the development part of it. We’re working on the drafting part. Simply the geography, at this point, we anticipate the players will have perhaps as many as 25 additional practice days that they didn’t have in Oklahoma City. That in itself is a huge bonus for the hockey club.” Lowe told me there haven’t been additional hirings or moves involving personnel in Bakersfield or for development as of now. “We’re just sorting all that out,” Lowe said. “It’s been in discussion for a long time in terms of us formally making a statement that we wouldn’t be going back to Oklahoma City. That just happened recently so now we’ve got to sort of get everything aligned. We have to find a place for our east coast team. We have ECHL coaches, American Hockey League coaches and staff so we have to figure all that out in the next little while.”Chris WescottThu, 29 Jan 2015 18:29:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644lowe-ahl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3649436494BLOG: New division brings rivalrieshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36493What can add to the success of minor league franchises is the availability of a nearby rival. With the American Hockey League’s new Pacific Division, five teams will enter California, giving the league some competitive battles looming in the future. Three California NHL clubs, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose, now have their affiliates in close enough proximity to help grow fan excitement. For the Oilers and Calgary Flames, it is also an opportunity to ignite a new Battle of Alberta— AHL edition. “The fact that Calgary’s farm team (is close by), who we haven’t played a lot in recent years, our team will be playing them now,” Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group Kevin Lowe said. “That’s going to benefit (the players) and you’re going to have a high-level rivalry with the three California teams who have been successful in the NHL. Usually, that means that they’ve had good success in terms of their player deployment and player development. We have our hands full but we’ll be ready for the challenge. Ultimately, it will benefit in terms of the improvement in our players.” Lowe also spoke to the geographic proximity of the teams benefiting development, due to less practice days taken up by long travel.Chris WescottThu, 29 Jan 2015 18:28:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/oilersflames.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3649336493BLOG: Bakersfield hopes to continue entertaining promoshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36492The Bakersfield ECHL franchise has been featured across the internet and on national and international news outlets due to their unique promotions and in-game entertainment. From Gettysburg Address, Seinfeld or Hobbit themed jerseys to cemetery headstone giveaways, the Condors in the ECHL have been anything but mundane. Throughout their relationship with the Oilers, having been purchased by the NHL club a year ago, Bakersfield has maintained autonomy when it comes to their unique entertainment. “The Oilers have given us the autonomy to do things and the Oilers purchased us because of some of the things we do,” Bakersfield’s President Matthew Riley said. Now that Bakersfield will house the Oilers AHL affiliate, as part of the league’s new Pacific Division, the antics don’t have to stop. “We want to be able to continue to do what we’ve done in the past and now just do it at a higher level, just one step away,” Riley said. “I’ll just say now we’re going to have more fun.” The Oilers hope it doesn’t change much either. “We hope it doesn’t change,” Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group Kevin Lowe said. “Matt Riley, who has been with the Condors and runs the business operations, has been there for 17 years. He’s a bright guy and really understands and respects the game of hockey. We’re going to encourage Matt to keep doing what he’s doing. Our fans who happen to be in California, Oilers fans, who want to see the American Hockey League team, go to Bakersfield. You never know what you’re going to see.” In addition to providing family fun, Bakersfield will now see an increased emphasis on developing young future NHL players. “We’re certainly focused on family entertainment and being involved in the community and those will remain our focuses and now bringing this accelerate level of play to the ice where nine out of 10 who play in the NHL played in the AHL,” Riley said. “Now the fans will get to connect and see those guys on TV and say, ‘Hey, I knew that player.’” Riley couldn’t help but smile. “It’s pretty thrilling.”Chris WescottThu, 29 Jan 2015 18:25:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140618_RileyBillLB.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3649236492BLOG: AHL announces new Pacific Divisionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36429The AHL will be making a major announcement on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. MST. You can watch it live on edmontonoilers.com and also check the website and Oilers TV all afternoon for regular coverage with our head writer Chris Wescott on location.Marc CiampaThu, 29 Jan 2015 03:28:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/flames/images/upload/2015/01/1495383_390501097798274_1150149874796594344_o644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3642936429BLOG: Draisaitl returns to Rexall Placehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36433Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl makes his return to Rexall Place tonight when his new team, the Kelowna Rockets, takes on the Edmonton Oil Kings. Prior to the game, Draisiatl met with the local media to talk about his time with the Rockets. “It is an adjustment, of course," Draisaitl said about going back to Major Junior. "It’s a total different game in my opinion. You have more time, more room and obviously don’t really feel the pace as it is in the NHL. It’s definitely a slight adjustment.” After six points in his first five games with the Rockets, Draisaitl has put up six more in his last three and has a +4 rating in those three games. Overall, Draisaitl has four goals and 12 points in eight games with an even plus/minus. “It’s never easy to just join a brand new team and try to fit in. But all the guys, the staff, the coaches, they made it really easy on me and I’m thankful for that,” he said. “So far it’s been a lot of fun.” The Rockets sit in first place in the entire league with 37 wins and 77 points in 48 games. “We have three, almost four, lines that can all be scoring and be reliable out there. That’s really important for a long playoff run,” Draisaitl stated, noting that he's been happy to be honing his skills in the WHL at the moment. “It’s definitely not a bad move. For me personally, it was (for) the best. I can work on my skill, develop as a player and work on all the little things,” he continued. “I’m definitely happy that it worked out that way.” Draisaitl still keeps in touch with Oilers management, players and coaches. “I’ve talked to the management, I’ve talked to the coaches and all that stuff. We have a plan on what I’ll be working on, what my expectations are and what I’m trying to follow,” he said, adding what those items of his game are that he is expected to be working on. “The complete game, face-offs, the little things. My skating, my total skill. It’s just something I want to improve and get better at.”Marc CiampaWed, 28 Jan 2015 19:28:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644drai2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3643336433Video and audio from Wednesdayhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36426Marc CiampaWed, 28 Jan 2015 16:37:00 ESThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3642636426BLOG: Hall day-to-day with bone bruisehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36427Taylor Hall was absent from Oilers practice on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s morning skate and game against the Minnesota Wild as well. The left-winger took a shot off the lower leg right above the skate during Monday’s practice. The injury will continue to be evaluated each day. “He’s still day-to-day,” Coach Todd Nelson said. “It’s a bone bruise, and we’ll see how it reacts for him tomorrow.” Hall is in a three-way tie for the Oilers scoring lead with linemates Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, accumulating 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 41 games. Hall missed six games earlier this season with a sprained MCL.Ryan FranksonWed, 28 Jan 2015 16:35:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150106_ph2-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3642736427BLOG: Oilers getting physicalhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36428Thanks to a late third period goal from Charlie Coyle, the Oilers were unfortunately on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against the Minnesota Wild last night at Rexall Place. But Edmonton certainly forced their opponents to earn the victory the hard way, delivering a number of punishing body-checks over the course of the game. Nail Yakupov crushed Nate Prosser behind the Wild net on a strong, clean forecheck, knocking the defenceman out of the game. Jeff Petry also delivered the hit of the night in the middle frame, lining up and clobbering Mikael Granlund with his rear end, sending the Minnesota forward hard into the boards near their bench. The Oilers blueliner said it’s all about taking advantage of those physical opportunities when they’re there, but not shifting his mentality away from being a responsible defender. “I want to continue to incorporate (physical play), but I also don’t want to go around looking for it and end up getting out of position,” Petry said. “That hit last night, he tried to beat me wide and I was able to get good position on him and able to play the body. My goal is just to play a physical game when the opportunity is there.” As game went on and the intensity picked up, the Oilers also found themselves in a few post-whistle scrums with the Wild. Petry said interim head coach Todd Nelson has stressed the importance of Oilers players sticking up for each other in those situations and playing with a pack mentality. “It’s something he really believes in and he’s passed that message along to us,” Petry said. “If there’s one in there, we all have to get in there.”Ryan FranksonWed, 28 Jan 2015 16:34:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644edm-nyi.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3642836428BLOG: Oilers on the ice Wednesday at Rexall Placehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36425The Oilers are back on the ice for practice today following last night’s 2-1 defeat against the Minnesota Wild. After missing last night’s game, Taylor Hall is absent today as well. The left-winger took a shot off the lower leg during Monday’s practice and Coach Todd Nelson said on Tuesday the injury didn’t react how the team wanted it to overnight, hence why he was kept out of the lineup vs. the Wild. Forward lines: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Yakupov-Roy-Purcell Gazdic-Lander-Fraser Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer Defence pairings: Klefbom-Petry Nikitin-Fayne Ference-Schultz Aulie Goalies: Fasth ScrivensRyan FranksonWed, 28 Jan 2015 13:36:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practice1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3642536425BLOG: Monday updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36300With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins still absent (All Star Break), the line combinations are as follows: Hall-Gordon-Eberle Pouliot-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Purcell Gazdic-Hendricks-Klinkhammer Taylor Hall left the ice early with an apparent injury but he has since returned.Chris WescottMon, 26 Jan 2015 18:35:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3630036300BLOG: Take a break or keep rolling?http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36364On January 20, the Oilers hard fought efforts brought them a shootout win over the Capitals in Washington, D.C. It was a win the players were genuinely proud of, with they way they stuck together, came back and pulled it out in the end. So when faced with an All Star break immediately following a rush of good vibes, would the players welcome the break or wish they could keep going? “It always creeps in your mind a bit, but it was a good break for everybody,” Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “The guys seemed recharged and energized and, like I said before, I liked the way our practice went. Sometimes your first practice back after time off gets really sloppy but today was not that case. It was a pretty good day.” The Oilers returned to Edmonton on Monday for their first practice since the morning of their win in D.C. Some of the players had wished they could have played some more before the time away, but all of them are feeling refreshed. “I was talking to my dad on the way home (after the Capitals game) and I wasn’t really ready for a break,” Jordan Eberle said. “It was more that we were excited. Hockey is really fun again. When you’re winning games, that’s how it is. But that being said, you get to take a breath, you get a little bit of a mental break and you can come back here with some jump. Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off.” Benoit Pouliot was in the group of players who welcomed the time away, despite riding high after the win. “I think it was nice for everyone,” Pouliot said of the break. “I don’t think it will break up anything. The whole league is in the same situation as us. I think everyone enjoyed their four or five days off and now we’re back on the ice today. I don’t think it’s going to mess anything up. We’ll just be back tomorrow against Minny and be ready.”Chris WescottMon, 26 Jan 2015 18:34:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3636436364BLOG: Oilers have good practice in return to Rexallhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36365In their first practice back at Rexall Place since the All Star break, the Oilers felt they put forth a good effort. The message to the players when they first hit the ice was to focus on continuing to make gains through good practice habits. “Once again, focus on the practice,” Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We wanted to have good execution, have a high tempo and that’s what we saw today. I was happy with it.” “I think the message today was to get back to what we were doing,” Benoit Pouliot said. “We played well in Washington and the game before that too so we’ve just got to get back to it and get our legs going. It’s been a good four or five days since we’ve been on the ice. Practice was good, quick and intense. We’ll be ready for tomorrow.” The lone negative from practice today was when Taylor Hall left the ice with an apparent leg injury after getting hit with a puck. He returned to test it out but then left again. Nelson says he fully expects Hall to be fine and play tomorrow against Minnesota.Chris WescottMon, 26 Jan 2015 18:34:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3636536365BLOG: Building momentumhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36366Jordan Eberle feels there are differences in the way this team is playing now versus the beginning of the season or previous years. Under Interim Coach Todd Nelson, the Oilers are 5-4-2 in the last 11 games and have played some competitive hockey. “I think more than anything, we’re more confident about our game,” Eberle said. “We’re playing better as a five-man unit. I think systematically, from a viewer standpoint too, I know a lot of people came up to me during the break and said, ‘you guys look like a team. You’re playing as a unit together.’” Eberle says the Oilers have an opportunity to finish out the season strong and potentially generate positive momentum heading into next season. “We’re starting to find an identity here,” Eberle said. “I think we’re starting to play a little bit better and with a couple of results the last little bit, if we can finish the season strong then I really like where we are heading into next season. It’s really an opportunity for us to keep playing well and feel confident about what we’ve got going next year.”Chris WescottMon, 26 Jan 2015 18:34:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150126_prac1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3636636366BLOG: RNH speaks after the gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36338Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins spoke with us following the event to talk about his experience at his first-ever all-star game. “It was great. They put on such a great event here in Columbus. The support that they had through the whole thing was amazing. Definitely something I won’t forget for a long time,” he began. Nugent-Hopkins added that as a fan of hockey, he had a good time watching some of the League's best display their skills. “It was a lot of fun. It was fun to watch some of these guys out there. Some guys were going a little bit harder than others and it was definitely good to see.” The 21-year-old had a hand in two of Team Foligno's first three goals. He had an assist on the first goal of the game, scored by Radim Vrbata, and set up Kevin Shattenkirk a couple shifts later for an easy tap-in. “It was a quick start for us. The first time I touched the puck, Vrbata was streaking for a breakaway and I just had to give it to him. That was a nice one. Then Shatty (Shattenkirk) was just wide open in front of the net.” Out of the entire weekend, not surprisingly, it was the game itself that Nugent-Hopkins enjoyed the most. “I think tonight was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me, just actually getting into the game situation. I know it’s not a serious game or anything but guys were out there having fun and making plays and stuff. Tonight was definitely the highlight.”Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 21:12:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhgame.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3633836338BLOG: Team Toews beats Team Foligno 17-12http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36331Team Toews defeated Team Foligno by a score of 17-12 at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus on Sunday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finished with 13:07 of icetime for Team Foligno. He had two assists -- both in the first period -- plus two shots on goal and was -2 on the day. Stay tuned for post-game reaction.Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 19:52:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/bruins/images/upload/2015/01/600x400_012515_TavaresBergeron.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3633136331BLOG: Update after two periodshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36325After two periods, Team Toews leads Team Foligno 11-8. Team Foligno holds a 35-32 edge in shots. Team Toews scored seven goals on 16 shots in the middle frame. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists in the first period. Through two periods, he is even in plus/minus, 50% in the faceoff dot and 9:42 of icetime. RNH leads all skaters with an average shift length of 1:37 (tied with Radim Vrbata).Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 18:59:00 ESThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3632536325BLOG: Nuge's second assisthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36324Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 17:56:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644396-nugey.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3632436324BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins assists on opening goalhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36318Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a great pass to send Radim Vrbata in alone on a breakaway, giving Team Foligno an early 1-0 lead in the NHL All-Star Game.Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 17:36:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644nugeassist.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3631836318BLOG: Keep tabs on Nugent-Hopkins during the gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36311Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 17:04:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644396-allstar.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3631136311BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins skating with Vrbata, Girgensonshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36310In warm-up prior to the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skated on a line with Vancouver's Radim Vrbata and Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons.Marc CiampaSun, 25 Jan 2015 16:52:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/flyers/images/upload/2015/01/AllStar_Locker_DL.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3631036310BLOG: RNH talks about his Skills experiencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36305While he wasn't an extremely active participant, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins remarked that he had a good time at his first-ever NHL All-Star Skills Competition. “It was good. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t have too much going on out there so it was a lot of watching guys show off all their talents,” he said after the event. When asked what his own personal highlight was, he talked about Shea Weber's 108 mile-per-hour slap shot which came after Weber missed the net at 101. “It started off with the 101 that missed the net and kind of took people off guard there a little bit then came back with 108 so it was definitely a hard shot.” Nugent-Hopkins added that his former World Junior Hockey Championship teammate Jonathan Drouin got the fastest time and he was happy for him. “It was good seeing Drouin with the fastest skater time. He was flying there, too. It was fun to be a part of and fun to watch.” Nugent-Hopkins did take part in the Skills Challenge Relay where he had to saucer the puck into four different nets. He nailed the first two nets before hitting the post on the third a few times. “It was pretty tough. I think it was more of a mental game. On that third net for me, I started to miss a few then it got in my head a little bit. after that, though, it was a lot of fun. It’s something I’d like to try with nobody watching and no pressure.”Marc CiampaSat, 24 Jan 2015 22:18:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644skillls.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3630536305BLOG: RNH's group finishes relay in 2:19.793http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36270Marc CiampaSat, 24 Jan 2015 20:41:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644396-rnh-foligno.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3627036270BLOG: RNH helps give Team Foligno Accuracy winhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36269Marc CiampaSat, 24 Jan 2015 20:28:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/blackhawks/images/upload/2015/01/150124-asg-kane-skills.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3626936269BLOG: RNH on the World Cup Under-24 teamhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36201The NHL announced on Saturday that there will be a World Cup in 2016. One of the teams that will be in the tournament is an Under-24 team of North American players competing as a unit. If the event was held in the fall of 2016, Nugent-Hopkins would be eligible to play on this team. “I think it gives a good opportunity to a lot of the guys. There’s a lot of great players out there. If you give as many players a chance to play in that tournament as possible, it’s a good thing,” Nugent-Hopkins said, adding that he would prefer to play for Canada but would be happy to simply attend the tournament in any form that may take. “It’s definitely fun representing Canada, putting the sweater on your back. It’ll be a lot of fun playing in that tournament no matter who you’re playing for.” As for how a 23-and-under team would do, he was optimistic. “I think they’d be the underdog for sure but there’s a lot of great players who are under 23 in the league. I think they’d have a good shot.”Marc CiampaSat, 24 Jan 2015 14:07:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2012/12/5_NugentHopkins2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3620136201BLOG: RNH participating in three Skills eventshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36255Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be participating in three different events at the NHL Skills Competition tonight. He will be passing the puck in the Accuracy Shooting competition and also will be participating for Team Foligno in the NHL Skills Challenge Relay, trying to pass the puck into the mini-nets (arguably the most difficult task in the relay). Finally, he will take part in the shootout at the end of the Skills Competition.Marc CiampaSat, 24 Jan 2015 12:18:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhasg2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3625536255BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins goes to Team Folignohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36231Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was chosen as the second last pick at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, going to Team Foligno. He was selected there by a fan vote over Filip Forsberg. In an interesting twist, the last two players picked both got a free car, instead of only the last player as initially announced. “I thought I had a good chance of going last. I said the one spot I didn’t want to go was second last because you wait the whole time and still don’t get a car but it worked out for me. It was a nice little surprise,” Nugent-Hopkins said after the event. Nick Foligno, the captain of Team Foligno, was glad to have Nugent-Hopkins on his team. “Great player. I was excited to get him. I’m glad the fans voted in my favour for it,” he said. “He’s an awesome player, really talented kid and young guy. Happy to see him get the car as well. I think he’s really going to enjoy his time here for sure.” Foligno added he feels that Nugent-Hopkins has a lot more all-star games in his future. As for the car, RNH said he hasn't yet decided who will get it. “I’m still not sure. I’ll have to talk to them all, have a little group meeting and then find out,” he said. He also noted that he was glad to be wearing the black all-star jersey. “I’m happy, personally, I like the black one a little bit more than the white one so it’s nice that I get to be repping that for the next few days. I think they went with something a little unique.”Marc CiampaFri, 23 Jan 2015 21:30:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644-foligno.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3623136231BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins talks all-star memorieshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36199Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was asked at All-Star Media Day in Columbus Friday afternoon about some of his own personal favourite memories when it comes to the annual event. “I remember Kane wearing the glasses and the cape, coming down and shooting (in the Skills Competition). Same with Ovechkin. Nothing too specific other than those two things,” he said. “It’s definitely an honour to be here. It’s exciting for sure. Meeting some players I’ve watched for years is pretty cool for me. I’m just a young guy so seeing the experience some of these guys have is really cool for me.”Marc CiampaFri, 23 Jan 2015 15:30:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2009/01/Ovechkin_Breakaway_Skills67.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3619936199BLOG: RNH doesn't expect to go early tonighthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36197Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn't expect to go early in the Fantasy Draft tonight as All-Star festivities kick off. The 21-year-old pivot said that didn't matter, however. “Just being here is for sure a big honour. The fantasy draft is just a fun part of the event. No matter where you get picked, I don’t think anybody’s going to be mad about it,” he said. “I think I’ll go pretty low tonight. I’ll be one of the last guys picked, I think. And if I am, I wouldn’t mind going last and getting the car. We’ll see. It’s all going to be a lot of fun and we’ll see how that goes.” The last player chosen in the Fantasy Draft wins a car. Nugent-Hopkins said he hasn't really thought about who might get the vehicle if he wins it. “It’ll probably go back home to one of my family members. We’ll see. They’ll have to fight for it.”Marc CiampaFri, 23 Jan 2015 15:26:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhasg.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3619736197BLOG: Nuge looking to meet some fellow all-starshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36198Having just got in last night, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hasn't had a lot of time to mingle with his fellow all-stars but he's definitely looking forward to. When asked who he was looking most forward to meeting, he was quick to answer. “Jonathan Toews," he said. "I’ve watched him for a long time now. The only other time I got to meet him is when I was in Bantam, we played in the Western Championships and it was in Winnipeg. He actually dropped the puck to start the final game. “I’ve been playing against him for a few years. He’s definitely a guy that I’ve looked up to in the past.”Marc CiampaFri, 23 Jan 2015 15:18:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhasg2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3619836198BLOG: Lagesson commits to UMasshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36138The Oilers selected William Lagesson with the 91st pick in the 2014 draft. Now the defenceman has selected his next career stop. Lagesson has committed to play college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Lagesson, playing in his first USHL season, has 12 points (1-11-12) in 25 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. He leads all their defencemen in scoring. Lagesson played for Sweden at the 2015 World Junior Championship.Chris WescottTue, 20 Jan 2015 18:13:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644lagesson2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3613836138BLOG: Bob Green comments on promotionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36134Bob Green talked about being named as the team's Director of Player Personnel on Tuesday morning. “It means a lot. It’s exciting. It’s a huge challenge. That’s what makes it so rewarding. I’m just excited to get going and move forward,” said Green. As part of his duties, he'll be overseeing not only everything on the amateur side of things with scouting, but also pro scouting. Green talked about having a lot on his plate. “It’s a lot. I’ll spend lot of time with the amateur draft. A lot more than I’ve had in the past. And with pro scouting as well. It’s a bigger umbrella for me. It covers a big area in the organization,” Green continued. “It’s great to have a strong voice and that’s what makes it so exciting.” The former Oil Kings GM was also asked about working with Stu MacGregor, head amateur scout, and Morey Gare, head pro scout. “It should be good. I’ll concentrate more on the amateur draft for sure. I’ve known Stu for a long time and we’ve worked well together. With Morey, things are going to keep moving on the same as they have in the past, concentrating a lot on preparing for the trade deadline, unrestricted free agency and those things. Continue to evaluate other teams’ players and prospects as well. Nothing’s really going to change a whole lot there.” He did add that there will be -- and already are -- changes implemented in terms of how the team scouts amateur players in the hopes of getting more results in the later rounds. “We’ve made some subtle changes in how we’re going about things with the amateur guys, keeping guys in their own territory. It’s something we started a little bit this year, having the guys concentrate more on their areas. We’re going to keep them in their areas for the rest of the year, hoping that’ll give us a lot more information on some of the later picks and kids that are slower to develop, late bloomers and that type of thing.”Marc CiampaTue, 20 Jan 2015 15:25:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/08/20130814_green644v2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3613436134BLOG: Oilers Monday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36091The Oilers are on the ice for practice just outside of Washington, D.C. Line Combinations: Hall-RNH-Eberle Pouliot-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Purcell Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer-GazdicChris WescottMon, 19 Jan 2015 17:15:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150119_practice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3609136091BLOG: Hall doing the little thingshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36102Taylor Hall is battling through a bit of a goal-scoring slump right now, only finding the back of the net once in his last 12 games after he scored twice and had three points against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 21. He does have seven assists during this past dozen, however, and continues to lead the team with 29 points. Coach Todd Nelson said Monday post-practice he has been impressed with Hall’s commitment to the team game and believe the goals will begin to pile up again as long as he stays committed and determined. “I like Taylor’s game right now,” Nelson said. “He’s doing a lot of little things that maybe go unnoticed. He’s conforming to the team philosophy, playing the way that we want him to play and working hard at it. I’m not concerned with goals. I think those will come if he sticks with what we want to do.” Hall’s commitment to the team philosophy and system is a reflection of his growth as a player, Nelson said. The bench boss got to know the 23-year-old quite well during the 2012-13 work stoppage when Hall scored 34 points in 26 games as a member of Nelson’s OKC Barons in the AHL. “That’s maybe growth with him,” Nelson said. “It shows signs of maturity. From when I coached him in Oklahoma City, I see a lot of maturing in his game.” Hall was +1 with two shots on goal during Edmonton’s 3-2 win over Washington on Oct. 22 at Rexall Place and has one goal in three career games against the Caps.Ryan FranksonMon, 19 Jan 2015 17:14:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150106_ph2-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3610236102BLOG: Gordon & Hendricks back in D.C.http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36099The last stop on the current Oilers road trip is a homecoming for a couple of veterans and linemates, as Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon each played for the Washington Capitals earlier in their careers. Hendricks suited up for the Caps for three seasons between 2010 and 2013, while Gordon played in Washington a little earlier, starting his NHL career there in 2003 and spending seven years with the organization. Hendricks and Gordon both played on the 2010-11 Caps squad that finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season but bowed out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs. Following a strong WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels, Gordon was selected in the first round (17th overall) by the Caps and spent his first three seasons up and down between the NHL and AHL before becoming a full-time big leaguer in 2006-07. He set a career high in points that year with 29 and appeared in 36 post-season games during his tenure with Washington. “It’s good to be back,” Gordon said following Monday’s Oilers practice at the Caps facility in Arlington, Virginia. Since it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, many hockey fans took advantage of the holiday to watch the Caps and Oilers practice, so Gordon was frequently approached by locals who welcomed him back to the city. “I played here quite a while and met a lot of great people and teammates. Any time I come back it’s always pretty special for me. I really enjoyed my time here, really nice city. There’s a lot of great history, which is something I enjoyed while I was here.” Hendricks also had his most productive offensive season as a member of the Caps, as he put up 25 points in 2010-11. He too built a nice post-season resumé, appearing in 28 playoffs games. And while Hendricks didn’t play quite as along in Washington as Gordon, he echoed his teammates sentiments about their former city. “It was a great time playing here, great fan base and great organization,” Hendricks said. “I played on some real good teams, teams that challenged in the playoffs, and made a lot of great friends. I had my kids here, they were born in Virginia over at the hospital, so it brings back a lot of great memories. It’s a great place to live.” Both Oilers also agreed they’d like to close out the trip with a W against their old squad.Ryan FranksonMon, 19 Jan 2015 16:26:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644gordon-edm-col.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3609936099BLOG: Oilers prepare for 'deep draft'http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36078The 2015 NHL Draft has been speculated by many to be the deepest since the 2003 Draft mined the likes of Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Anze Kopitar among many others. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish talked about the importance of the draft for the club. “It’s an extremely important draft. The primary focal point of our organization right now is in preparation for this upcoming draft. We now have Pittsburgh’s first-round pick. We have two first round picks. We’re going to get an early pick in the second round so that’s going to be a pick that we’ve got to utilize very well. And then we’ve got two third-round draft choices. It’s essential that we do very well at this year’s draft.” In addition to being deep, at the high-end the talent is extremely highly touted with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. “They’re both generational players. I’ve seen Jack play at BU. I’ve seen Connor McDavid play before, going into this tournament. Both players really accounted for themselves well against older, tougher competition. And that’s really a good measure.” MacTavish was recently at the World Junior Hockey Championships when both 17-year-olds McDavid and Eichel were among their respective teams' best players in a tournament normally dominated by 19 year olds. “It’ll probably be the last time we have an opportunity to see both those players competing on the same ice surface. Both players, any team would be ecstatic to get. There were many, many good players that were in that tournament as well. Lawson Crouse is another guy for Canada that did very well. Noah Hanifin’s gotten a lot of notoriety at Boston College. Pavel Zacha, Czech-born player who plays for Sarnia, Mitch Marner in London. There are a lot of high-end players in the draft. “From what I’ve been told by Stu MacGregor and Bob Green it’s a very deep draft.”Marc CiampaSun, 18 Jan 2015 19:20:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2014/12/123114EichelMcDavid.