Although the Oilers have a game tonight before they begin thinking about their pre-season game in Oklahoma City on Friday, Head Coach Dallas Eakins talked about the excitement of playing a game down in OKC.
“It’s good on a number of levels,” said Eakins. “I think first and foremost, to go down there and support the ownership group that runs that team, to have the big team come in. I think it’s good for the fanbase there that they see some NHL players and some guys that have come up through their organization and graduated to the NHL, to see how they’re doing now."
Playing in an AHL building could also be beneficial in keeping the NHL players humble.
“I think it’s a great reminder to our NHL players to not forget how hard these guys are working. The environment at the rink is certainly not like walking into a NHL rink or NHL dressing room. It’s very different. The luxuries aren’t the same. It’s a great reminder of where we’ve all come from."
Eakins is also excited to get away from the distractions of training camp and being home.
“The other thing it does is, we’ve been here right from the start of training camp. I’m a big believer in, if I had my way, we wouldn’t be here at all for training camp. We’d be somewhere very far away by ourselves. At least we’re going to get a few days away from the city just to concentrate on hockey.
“Believe me, I love my family to death and I know our guys adore theirs but we need to get away with our hockey family for a couple of days and get some things straightened away.”