The Oilers unveiled some line changes at practice this morning and Head Coach Dallas Eakins explained the moves in his media availability.
Ales Hemsky skated on the left wing with Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle on the second line, while David Perron completes the third line with Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon.
“It’s been the constant battle this year with the lines whether to put Perron… because Perron is a top six guy for me, Hemmer is a top six guy and we’ve got other guys also that we could… put on Gordon’s line there,” Eakins said. “The more we talked about it over the break, we wanted to get Perron back there. I think he’s more of a better fit with those guys than Hemmer.”
With Perron on the third line, Hemsky flops sides. That’s something Eakins hopes helps Eberle and Gagner, while providing speed and defence to that line.
“The one thing we haven’t done with Hemmer this year is put him over on that left side,” Eakins explained. “He says he’s comfortable over there, he can play anywhere that we want him to. That’s been the great thing about Ales this year, he’s just done what we’ve asked of him. He’s got no problem going over there and we’ll see how it goes. It’s like always, you put your lines together and man, you get three minutes into the game and you’re already shaking them. That’s where we’ll start and we’ll see how it goes.
“What we’re looking from him is to use his speed. He’s been good for us with his habits defensively this year. We want him to continue that with Gags and Eberle but listen, it brings a little bit more speed to the line and hopefully Ales can pick up right from what he did from his last couple games of the Olympics. I didn’t see him play, but I’ve heard that he played very well.”
Click here to read more on Hemsky and todays changes.