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3607836078BLOG: MacTavish speaks on Bob Greenhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36076Today, Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish confirmed the rumours swirling around that Bob Green has been promoted to the position of Director of Player Personnel for the club. “These are things that normally are done internally but there’s been quite a bit of information that Bob Green has taken over as Director of Player Personnel for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s going to oversee all aspects of our scouting department,” MacTavish began. “This is really a confirmation of some of the rumours that have been out there. When I go to the rink and run into scouts of other teams who are asking me about this, I felt it was time to reveal some of this information. Other than that, it’s really our policy and my policy to keep these changes as internal as we can. But this is an effort to really fortify the horse power of our amateur and pro scouting staff.” Green has an impressive resume which includes building an Edmonton Oil Kings squad that made the WHL Finals three years in a row with two Memorial Cup appearances and one Memorial Cup victory. “He’s been working in our organization now for a few years with the Oil Kings highly successfully, getting a lot of attention for building a Memorial Cup team. Then he took a full-time job with the Edmonton Oilers last year and has been on the job for just over a year now. We’ve been really impressed by the detail of his work. He knows how to build a team and is on side with our preference to get bigger, stronger and faster athletes.” Heading into a very important draft for the Oilers with two first rounders, a high second-round pick and two third rounders in the deepest draft since 2003, MacTavish felt it was important to have someone in this role who works well within the group. “He’s shown he can work with this group and do an excellent job. Those qualities were obvious to me and the rest of the management in the organization. Bob’s going to do a really good job for us in this capacity.”Marc CiampaSun, 18 Jan 2015 17:32:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/08/20130814_green644v2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3607636076BLOG: MacT on the success in Oklahoma Cityhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36079The Oklahoma City Barons have skyrocketed up the standings to first place in the entire AHL. They have 58 points in 40 games, with a record of 27-9-2-2. “I think there’s got to be a lot of credit given to Gerry Fleming and Tony (Borgford) and Kelly Buchberger too as well,” said Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. “It speaks to the tradition and culture here which was really been started through Bill Scott, who now works for us, and Todd Nelson. It’s a very close-knit group of players. We’ve got a really good mix of veterans who help set the bar for the youth. And we’ve got a good mix of youth. Bogdan Yakimov last night was exceptional. JJ Khaira, Mitch Moroz is down here. That’s to really complement a really good, young D-core.” MacTavish added that he feels the future is in teams having a mobile blueline and the Oilers are very well prepared for that with the young, mobile defence in Oklahoma City. “Defencemen that can move the puck, move their feet, get the puck up ice. Dillon Simpson, Jordan Oesterle, David Musil, Gernat, Brandon Davidson who we’ve seen and Marty Marincin who everybody knows. There’s a lot of guys on the back-end who have potentially bright futures in the NHL.” Having better calibre of players at the NHL level has helped improve player development. “We’ve been talking about adding more competitive people and more size to our lineup. I’m seeing the evolution of a lot of that. It takes time to draft these players, bring them in and develop them, develop them the right way. I feel like our organization up top is strong enough, deep enough and growing up top so we have the time to put these guys and leave them down here at the American League level where development best occurs. We’re seeing that firsthand.”Marc CiampaSun, 18 Jan 2015 17:12:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141206_baronsroad11.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3607936079BLOG: Oilers hold scout meetings in OKChttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36077For the first time, the Oilers held their annual mid-season amateur scout meetings in Oklahoma City. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish talked about the decision to hold the meetings here. “I think it works out really well with our minor league team down here,” he said. “Obviously, that’s the main impetus behind getting everyone down here. And the amateur scouts very seldom get to see American Hockey League play. It’s another brand of hockey and it’s good information for them and a good meeting place for us all.” It worked out perfectly that the Barons had three games in three days to help frame the meetings.Marc CiampaSun, 18 Jan 2015 17:11:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2015/01/mcdavid_010915_big2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3607736077BLOG: Friday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35974Chris WescottFri, 16 Jan 2015 17:43:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150116_prac.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3597435974BLOG: Oilers work in tight quartershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36013The Oilers worked on a drill Friday that’s familiar to those who watched Todd Nelson coach in the American Hockey League. The team pushed the two nets to either side of the centre circle and worked on 3-on-3 battles in tight quarters. The thought process behind the drill is to get the puck off your stick quickly and decisively and score as much as you can in a short period of time. “It’s like a game, you don’t have much time,” Benoit Pouliot said. “At the same time, it’s a fun drill for the guys to have fun and try to score the most goals possible. I’ve done that drill a couple of times on other teams too and it’s just good for your quick passing and quick release. You have 2-3 seconds with the puck in the offensive zone too so you have to make a quick decision.” Practicing quick decisions with passing and shooting could help the Oilers bolster their offence, which hasn’t produced at a satisfying level to the players. “It’s just in tight and bearing down on goals,” Luke Gazdic said about the drill. “We need to get some more goals for a team that’s known for its offence. We haven’t been scoring a lot lately. The production has mainly been from one player (Benoit Pouliot) the last couple of games. It’s nice because it also lightens the mood a little bit. It’s fun. It’s a tough drill but it has a purpose and it’s nice to get stuff like that in.” “It’s fun,” Oscar Klefbom added. “We did that a lot together in OKC. It’s a fun drill. The puck is going to go fast out there and it’s good for the forwards just to have a quick release and their head up all the time.” How did the players fare in Nelson’s drill? “I thought they did fine and moved the puck quick and shot when they had to,” the Oilers interim coach said. “It’s amazing that defence in that drill always seem to do better than forwards just because they check more in a game, so they’re used to the checking aspect, and then when they get a chance to shoot they like to shoot the puck. It was good. I thought the guys moved the puck quick and shot when they had to.”Chris WescottFri, 16 Jan 2015 16:31:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practicefayneroad2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3601336013BLOG: Gordon hits 600-game milestonehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=36012“It’s a fantastic accomplishment.” Oilers bench boss Todd Nelson summed it up perfectly when asked about veteran centreman Boyd Gordon playing in his 600th career NHL game last night in Tampa. After stints in Washington and Phoenix, the 31-year-old Saskatchewan native has endeared himself to the Oilers organization and their fans for his work ethic and unsung hero mentality. “Gordo’s carved out a very nice career for himself,” Coach Nelson added. “He really plays a good, hard game and is always in the trenches. He’s a guy that goes in the faceoff dot for key draws and carries the lion’s share of the penalty kill. He’s a guy that tries to do things right every time and be consistent.” Always humble and typically a man of few words, Gordon said he feels lucky to be in the NHL and relishes each day at the rink. “It’s something I'm proud of and it was definitely a special night for me,” he said. “You just want to keep playing games and play for as long as you can. It’s a privilege to play in this league. Any time you get an opportunity to play in the NHL, it’s something you want to treasure.” Gordon has done 600 games the hard way too, considering his top performance traits are winning faceoffs, blocking shots, marking opposing teams’ top players and killing penalties. He scored 81 points in his final WHL season with the Red Deer Rebels in 2002-03, but became a faceoff-winning, shutdown specialist in the NHL. “I put up some points in junior, but when you’re a pro you have to figure out what you’re good at and what your niche is, and and I think I found that,” said Gordon, who credits his father, as well as his Rebels coach Brent Sutter, for teaching him the game and how to develop his faceoff prowess. Gordon ranks second in the NHL in blocked shots by a forward this season with 53 (Ryan Getzlaf has 57), sits eighth in the league in faceoff success at 56.5% and sixth in total faceoff wins with 843. He’s also scored five goals this year and has a career-high 12.5% shooting success rate.Ryan FranksonFri, 16 Jan 2015 16:30:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/644gordonedm.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3601236012BLOG: Nelson hopes to follow Cooper’s pathhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35940When Oilers interim Head Coach Todd Nelson glances over to the Tampa Bay Lightning bench during tonight’s game, he’ll see a former American Hockey League colleague guiding the opposing squad in Jon Cooper. Nelson and Cooper share quite a few similarities. Both grew up in small Western Canadian cities (Nelson in Prince Albert, SK and Cooper in Prince George, BC). Both have worked their way up through the minor league coaching ranks, and both were mid-season NHL head coaching replacements. Cooper guided the AHL's Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch from 2010 to 2013, while Nelson was bench boss of the Oklahoma City Barons. He took the reins of the Lightning in March 2013 when Guy Boucher was relieved of his duties and proceeded to lead the team to a 101-point 2013-14 campaign. Tampa Bay is also off to a strong start this year with a 27-14-4 record. Many of the prospects Cooper coached in the AHL have turned into impact players with the NHL club, like Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Brett Connolly. Nelson said his goal is to enjoy similar success with the Oilers and see some of the guys he’s helped develop in OKC grow into NHL regulars. “Jon’s done a fantastic job here,” Nelson said. “He has his team playing well. They’re an explosive team. It’s a situation where I'm going to relish the fact that we get to coach against each other. Hopefully in the future, we as an Oilers team can accomplish what Tampa Bay is accomplishing right now.”Ryan FranksonThu, 15 Jan 2015 14:33:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141228_3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3594035940BLOG: Purcell faces former ‘mateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35939Tonight’s Oilers vs. Lightning game marks a bit of a homecoming for winger Teddy Purcell, who spent the last four and a half seasons playing in Tampa before he was dealt to Edmonton in the Sam Gagner trade this past summer. The 29-year-old from St. John’s, Newfoundland started his NHL career with the LA Kings but was traded to Tampa during the 2009-10 campaign. Purcell played 310 regular season and 22 playoff games with the Lightning, scoring 203 regular season points and 18 more in the post-season. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited,” said Purcell, who ranks fourth in Oilers scoring this year with 19 points. “It’s nice to come back and see some familiar faces. It’s a little different, but I’m excited to play tonight. We had a lot of successful seasons here, and I give a lot of thanks to this organization for giving me the chance to become an every-day NHL player.” Purcell said he got a chance to meet former teammate Steven Stamkos for lunch yesterday and also visited his former Tampa home, which is now occupied by current Lightning forward Brian Boyle, who’s in his first season with the Florida squad.Ryan FranksonThu, 15 Jan 2015 14:32:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141018_purcelloil2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3593935939Wednesday Audio and Videohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35947Chris WescottWed, 14 Jan 2015 14:48:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3594735947BLOG: Wednesday line combinationshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35944The Oilers are on the ice for practice in Tampa Bay. Forward Lines: Hall-RNH-Eberle Pouliot-Roy-Yakupov Purcell-Lander-Fraser Gazdic-Hendricks-Klinkhammer Gordon is absent Defensive Pairings: Ference-Petry Klefbom-Schultz Nikitin-Fayne AulieChris WescottWed, 14 Jan 2015 13:28:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644klinkhammer2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3594435944BLOG: Roy to skate in 700th gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35875The Oilers newest centre will play his 700th career NHL game tonight against a former team. Derek Roy has played 699 career NHL regular season games with the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and the Oilers. “I honestly didn’t know until they told me,” Roy said of the achievement. “I knew I was pretty close to getting there sometime. It’s just a number, but I’ve played on some great teams and played a lot of games in this league. It’s just good. I’m healthy right now, so that’s good and I’ve just got to keep rolling.” Roy has seen it all in his career. He’s played for different teams under different coaches so it’s easy for him to transition to a new club. When the Oilers acquired Roy in a trade from Nashville in December, it didn’t take long for the new guy to settle in. “Pretty easy,” Roy said of the transition. “The guys are great here. It’s a great young group of guys, good coaching and the transition was pretty smooth. I’ve played a lot of systems with a lot of different coaches so it’s no different here. It’s just a matter of going out there, battling, winning battles and working hard.” Roy has six points (2-4-6) in seven games with the Oilers so far, contributing offensively along with providing veteran leadership. “I think the opportunity helps,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “I think anytime you get a fresh start somewhere you get a little bit of jump in your stride, you play with more energy. He’s a guy that’s always been a smart player and he’s able to create some offence. I think right now, he’s just accepting the fresh start and he’s been taking advantage of it.” “We’ve got a great young group here and I’m just trying to work as hard as I can every day in practice and in games to show some leadership and get some points, put some numbers up and help guys score, that’s my job, and play some tough defence,” Roy said. “I’m just trying to do that every game.” In 699 NHL games, Roy has scored 180 goals and 328 assists for 508 career points. He has 27 career points in 49 NHL playoff games.Chris WescottTue, 13 Jan 2015 15:22:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150109_DEV1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3587535875BLOG: Bachman named AHL Player of the Weekhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35851Oilers prospect Richard Bachman has been named the AHL's Player of the Week. From the AHL's Press Release: SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... The American Hockey League announced today that Oklahoma City Barons goaltender Richard Bachman has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 11, 2015. Bachman made three appearances in net last week and stopped 60 of 61 shots, registering a 2-0-0 record with a 0.40 goals-against average, a .984 save percentage and two shutouts to help the Barons take over the top spot in the overall AHL standings. Bachman stopped six of seven shots in 29 minutes of relief work on Tuesday vs. Texas, then drew the start on Saturday night and made 28 saves to backstop Oklahoma City to a 2-0 win at Rochester. Bachman followed that up with another shutout, turning aside all 26 Hamilton shots in a 3-0 Barons victory and helping the club set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive road win. Bachman is 11-3-3 in 18 games for Oklahoma City this season, with a 2.20 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and three shutouts. The sixth-year pro from Salt Lake City, Utah, has a career record of 81-52-15 in 154 AHL appearances for Oklahoma City and Texas, registering a 2.56 GAA, a .916 save percentage and 14 shutouts. Originally drafted by Dallas in 2006 and signed by Edmonton as a free agent in 2013, Bachman has gone 14-12-2 with one shutout in 35 career outings in the National Hockey League with the Stars and Oilers. In recognition of his achievement, Bachman will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Barons home game.Marc CiampaMon, 12 Jan 2015 14:55:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/10/bachmansave.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3585135851Saturday practice audio & videohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35807Chris WescottSat, 10 Jan 2015 19:09:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3580735807BLOG: RNH headed to the NHL All-Star Gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35791Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was named on Saturday to the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. For Nugent-Hopkins, it will be his first NHL All-Star Game and he will be the Oilers lone representative. “I think it’s an outstanding honour," said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. "This year he’s elevated his game and he’s been playing some very consistent hockey. We’re very happy for him. It’s a great honour for him to go there.” Nelson also coached Nugent-Hopkins in the American Hockey League with the Oklahoma City Barons during the lockout in 2012-13. He added that he is very happy with Nugent-Hopkins' overall game. “Right now he’s playing both ends of the ice very well. He’s playing in all situations and he’s very dependable. It doesn’t matter if he has a couple goals or doesn’t, he’s contributing to the hockey team’s success.” Nugent-Hopkins was excited for the honour. “It’s definitely pretty exciting. I got the news, cool to hear about it. I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” he said, adding it will be quite the experience to play with the League's best. “It’ll be a little bit different. I got a chance to play with a lot of great players when I went to the World Championships so I know some of them from that but a lot of these guys have been to the all-star game many times. “Any time you get a chance to talk to guys like that it’s really cool to see how guys approach it from different teams, especially the top guys around the league. It’ll be cool to talk to them.” The Oilers centre added that he was looking forward to just having fun and playing in what is normally a high-scoring affair. “You watch it every year and it’s just a fun game. A lot of guys having fun, moving the puck around and trying to run up the score as much as possible.” Thankfully, Nugent-Hopkins didn't have any plans made during the all-star break that he would now have to cancel. “I didn’t have anything completely planned yet. I was thinking of going somewhere close.”Marc CiampaSat, 10 Jan 2015 17:55:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/09/644camp-rnh2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3579135791BLOG: Saturday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35780The Oilers are on the ice for practice at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton. Line combinations: Hall-RNH-Eberle Yakupov-Roy-Pouliot Fraser-Lander-Purcell Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer-GazdicChris WescottSat, 10 Jan 2015 15:13:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3578035780BLOG: Win has Oilers relaxedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35783The Oilers 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was no doubt a quality win and a much-needed relief for a team that has been playing much more competitive hockey as of late. “It’s so fun to win and it does make you forget about what place you are in the standings for a couple of days,” Oilers winger Taylor Hall said. “For us, we need that. We need to be a relaxed group. That’s one thing about playing in Edmonton, is that you don’t get that relaxation. It’s just the way it is. It’s the nature of the beast but for us, winning helps out a lot for that.” The Oilers have now earned points in five of their last six games and have wins over the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Islanders and the Blackhawks. All three of their wins have come at home. “We want to make this a place that teams don’t want to come into. And I think our fans are starting to get behind us more than they were, not that you could blame them,” Hall said. “I think they’re starting to see that we’re playing a better brand of hockey. Wins on home ice are a lot of fun too. We’ve got to finish this home stand out well and have some confidence on the road.” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson is 3-1-2 since taking over solo coaching duties behind the bench.Chris WescottSat, 10 Jan 2015 01:26:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150109_celly.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3578335783BLOG: Yakupov has strong gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35742Nail Yakupov was one of a few Oilers players to put forth an impressive performance in a 5-2 win over Chicago. Yakupov finished the game +3 with a goal and an assist. He was the game’s second star. His goal, on a 2-on-0 breakaway, at 16:51 of the third gave the Oilers the 4-2 lead. “I thought he was very good today on both sides of the puck,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “He contributed offensively, it was nice to see him score. He did a lot of good things tonight, I was happy with his game.” Yakupov hadn’t scored a goal since December 7, against the San Jose Sharks. But hard work finally paid off for the 21-year-old winger. “He brings so much speed and so much deception for the other team. They don’t know what he’s doing and sometimes we don’t know what he’s doing,” joked Yakupov’s linemate Derek Roy. “But we like to talk on the bench and keep being on the same page. His work ethic is always there and it has always been there. We just have to realize the work ethic he puts in every night.”Chris WescottSat, 10 Jan 2015 01:25:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150109_yakpost.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3574235742BLOG: Roy is finding offencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35741Derek Roy came to the Oilers from Nashville in a trade on December 29. Since then, he has tallied five points, including two goals, in six games for the blue and orange. The icing on the cake, so far, was Roy’s three-point night against Chicago. “He had a great night, I thought that line had a great night,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “I thought all three players played exceptionally well. I thought Derek’s work ethic was just exceptional. He was working back hard on the backcheck and he was contributing offensively so it was a really solid game.” Roy scored when Teddy Purcell set him up to redirect a pass in front of the Chicago net. “Our job is to go out there and provide offence, provide energy and we did that tonight. We’ve just got to build on it,” Roy said of his line, which includes Purcell and Nail Yakupov. Roy had just 10 points (1-9-10) in 26 games with Nashville. But with the Oilers, a regular role has given him confidence to make plays like he has done his entire career. He has 507 points (180-327-507) in 698 career NHL games. “It’s always been there,” Roy said of his offence. “I have over 500 points in the league so it’s always been there. It’s about having confidence in yourself and the way you go out and play and prepare for every game. Just knowing that I’m going to play centre every night and play with two great players on a fast, offensive-based team is my style. This is perfect.”Chris WescottSat, 10 Jan 2015 01:18:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150109_roycelly.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3574135741BLOG: More aggressive system?http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35721After practice, Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins used the word “aggressive” to describe the team’s recent play, citing their system play as a reason. “I think we’re a little bit more aggressive with our system play right now and I think that helps us out,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’re a fast team and we get to use that speed, using a really aggressive forecheck and having our D pinch down. I think earlier in the year, if we were pinching then our F3 wasn’t as good as it is now. That’s something that we’ve really touched on as the season as gone on and it’s something we’re getting better at.” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson confirmed that he recently made a few tweaks to the team’s forecheck, which allows more chances to create plays and turnovers in the offensive zone. “We tweaked our forecheck, both in the neutral zone and the offensive zone so it’s more aggressive than maybe what they’ve played in the past,” Nelson said. “If we do it effectively, it does create turnovers and we can attack on the rush or keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. Once again, the system only works if the guys have bought in and are playing hard and working hard with it. That’s something we’re striving for, but it is more aggressive.” Nelson admitted that it can take time for players to buy into changes to systems, but this group has done a decent job of assimilating. “Yeah it does, but our guys have been pretty good with it,” Nelson said. “When we implemented it, when we did drills, I think they did it effectively. I think they’re seeing results from that in trying to keep the play alive in the offensive zone.”Chris WescottThu, 08 Jan 2015 16:15:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practicehome1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3572135721BLOG: Practices have quicker pacehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35720If you watched practice today, you would have seen the players constantly moving their feet. Each drill was quick and had a purpose, with very little downtime between. You can also see examples of drills specifically designed to reinforce the game plan. That is something Oilers players have been commenting on the past few weeks. “We really want to get the speed of practice up, keep the tempo moving and not stay out there as long. Get in there, do our business and get out,” Mark Fayne said. A few days ago, the Oilers held a brief scrimmage in which the losing team had to skate extra. A quicker paced practice is something Interim Coach Todd Nelson really emphasizes. “That’s the concept to practice at a high rate of speed but also have drills that translate to our system in a game,” Nelson said. “I thought practice was really good today. I thought our execution and our tempo was good and that’s what we’re striving for here to develop that tempo as a habit so it translates to the game.” That concept is something the players have bought into. “We’ve taken more pride in our practices as of late,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We know that we can be a little bit sloppy out there at times and I think your work ethic in games starts with practice and what you do starts in practice. There are a lot of things we wanted to work on and that’s one of them.”Chris WescottThu, 08 Jan 2015 16:11:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644klinkhammer1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3572035720BLOG: Connor Jones named to ECHL All-Star Teamhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35712Forward Connor Jones has been selected to the 2015 ECHL All-Star Team. Currently with the Oklahoma City Barons, Jones has three points (2-1-3) in seven AHL games. In the ECHL, Jones is the Bakersfield Condors leading scorer with 26 points (10-16-26) in 27 games this season. He registered seven multi-point games with the Condors, and scored two overtime goals this season. Jones is the Condors 19th selection to the ECHL All-Star Classic. Jones is the twin brother of Kellen Jones, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft by the Oilers.Chris WescottThu, 08 Jan 2015 15:15:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/Cjones3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3571235712Thursday audio and videohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35713Chris WescottThu, 08 Jan 2015 14:09:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3571335713BLOG: Thursday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35708The Oilers have taken the ice for Thursday’s practice at Rexall Place. The line combinations are as follows, based on jersey colours: Hall-RNH-Eberle Pouliot-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Purcell Gazdic, Hendricks & Klinkhammer Boyd Gordon is absent at the start of practiceChris WescottThu, 08 Jan 2015 12:37:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3570835708BLOG: Kelowna acquires Draisaitlhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35609The Kelowna Rockets have acquired Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl from the Prince Albert Raiders, in exchange for Swiss import Kris Schmidli, defenceman Dalton Yorke and a 2015 WHL bantam draft pick. Draisaitl, 19, appeared in 37 games this season for the Oilers, recording nine points (2-7-9) and four penalty minutes. Kelowna is currently the best team in the WHL, with a record of 31-6-3-0 and 65 standing points.Chris WescottTue, 06 Jan 2015 17:02:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141028_draisaitl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3560935609BLOG: Two Barons named to AHL All Star rosterhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35619Anton Lander and Brad Hunt have been named to the AHL's Western Conference All Star team. Lander, currently with the Oilers, has appeared in 29 games this season with the Barons. His 22 assists lead the team, while he has recorded 31 total points (9-22-31). His 31 points is tied for the team lead and is eighth in the AHL. Hunt has played in 20 games for the Barons this season and is fifth in the league for defencemen with 22 points (7-15-22). He has played 11 games with the Oilers this season. The 2015 AHL All Star Classic is January 25-26, in Utica, NY.Chris WescottTue, 06 Jan 2015 15:03:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/CaptainLander_2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3561935619BLOG: MacTavish gives review of Nurse’s tournamenthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35612Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish attended the 2015 World Junior Championship and saw firsthand the impressive performance of one of his own prospects. Canada defenceman Darnell Nurse was named his team’s player of the game following the gold medal showdown with Russia. Nurse, selected seventh overall by the Oilers in 2013, was on the ice for exactly zero even-strength goals against the entire tournament. He played aggressive, physical hockey and showed off impressive speed and ability to win puck battles. MacTavish says Nurse showed why he’ll be exactly what the Oilers need when he’s ready. “Pretty hard not to be very excited about the prospects,” MacTavish said of Nurse. “When he’s ready to come in and provide that same type of performance level, he’s exactly what we need. A year changes a lot. You see it in (Coyotes 2013 first-round pick) Max Domi, who didn’t make the team last year and was the player of the tournament. You see the same for Darnell, who didn’t make the team last year but was arguably the best defenceman in the tournament. MacTavish says the plan all along was to be patient with Nurse, affording him an opportunity to represent Canada at World Juniors and experience what he did this year. “When we drafted Darnell, I felt like there was a couple of criteria we wanted met before he was ready to play here,” MacTavish said. “I wanted him to be over 200 pounds and I wanted him to have a World Junior experience, much like he just had. The criteria have been met, I think that his development is pretty exciting for all Oilers fans.”Chris WescottTue, 06 Jan 2015 12:42:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644nurse-cada.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3561235612BLOG: MacTavish gives his thoughts on McDavidhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35613On his biggest stage yet, Connor McDavid was impressive. The projected first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft helped Canada capture gold at the World Junior Championship, and displayed his skills throughout the tournament. McDavid finished the run, tied for Canada’s lead in scoring, with 11 points (3-8-11) in 7 games. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish attended the tournament and gave his thoughts on McDavid. “He’s a generational player for sure,” MacTavish said. “He’s going to be, along with (USA’s Jack) Eichel, I’ll say he’s going to probably be the most dynamic player that we’ve seen and he’ll be the most productive in my mind. Pretty impressive skill set.”Chris WescottTue, 06 Jan 2015 12:42:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644396-canada.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3561335613BLOG: Draisaitl and MacTavish give their thoughtshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35611It was announced today that the Kelowna Rockets acquired Leon Draisaitl’s rights from the Prince Albert Raiders. The trade gives the Oilers prospect an opportunity to go to a winning team, as Kelowna is the top team in the WHL with a record of 31-6-3-0 and 65 standing points. “Obviously, I had an amazing time here,” Draisaitl said. “I’ve learned so many things that I couldn’t even list on one list. I’m really thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to play in the NHL as a young kid. At the same time, now going to an organization that’s winning right now and that’s hopefully going to have a deep run is really exciting for me.” Draisaitl played 37 games for the Oilers this season, recording nine points (2-7-9). The 19-year-old returns to juniors, where he has posted 163 points (59-104-163) in 128 career games. “I had a real specific destination in mind for Leon and I talked to (Prince Albert General Manager) Bruno Campese many times throughout the year, saying it would be very unlikely he’d be assigned back to P.A,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “At one of those conversations, I said to Bruno that I had this specific situation I thought would be ideal for Leon and if that situation was satisfied then there’d be a likelihood that we’d send him back.” MacTavish continued, “For obvious reasons, Kelowna was the destination for Leon and I think this is going to be extremely important for his development. I don’t view his 40 games here as time wasted at all. I think it’s time well spent for him but everybody can understand what our rationale was for sending him back to Kelowna for him to have this experience. As much as the situation that we’re in necessitates impatience at times, we know that patience for these young players is the only way to go in terms for what’s best for their development.”Chris WescottTue, 06 Jan 2015 12:41:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141028_draistop5.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3561135611Monday audio and videohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35582Chris WescottMon, 05 Jan 2015 17:35:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644klinkhammer2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3558235582BLOG: Oilers Monday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35579The Oilers have taken the ice at Rexall Place for Monday’s practice. The line combinations are as follows: Hall-RNH-Eberle Pouliot-Roy-Purcell Fraser-Lander-Yakupov Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer (Gazdic) Defensive Pairings: Ference-Petry Klefbom-Schultz Nikitin-Fayne (Aulie)Chris WescottMon, 05 Jan 2015 13:32:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practicehome1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3557935579BLOG: What Draisaitl needs to work onhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35585The Oilers announced today that they had assigned centre Leon Draisaitl to the Canadian Hockey League. “We wish Leon the best in going back to junior,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “The short time I had to work with Leon was a pleasure. I thought his game improved over the time that he was here and it’s a good opportunity for him to hone his skills and be a better hockey player and a more confident guy.” Draisaitl 19, played in 37 games this season for the Oilers, scoring nine points (2-7-9). Nelson spoke about the roster decision and gave his thoughts on what Draisaitl needs to work on back in junior. “In the case of Leon, I thought his foot speed through the neutral zone got better and that’s one thing he has to continue to work on but also developing the confidence to find the back of the net,” Nelson said. “He has that ability, he’s a great passer, I’d like to see him shoot the puck more but that goes for everybody in that locker room, we want to shoot the puck more. It’s just a few things to touch on. We talked to him about that and that’s what he’s going to work on.”Chris WescottSun, 04 Jan 2015 14:59:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141113_leon.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3558535585BLOG: Nelson weighs in on Barons successhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35584The Oklahoma City Barons have won seven-straight games, making it the nine victories in their last 10. Their record of 23-7-2-2 and 50 standing points put them at first in the Western Conference and tied for first in the American Hockey League. As their former bench boss, Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson is pleased with their continued success but doesn’t believe they’ve even hit their peak. “I guess they got rid of the cancer down there or something,” Nelson laughed. “They’re doing a great job down there. Gerry Fleming, I talked to him last night and I’ve watched a few of the games, and they’re playing excellent hockey. They’re doing things the right way and they’re playing with confidence. They’re getting good goaltending and they’re just playing very solid hockey. By no means do I think they’ve reached their peak. They’re just playing very confident and they’re playing a very good team game.”Chris WescottSun, 04 Jan 2015 14:58:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141205_cellybarons.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3558435584BLOG: Yakupov’s gamehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35583Nail Yakupov has nine points (4-5-9) in 39 games this season. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson talked about where Yakupov, 21, is at in his development right now and where the forward needs to show improvement in his game. It involves shooting the puck more and having closer puck support. “I think he’s working hard,” Nelson said. “He’s trying to execute the things we think he needs to work on. Once again, we want to get him in a position where he can shoot the puck but it comes down to playing with decent structure and also, in the offensive zone, once again we want to see more shots going to the net. I think we’re passing up shots as a team but Nail too wants to pass the puck when he has it. I’d rather see him shoot the puck at the net and be hungry for rebounds. One thing we’re trying to work on with him is just having closer support with guys in the corner with the one-on-one battle, to go there and help out. Right now, he’s kind of playing off a bit and waiting for that pass. I think with close puck support he’ll get the puck more. But I think from the time that I’ve been here he’s been trying these things and I think it’s improving. I think his game is improving and it’s still a work in progress.”Chris WescottSun, 04 Jan 2015 14:57:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141031_yakupovPOTW.