Oilers forward Jordan Eberle has sat out the last two practices and it's no secret that he is a major part of what the team is trying to accomplish. This makes it difficult to practice the way you want to, when missing a key component. But getting Eberle 100% healthy is more important than practice which is why he's taken a couple of 'maintenance days'.
"You can argue he's been our best forward and a big part of our team. ," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "Just running practice without him isn't for the feint hearted. We'll cross our fingers that he's good for tomorrow but we've got to be careful with that too. We don't want to rush him and make it turn into something bigger."
It doesn't seem like Eberle's ailment will be something to keep him out for very long, the team is just taking precautions with one of their best players.
"It's one of those nagging ones. Even before I knew how he was yesterday, I let our medical staff know that I didn't want him to skate. I don't think it's necessary. He's a fairly fit kid and he's played lots of minutes for us.It's not like practicing is going to help him be better right now. I wanted him to stay off the ice. I knew it was going to screw up my practice a little bit but I was OK with that."
The Oilers set out to spend significant time focusing on their power play this morning but with Eberle and Ryan Smyth both sitting out, it was difficult to go through special teams without their full units. However, Eakins says they accomplished what they wanted to.
"I thought we got enough work done on the power play. We've got enough guys that can fill the holes. It's not like we're looking for skilled plays now. We're looking to bomb pucks from the point."