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Updates, news, videos and more from the Oilers 2021-22 season exit interviews at Rogers Place

by Staff @EdmontonOilers / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers held their end-of-season media availabilities on Tuesday afternoon from the Hall of Fame Room at Rogers Place after being eliminated in the Western Conference Final by the Colorado Avalanche.

Oilers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Ken Holland and Head Coach Jay Woodcroft spoke to the media on Wednesday morning.

Video: THE PANEL | Season Wrap

Get all of the news, videos and commentary below.

Draisaitl on if the Oilers took a big or a small step and how far away they are from further success:

"We did take a step this season, but we also took a step in 2017 and we missed the playoffs the next season. That shows you how hard it is in this league to do it consistently year after year. It's a hard league and the playoffs are even harder and tougher. We have to make sure that we come in next season and learn from what we've accomplished this season, but come back next year and be hungry for more. We want to take that next step and get to the finals and eventually, we want to win a Stanley Cup. I think we took a step but there is definitely more."

Bouchard on his experience gained this year:

"Experience is great for me. To be part of a run like this is special and it shows you what it takes to get to this level. But it shows you that you got to put more into it to get to the final and to win it. This experience is great for me and everyone else."

Bouchard on learning from Keith over the course of the season:

"Well, it's a little different when you get someone like Duncs who has been through it all. He knows what he's doing and the style of play he wants to play. The more you listen and the more you can take in, the better it's going to make you and the pairing. The better the pairing does, it helps the team. The more you listen to him and pick his brain is going to help you out."

Video: RAW | Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard 06.07.22

Draisaitl on the team showing their toughness in the playoffs:

"I think we showed this season that there is a lot of heart in our group, a lot of no-quit mentalities. I think even in that regard there is still another step that we can take and a lot of things we can learn still and be better at when we do get to that point. I'm really proud of our team and the way we handled things this season. At times it wasn't easy or perfect, but I thought we battled all season and stuck together. At the end of the day, that's most important. We knew that we had it in the group. I'm proud of the guys and it was a good step, but we're looking to take the next one."

McLeod on how valuable this playoff experience was for him:

"I think it was huge. It was a lot of fun and a lot of good experience for us and a couple of the other young guys to get our feet wet in the playoffs. You kind of see as a group how much further we have to go to be a contender every year. It's kind of exciting with the group we have and the success we've had so far."

McLeod on the importance of experience:

"The last couple years we've had good teams and came up short in the playoffs. This is a good step forward for the group. As we said in the group, we only step forward if we continue going further in the next couple of years."

McLeod on seeing guys play injured through the playoffs:

"They're both warriors. They're both two of our best players. It's kind of crazy in playoffs. Those guys have been in the league for a while, they're still young guys. It's crazy the amount of pain and energy that they play through to help the team out. It's really motivating. You want to play well for them because you know how much they're battling and how much they want to win. We were pushing for those guys. We have a fun group and a really motivated group."

Video: RAW | Ryan McLeod 06.07.22

Hyman on the season and how close or far they are from success:

"You're obviously disappointed. Only one team leaves happy. We made it to the final four obviously, and I think given the roller-coaster nature of the season it was a little bit unorthodox. We added Kaner midway through the year, a coaching change, and we were able to kind of stick together. One thing about this group is that it didn't quit. We believed in each other and we went on a great run and faced probably the best team in the league."

Kane on the Western Conference FInal and moving forward:

"I think we obviously came a long way from where we were back in January. I think it was a great opportunity for our group to understand what it takes to get this far and what it takes to get to a cup final. When you look at the series, it was a sweep but I think in three of those games we had just as good of a chance to win those games as they did. It's unfortunate that we're not playing [Wednesday] night, but I think it's only going to drive this group to be hungrier moving forward."

Kane on his time in Edmonton and potentially re-signing with the Oilers:

"I thought it went really well, probably even better than I expected to be honest, so nothing but good things to say on that."

"There are so many different variables. We just finished the season yesterday and there is lots to sort through and figure out before I start thinking about that."

"I'll go back to when I was in a similar but very different situation a few months ago where I had the opportunity to kind of pick where I wanted to go. Edmonton was interested in me and I was interested in them. The way I looked at it is you've got two of the best players in the world on a team that wants to win now and is primed to win now."

"I think moving forward there are obviously a lot of things that factor into a decision. I've been very happy with my time here. The fans have been phenomenal, the people in the city have been phenomenal, and this has got to be the best organization I've played for. I have no complaints, and just like everybody else I'm sure, I'm just looking forward to seeing what happens."

Video: RAW | Zach Hyman, Evander Kane 06.07.22

Hyman on the impact of Kane on the team:

"He revamped the top six. He was able to play with anybody there and have success and score big goals. He leads the playoffs in scoring to date right now, and is just a huge part of our team. Just a massive addition.

Hyman on the feeling in the city of Edmonton surrounding their playoff run:

"It's awesome. Loudest rink I've played in for sure, and just an incredible fanbase that's so supportive. People here are so nice. They're just polite and so happy to have you on their team and to be fans. It's awesome and amazing to play in front of fans like that.

Hyman on how he feels today about his decision to sign with the Oilers last off-season:

"I thought I was going to be a good fit when I decided to come here, but it's been everything and more. Just honestly one of the best decisions I made in my life was to come here and play with these guys. Everybody's been so welcoming in the city. We talked about the fans a little bit and the players, and making not just me feel comfortable but my family feel comfortable. Just really happy to be here for a long time.

Hyman on his perception of how far from success the Oilers are:

"It's a tough question until you win. If you win, then people are going to say this run was the reason that they got close. If you don't win then it's all for not, so I think time will tell. But I think playing this far for a lot of us is the furthest we've gone, and getting a taste of the final four and the Western Conference Final and whatnot I think can only help. As I said, and I'm sure Connor said last night, we're not satisfied with the final four and I'm sure that's why he said it's a small step forward. It's only a step forward if we progress on it and build on it next year to give ourselves another chance at it."

Video: RAW | Mike Smith 06.07.22

Smith on what he's feeling right now following the conclusion of the season:

"Looking back on it, in the brief time I've had to decompress, it was challenging at times. Some good things obviously, but a grind of a season. It was fun to make the playoffs and go on a run like we did, but playing through injuries for the majority of the season is not easy. I don't know where I'm going to be four months from now. I got a lot of stuff to deal with."

Smith on playing every game during the post-season:

"That's why you play. To be honest, you want to be that guy. I've enjoyed the ride for sure, it's been a heck of a ride. There's been ups and downs, obviously there is every year, but it's an emotional, physical and mental grind. The letdown today is real life. You're so focused, you're trying to drown out all the excess noise and distraction to give yourself the best chance to play at a high level, and as a goalie to give your team a chance to win hockey games. When you come up short, it's very disappointing. Especially as you get older and you realize your chances are getting narrower and narrower to accomplish that ultimate goal. There's definitely an empty feeling today for sure."

Smith on the impact Woodcroft had on the season:

"I've said it all along. Woody painted a picture for our group that allowed us to really excel and play up to our potential. I thought he did an unbelievable job to give us a plan that was on the players to go execute. That's all you can ask for from a coach. He took us from being out of the playoffs to a playoff team to one of the last four teams playing in the NHL this year. He deserves a ton of credit for sure."

Smith on what it's like to play a team like Colorado with so much offence:

"Obviously they're an unbelievable team, that just come at you in waves with a lot of different players. They can burn you when you give them opportunities. They're a team that you can only fend off for so long if you give them opportunities to capitalize and burn you. They deserve a ton of credit. They've come a long way in the last four or five years. They have special talent on their team and are going to be tough for whoever they play in the finals."

McDavid on the step the Oilers took and how close or far away they are from further success:

"I haven't got much sleep, but I haven't really thought about it. I wish I could give you more of an answer to that question, but obviously, it's still really fresh and not a lot of time has gone by. Obviously it was a step in the right direction, I definitely and firmly believe that, but that's all it was."

McDavid on lessons learned from the playoffs:

"Those lessons only really matter if you put yourself back in those situations, so obviously that's our focus -- to put ourselves back in that position and use the lessons that we learned throughout our little run here and put those two to work next year."

Video: RAW | Duncan Keith, Connor McDavid 06.07.22

McDavid on the guts of his teammates playing through injury in the playoffs:

"Those two guys [Nurse & Draisaitl] especially, it was cool to see and cool to watch them go through that. It's obviously not easy, but as their teammate it was inspiring to see them go out there and perform the way they did being well less than 100 percent. It was really cool to see, and obviously in the playoffs, it takes those sorts of efforts. Those two guys in particular, and a lot of guys in our lineup, to see how they battled through those things was cool to watch."

Keith on the experience of being traded to and playing for Edmonton:

"I thought it was better than I ever could've imagined really. There were a lot of firsts for myself -- going to a new team, getting traded and living in a new city -- at the end of the day, a lot of great memories from this past season getting to play with the best player in the world Connor right here and sitting up next to him. Just to see how he goes about his business and the same with Leon as well, just to be around that makes you a better player. I think as players, you're in the NHL and want to get better, so I think as a team we pushed one another and that's what kind of makes the year special. It's not the way we wanted it to end, but as I said earlier, there was a lot of growth."

Keith on the experience of being closer to his son this season:

"He was able to experience a lot of cool moments this past year. There's too many to count. It was nice to be able to see him more, and I think all the guys, it's such a family atmosphere here in the organization where it wasn't just my son, but Smitty's, Derek Ryan's and Turris' children, so it's a pretty neat and special atmosphere I think. Especially as an older guy now having a son and having him be a part of it, they're memories they're going to take with them and it means a lot to us older guys. I bet Connor gets tired of signing autographs, but the guys are great. It was a lot of fun."

Keith on the team's core pressing through in the same vein of Chicago in past seasons:

"Absolutely there's a lot of those same characteristics. I don't think you get as good as these guys are without having heart and determination. Connor showed that the whole season, and so did Leon and all the top guys. We won the first 10 games of the season, and I don't necessarily think we were playing that great of a team game. You look at how we were winning games by the end of the season, and it was a lot of the same guys doing a lot of the damage. But it was a full-team effort by the end of the year.

Keith on the growth he saw in Bouchard this season and where his ceiling his:

"I know that when I played with him I guess it would've been halfway through the year, I immediately thought he was a smart player and was easy to play with and easy to make reads off of. I tried to get him the puck a lot to get his shot off, and I think everybody knows how hard his shot is. It's tough as a young guy. You're coming into the league and there are a lot of good players. The main thing you probably try to focus on is being good defensively, and he's already got his offensive game going pretty well. That's only going to get better as he goes along here, so nothing but great things to say about Evan and the year that he had and his future in Edmonton here with the team."

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