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3558335583BLOG: Pouliot felt good in returnhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35533Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot had an excellent return, scoring a goal with three shots after missing 18 games with a broken foot. “He definitely made an impact tonight,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. “He played a simple game for us, capitalized on the goal obviously. It was a tough spot for him coming back. Here it’s hard to breathe a bit but the thing is, he went short shifts. He said he felt good and I thought he was very solid for our hockey team tonight.” Pouliot talked about how the team had a very positive attitude upon his return to the room. “The guys, even though we’re struggling right now, they’re still positive. We’re trying to build off that and keep going,” he said. “It’s good to be back. I’m so happy to be back.” With the thin air in Denver, Pouliot made sure to not over-exert himself. “I lost my voice in the second and kept it short out there,” he said. “I think I was making 20-second shifts. It was tough to get the breathing and get the legs going. I thought our line had a lot of poise and playmaking in their zone. It brought me a lot of confidence back.”Marc CiampaSat, 03 Jan 2015 00:44:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/644pouliot10-19.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3553335533BLOG: Oilers activate Pouliot, assign Pinizzottohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35528The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned forward Steve Pinizzotto to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Pinizzotto, 30, has posted four points (2G, 2A) and 30 penalty minutes in 18 games with the Oilers this season The 6’1”, 205-pound winger has recorded six assists and 40 penalty minutes in nine games with Oklahoma City. Winger Benoit Pouliot has also been taken off the injured reserve list.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseFri, 02 Jan 2015 16:36:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/644pouliot10-19.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3552835528BLOG: Klinkhammer to wear #12 with Oilershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35526Rob Klinkhammer will wear the number 12 with the Oilers when he eventually suits up with the team. Check the Oilers mobile app for Chris Wescott's interview with Klinkhammer as he gets ready to join Edmonton. Rob Klinkhammer (@Bobbyklink) will wear #12 for the #Oilers. — Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 2, 2015 As an aside, David Perron will wear number 39 with the Penguins. Marcel Goc wears 57 for Pittsburgh.Marc CiampaFri, 02 Jan 2015 15:42:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150102_klinkhammer644-1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3552635526BLOG: Oilers lines on Friday in Denverhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35502The Oilers are on the ice for morning skate in Denver. Lines are: Hall - RNH - Eberle Purcell - Roy - Pouliot Fraser - Lander - Yakupov Hendricks - Gordon - Gazdic Draisaitl - Pinizzotto Ference-Petry Klefbom-Fayne Nikitin-Schultz Aulie Ben Scrivens gets the start in goal.Marc CiampaFri, 02 Jan 2015 13:41:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practicefayneroad2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3550235502BLOG: Perron comments after the tradehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35496Oilers forward David Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday and shortly afterwards he met with the media to give his thoughts on the team. “It’s always hard leaving a place when you’re emotionally involved, no matter how tough the situation was here. Once you look past that, there’s not many better opportunities to go to and I’m really excited about that,” Perron began. The winger was asked what he will remember most from his time in Edmonton. “Just the class from the organization. From Day 1, when I met MacT in the summer I got traded and all the way through the tough times all the nice people I met: trainers, team staff, players and people of Edmonton, it was great. Now it’s a new chapter for me and hopefully I get a chance to go real deep into the playoffs.” He added that he's sad to leave despite the team's recent tough times. “When you’re emotionally involved it’s hard to leave any kind of situation. Because it’s the NHL, the best league in in the world, even if the Oilers are struggling right now they’ll find a way out eventually and they’ll be a top team in the League. Looks like I won’t be a part of it and hopefully I’m a part of something special in Pittsburgh.”Marc CiampaFri, 02 Jan 2015 13:15:00 ESThttp://cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141212_potw644.jpeghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3549635496BLOG: Oilers trade Perron to Penguinshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35493The Oilers announced today that they have traded David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for a first-round pick in 2015 and 6-foot-3, 214-pound forward Rob Klinkhammer. Klinkhammer, 28, has played in 139 NHL games with Chicago, Ottawa, Arizona and Pittsburgh. He’s scored 39 points (20-19-39) and recorded 35 penalty minutes. He has three points (1-2-3) in 10 games for the Penguins this season. Perron played 116 games for the Oilers in two seasons, scoring 33 goals and finishing with 76 points (33-43-76). More information to follow.Chris WescottFri, 02 Jan 2015 12:28:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150102_klinkhammer644-2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3549335493BLOG: Aulie suspended two gameshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35490The NHL announced this evening that Oilers defenceman Keith Aulie has been suspended two games for his hit Wednesday night on Calgary's Matt Stajan.Marc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 20:23:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141117_aulie.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3549035490BLOG: Anton Lander recalledhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35485The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have recalled centre Anton Lander from the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Lander, 23, has registered 31 points (9G, 22A), 20 penalty minutes and a plus eight rating in 29 games with the Barons this season. The 6’0”, 186-pound centre has appeared in one game for the Oilers this season and has played 95 career NHL games with the Oilers, posting eight points (2G, 6A) and 18 penalty minutes.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseThu, 01 Jan 2015 18:00:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/CaptainLander_2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3548535485New Year's Day Video and Audiohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35481Marc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 17:55:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practiceroad7.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3548135481BLOG: Oilers practice on New Year's Dayhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35484Coming off of back-to-back games and it being New Year's Day, the Oilers held practice in Denver. Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson said that while it probably wasn't a popular decision in the dressing room, it was necessary to get the team back on the ice. “I’m sure there was a few groans when we called practice today but it wasn’t a tough day. We went out there and snapped the puck around. We got through five or six drills. We wanted to keep the tempo and pace up. We only went for half an hour. It wasn’t tough from that aspect. We got some good work in,” Nelson began, adding that he feels that the team needs to continue to get on the ice and improve. “As a coach, I feel like I don’t want to have the guys lose what they’re gaining. I think we have a pretty good handle on rest versus work. It wasn’t a tough day and now they have the rest of the day to get rested up for a game tomorrow.” Benoit Pouliot agreed with the coach, saying particularly with the altitude in Denver it was good to get on the ice. “Coming to Colorado, It’s always a little tougher coming to practice and play. The altitude doesn’t really help but it was good. It was a good 20 to 30 minutes and we’ll be ready tomorrow.”Marc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 17:48:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practiceroad6.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3548435484BLOG: Pitlick has a lacerated spleenhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35483There were two players who were not on the ice today at the Pepsi Center in Denver: Taylor Hall and Tyler Pitlick. Following practice, Todd Nelson was asked about the status of both. “Tyler Pitlick suffered a lacerated spleen last night and he’s still in Calgary under further evaluation," Nelson stated. "As for Taylor Hall, it was just a maintenance day today.” It is believed that Pitlick suffered the injury on a hit from Calgary's Lance Bouma. The amount of time Pitlick will be out has not yet been determined. Pitlick has been placed on injured reserve.Marc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 17:46:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141130_pit.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3548335483BLOG: Pouliot ready to play tomorrowhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35482After missing 18 games with a broken foot, it appears that Benoit Pouliot is ready to get back into the lineup for the Oilers Friday against the Colorado Avalanche. Pouliot participated in full contact in practice and skated on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. “He is very close," said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. "At the start of practice, he was cleared for practice. I talked to him after and he says he feels really good. We’re going to see how the skate goes tomorrow morning and base our decision there. He feels that his game conditioning is where it should be at so it’s just a matter of going through practice tomorrow.” Pouliot added that he thinks he's ready to go but ultimately it's up to Coach Nelson and the training staff. “I feel great,” said Pouliot. “I think if I get the chance to go tomorrow, I’m ready for sure to go. It’s going to be the coach’s decision.” The winger was asked about his recovery routine as he attempted to stay in game shape throughout the six-week period. “It’s a lot of work. It’s always in the gym, every day, every morning with Chad, our trainer. There’s a lot of bike, a lot of weights and treatment,” he said. “I’m right on my timeline. It was six weeks and I think I’m right there.”Marc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 17:43:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/644pouliot10-19.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3548235482BLOG: Oilers on ice for New Year's practicehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35477The Oilers are on the ice for practice at the Pepsi Center in Colorado. It is an optional practice and Tyler Pitlick and Taylor Hall are not skating. Lines are: Pouliot - RNH - Eberle Purcell - Roy - Yakupov Perron - Draisaitl - Fraser Hendricks - Gordon - Pinizzotto/Gazdic Defence pairings: Klefbom-Fayne Petry-Ference Aulie/Nikitin-SchultzMarc CiampaThu, 01 Jan 2015 16:06:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practiceroadrnh1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3547735477BLOG: Roy taks about injury scarehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35454Oilers forward Derek Roy talked about his injury scare on Tuesday against the Kings. In his debut with the Oilers, Roy assisted on a Matt Hendricks goal on his second shift of the game and on his third shift, a skate stepped on his ankle, cutting him open. "I knew something was up but I wanted to keep playing. (The trainer) said no, I have to come off," said Roy. "I didn't know it was bleeding." After missing the rest of the first period, Roy was out there to start the second. He was cut for four stitches. "It's tender and sore," he said, but indicated he doesn't expect it to be an issue tonight against the Flames.Marc CiampaWed, 31 Dec 2014 20:08:00 ESThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3545435454BLOG: MacTavish sees improvement in Schultz’s offencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35388Since Craig MacTavish and Todd Nelson took over the Oilers bench, Justin Schultz has recorded four points in his last five games. The offensive side of his game appears to be coming around and that’s what MacTavish says is most noticeable. “My assessment of Justin is he’s doing what he does well much better now than he has,” the Oilers general manager said. “There are still deficiencies in his game. There are plenty of examples of that. But I’m pleased with the way he’s jumping up to open ice and his contributions offensively. There was a period this year where he was ineffective offensively and ineffective defensively and that’s a bad combination, but he’s playing with much more urgency in his game offensively, which is the strength of his game.” Schultz has played 35 games this season, recording 15 points (3-12-15) and four penalty minutes.Chris WescottTue, 30 Dec 2014 16:51:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141004_schultz644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3538835388BLOG: MacTavish on stepping off the benchhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35387Tonight will be Todd Nelson’s first game as interim coach without Craig MacTavish on the bench. The Oilers GM says it was the right time to step back and let Nelson take the reins. “I just feel like the transition is the right time now,” MacTavish said. “Coaching is not a place for two captains and I think Todd has directed the team and changed the lines the last couple of games. I offer to support him as best I can but it’s time for him and I’m comfortable now that he’s got a familiarization with the personnel and I think it’s time for him to put his mark on what he can do with this hockey club.” Nelson said the transition period helped him feel more comfortable with the personnel but he’s ready to take the next step.Chris WescottTue, 30 Dec 2014 16:50:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644macprac.