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Posted On Monday, 10.07.2013 / 3:25 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Nugent-Hopkins returns to Oilers' lineup

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are moving Taylor Hall back to the wing, reuniting their top line and sitting Ryan Smyth as they host the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Rexall Place.

They also are starting backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera in an attempt to earn their first win of the season.

The game marks the return of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, back nearly four weeks earlier than expected from April shoulder surgery. He'll center the Oilers' top line, with Hall on the left and Jordan Eberle on the right wing.

"I feel great," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I'm excited. It's going to be fun. I need to get involved early, I know that. There is going to be some good energy in the building for sure. As far as the team standpoint, you have to get off to a good start and keep playing for 60 minutes."

Nugent-Hopkins' return brought an end to the Hall experiment at center, which saw the first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft total one assist and a minus-5 rating in the Oilers' first two games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.01.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers ask Hall to fill void at center

EDMONTON -- Taylor Hall will be the center of attention as the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets drop the puck on their season Tuesday at Rexall Place.

With injuries to the Oilers' top two centers, Hall made the move into the middle from his usual left-wing position. He'll play between Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky on the Oilers' top line against the Jets.

"I think we'll be fine, though having Sam [Gagner] and Ryan [Nugent-Hopkins] out is a big hole for us," Hall said. "But we still have a lot of good players, no matter what position you are at. [At] forward, we still have a lot of depth there. The addition of [David] Perron has been huge for us. He's a great player and someone that's going to fit in well for us here. We're going to do everything we can to scrape out some wins until Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins get back."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 6:44 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Oilers camp opens with excess defensemen

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers have too many defensemen for too few roster spots.

Heading into training camp, the Oilers are counting on competition enhancing performance with nine defensemen under NHL contract.

That doesn’t include Oscar Klefbom, the highly touted Swede the club took in the first round (No. 19) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

"There's only 23 roster spots, and after you get to the 13 forwards that you're going to carry for sure, the numbers start going the other way for the defensemen," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "There is going to be a very, real battle there, I suspect between four or five of them.

"These exhibition games, staying healthy and every second of practice are going to be important times for those men."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:13 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Oilers' Nugent-Hopkins skates, return still unclear

EDMONTON — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skated with the Edmonton Oilers in a non-contact jersey on Thursday.

Just having the third-year center on the ice was good news for the club after undergoing shoulder surgery in April.

"It feels good, it's nice to able to be on the ice skating with the guys right now," Nugent-Hopkins said after the Oilers first on-ice session of training camp. "I'm involved quite a bit, so it's good. There has been a lot of rehab and stuff, but it feels good so far."

Nugent-Hopkins is not expected to be ready by the first game of the regular season. Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said the first pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, probably would not be available until November.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 4:45 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Hall could be option at center for Oilers

EDMONTON — With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins unavailable to the Edmonton Oilers until November, the club is looking at their best player to possibly fill the void.

Heading into training camp the Oilers will experiment, moving Taylor Hall to center over from his usual left-wing position. Hall, 21, led the Oilers in scoring with 16 goals and 50 points last season.

"The Taylor Hall experiment, I don't want it to get blown out of proportion here, it's not like I'm going to ask this guy to play right defense," Oilers first-year coach Dallas Eakins said. "He's played center before, it may be an option for us. But maybe [Mark] Arcobello is going to step up and going to jump into that hole. Maybe one of the other centers is going to take a bigger role on the third or fourth line and we can bump [Boyd] Gordon up."

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery