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BLOG: Big bodies, bigger presence

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Size may not matter off the ice, but in the case of Oilers forward Patrick Maroon, it’s made a world of a difference for the team on it.

In just three games with Edmonton, the big forward has recorded two goals and added two assists for four points.

“I just try to come in here and make an impression right away and I didn’t expect to come out and score goals and be getting points right away but it’s going good right now so I’m not complaining,” he said.

“I’ve just got to continue what I’ve been doing to be getting those things and my linemates obviously have a big part in that. I’m playing with two really good linemates so I give them credit too for my good start. I can clean up some areas, I can be better in certain areas too.”

The Oilers acquired Maroon from the Anaheim Ducks, just before the end of the NHL Trade Deadline, announcing they had traded prospect Martin Gernat and a 2016 fourth-round pick to obtain the 6-foot-3 forward.

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said the team was already taking steps toward making changes on the ice, with the recent additions amplifying the team’s suddenly assertive transformation.

“I think prior to the deadline we made a commitment, maybe through osmosis there, to play harder and to compete harder. We weren’t happy finishing that homestand,” he said.

“We talked about becoming a scrappier team and leaving it on the ice and not being overly concerned about the result. I think that started in Anaheim, that started in LA — two real tough places to play — and then the trade deadline augmented it with adding some size and some strength and with that comes confidence.”

The addition of Maroon, as well as forward Adam Cracknell and defenceman Adam Pardy who were claimed off waivers on Trade Deadline Day, has made quite the impact on the Oilers lines, which McLellan said he isn’t surprised about.

“I saw Patrick play against us in San Jose numerous times and most of those nights he played with [Corey Perry] and [Ryan Getzlaf] and was effective like he is right now with [Taylor Hall] and [Leon Draisaitl],” said McLellan.

Maroon’s hulking size has proved effective against the opposition and both in and around the blue paint. His, Cracknell and Pardy’s addition to the lineup has seen the Oilers produce a grittier and more aggressive style of play overall.

“We have 15 games left, we’re going to have some ups and downs,” said McLellan. “If we can keep this attitude that we have right now, and that relentlessness and tenacity in our game we have a chance to evolve over the last month of the season and carry that into the summer so we have a little momentum going into training camp next year.”

After all, as Mark Twain once mused, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

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