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3538735387BLOG: Oilers showed early interest in Fraserhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35386Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish stepped in front of the media on Tuesday to recap yesterday’s moves, which included claiming Matt Fraser off waivers from Boston. MacTavish hinted that the club has had interest in the winger for quite some time, and their familiarity with his production in the minors sealed the decision to snag him. “Our guys have had a lot of interest in Matt over the years,” MacTavish said. “He’s had some success against Todd that’s been well-documented over the last 16 hours or so. I remember when I was coaching in the American Hockey League and he was playing in Texas, he had success against us too. He gives us an element that we don’t have in abundance and that’s a shot. We’ll see if he can get some traction here.” Fraser will play tonight on a line with David Perron and Leon Draisaitl.Chris WescottTue, 30 Dec 2014 16:44:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141230_fraser1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3538635386BLOG: Tuesday morning skate lines and pairingshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35408The Oilers are on the ice for Tuesday's morning skate. The line combinations are as follows: Hall-RNH-Eberle Yakupov-Roy-Purcell Perron-Draisaitl-Fraser Hendricks-Gordon-Pitlick The defensive pairings: Klefbom-Fayne Nikitin-Schultz Ference-Petry Leon Draisaitl, who missed yesterday's practice due to illness, is on the ice.Chris WescottTue, 30 Dec 2014 12:41:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644fasth.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3540835408BLOG: Derek Roy's jersey numberhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35341The Oilers newest centre, Derek Roy, will wear number 8 for the Oilers.Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 21:01:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141229_roy2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3534135341Oilers trade for Derek Royhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35339The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have acquired centre Derek Roy from the Nashville Predators, in exchange for centre Mark Arcobello. Roy, 31, has appeared in 26 games for the Predators this season, posting 10 points (1G, 9A) and two penalty minutes. The native of Ottawa, Ontario, has spent time with the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators through 11 NHL seasons, accumulating 502 points (178G, 324A) and 369 penalty minutes in 692 career NHL games. The 5’9”, 184-pound centre has also appeared in 49 career playoff games, recording 27 points (7G, 20A) and 36 penalty minutes. Roy also represented Canada internationally at the 2008 and 2009 World Hockey Championships, registering 18 points (9G, 9A) and 10 penalty minutes in 18 games.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseMon, 29 Dec 2014 18:00:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/predators/images/upload/2014/12/cullen-faceoff-wild.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3533935339Monday audio and videohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35325Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 17:21:00 ESThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141219_practice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3532535325BLOG: Fraser happy to see familiar faceshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35337Matt Fraser was excited when he was informed that the Oilers were claiming him off waivers on Monday morning. It’s a chance for a fresh start with a team the Red Deer, Alberta native is very familiar with. “It’s exciting. It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours. Being from Red Deer, you grow up watching the Oilers and Flames. You’re almost immersed in that battle of Alberta. To be able to go there and be a part of it is certainly exciting,” Fraser said. Fraser is also familiar with some faces in the Oilers locker room, having played with Luke Gazdic and against Todd Nelson in the minors. “It’s certainly nice. It’s nice to come in and have that familiarity and know the familiar face there again,” Fraser said by phone on Monday. “It’s nice to be back in the Western Conference and be close to home. Having played against Todd Nelson and some of those guys, it certainly helps to know you’re not walking in all alone. It gives you a little bit more confidence.” Familiar faces or not, Fraser is just happy to be joining a team who wanted him. “First and foremost, it was just nice to have the opportunity to be claimed by someone,” he said. “To be put on waivers is not a great feeling and no one likes that feeling. But, at the end of the day, the Oilers took a chance with me and I’m certainly excited about it and excited about the opportunity.” Fraser says Gazdic was his mentor when he first came into the AHL.Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 17:20:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644fraser.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3533735337BLOG: Fraser’s shothttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35338Matt Fraser’s shot is almost always the first thing people associate with the winger. “He’s a guy that can shoot the puck,” said Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson, who coached against Fraser in the American Hockey League. “I’ve seen it first hand when we used to play against Texas and he’s scored his fair share of goals against us.” Luke Gazdic, who was Fraser’s teammate with the Texas Stars, says his shot is a lethal weapon. “He’s got a heck of a shot,” Gazdic said. “I think that’s the tool that has helped him the most. He scored 40 goals in the minors one of the years I played with him. He can score from anywhere, he’s lethal. He does it all, he finishes his checks, he’s not afraid to mix it up and he does a lot of things that can be useful for any team, especially ours.” Fraser scored 37 goals for the Texas Stars in 2011-12. He scored 33 the next season as well. “He’s a natural goal scorer, he can do it from anywhere,” Gazdic said. “He’s a good teammate, he’ll do anything to help the team win and that’s what we’re looking for in our lineup right now.” So far, that kind of goal production has not transferred to the NHL for Fraser. However, the winger is just 24 and is constantly working on his shot. “It’s something that I’ve always practiced on, it’s something that I take pride in,” Fraser said. “In this league nowadays there is not just one thing that gets you this far. You can’t be just a one dimensional player, but you definitely have to play to your strengths. I think shooting the puck is one of my strengths and something I do work on. It’s something I take pride in and when the puck is on my stick, I’m looking to get it off as fast as I can and as hard as I can.” Fraser was claimed off waivers by the Oilers on Monday morning. He is expected to play against Los Angeles on Tuesday.Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 17:20:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644-fraser2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3533835338BLOG: Nelson and Gazdic familiar with Fraserhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35333The Oilers claimed Matt Fraser off of waivers from Boston on Monday morning. Oilers winger Luke Gazdic is very familiar with Fraser, having played with him in the American Hockey League for Dallas’ farm club. “We were next door neighbours there for a bit so we have a good relationship. He’s a good kid and an even better hockey player,” Gazdic said. Gazdic thinks Frazer is a player the Oilers will surely welcome to the roster. “He’s got a heck of a shot,” Gazdic said. “I think that’s the tool that has helped him the most. He scored 40 goals in the minors one of the years I played with him. He can score from anywhere, he’s lethal. He does it all, he finishes his checks, he’s not afraid to mix it up and he does a lot of things that can be useful for any team, especially ours.” Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson had the challenge of coaching against Fraser in the AHL. Fraser scored 11 goals in 19 regular season games against the Oklahoma City Barons. “He’s a guy that can shoot the puck,” Nelson said. “I’ve seen it first hand when we used to play against Texas and he’s scored his fair share of goals against us. I’ve seen it up close. Plus, I think I worked with him at the All Star Game one year. He’s a hardworking guy that can find the back of the net. That was based on my experience a couple of years ago when we played against Texas, but he always had good games against us.” Gazdic added, “Nelly is pretty familiar with both of us. We had some good battles with OKC down there and I’m sure he’s glad to have Fraser on his side of the bench now rather than have to play against him because he’s a lethal scorer. He can put the puck in from anywhere and he torched OKC down there a couple of times.”Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 15:54:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644-fraser2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3533335333BLOG: Oilers assign Hunt, activate Nikitinhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35331The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned defenceman Brad Hunt to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Hunt, 26, posted two assists in five games with the Oilers since being recalled from Oklahoma City and has registered three points (1G, 2A) in 11 games with the Oilers this season. The 5’9”, 187-pound blueliner has posted 22 points (7G, 15A), six penalty minutes and a plus seven rating in 17 games with the Barons. Defenceman Niki Nikitin has also been taken of the injured reserve list.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseMon, 29 Dec 2014 15:30:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141031_niktinpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3533135331BLOG: Fraser will wear number 28http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35301Newly-acquired Oilers winger Matt Fraser will wear number 28, the team announced today. Fraser was claimed off waivers this morning at 10:00 a.m. MST.Marc CiampaMon, 29 Dec 2014 13:22:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644fraser.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3530135301BLOG: Monday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35300The Oilers have taken to the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Leon Draisaitl is absent, nursing an illness. Line combinations: Hall-RNH-Eberle Perron-Gordon-Purcell Yakupov-Arcobello-Pitlick Gazdic-Hendricks Defensive Pairings: Ference-Petry Nikitin-Schultz Klefbom-Fayne Aulie-Hunt Benoit Pouliot skated with the team for a couple of drills before coming off. Matt Fraser will wear #28 with the Oilers.Chris WescottMon, 29 Dec 2014 13:21:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141023_Practice3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3530035300BLOG: Oilers claim Fraser; place Pinizzotto on waivershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=35297The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have claimed winger Matt Fraser off waivers from the Boston Bruins and have placed forward Steve Pinizzotto on waivers. Fraser, 24, has registered three goals and seven penalty minutes in 24 games with the Boston Bruins this season. The 6’1”, 204-pound forward has appeared in 51 career NHL games, recording eight points (6G, 2A) and 17 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in four playoff games, posting two points (1G, 1A).Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseMon, 29 Dec 2014 12:02:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644fraser.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3529735297