The Edmonton Oilers decided to try something different this morning. Following their 5-3 win over Tampa Bay last night, Head Coach Dallas Eakins told the media that the team would practice at 8 a.m. today, which they did.
"It's a little early," said Taylor Hall. "For a guy like myself, I haven't put on the shin pads that early since minor hockey, but it was a good practice. I think everyone was upbeat and it's going to be nice getting home pretty early today."
The team appeared to have some jump this morning, despite the earlier start to practice. They went for about 50 minutes today. Eakins weighed in on practice and what made his decision to change times.
"Man, I thought they were good," said the coach. "Boy, they were sharp and we were moving the puck and had some jump in our step. I actually quite liked it from a practice standpoint and a work ethic standpoint. The whole thought process is a bunch of different things. I'm an early riser. I pull out of my driveway very early and I see my neighbours and people along the road and as you're going, you're thinking and finding inspiration.
"It's like… I wonder if that guy likes his job? It's six-o-clock and he's heading out, or that lady, and you hope that they do like it. Then you find yourself, I'm going to work. I'm not sure I'm going to work. I absolutely love coming to the rink every day and then you think about the players and what a privilege it is to play in the league. With us coming off of Christmas and New Years, the great people in this city and fans are all getting back to work. This is kind of the week which, if you've had your holidays, you're back into the grind and I just thought that this would be a good week for us to… Holidays are over, let's move practice up. Let's be like everybody else in this city and get up and go to work early.
"I say go to work early, but these guys play. We play a game for a living and I get to coach for a living. I just thought we'd change it up for the week and have a few early practices to be more like the fans and the people of this city who get up and go at it and grind it out every day."