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BLOG: Hitchcock gives thoughts on Spooner and Kassian

Coach sees improvement in Spooner and likes Kassian's dynamic on the top line

by Marc Ciampa /

Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about Ryan Spooner and his play on Wednesday in Arizona. 

"He did some things that you want to see him do. He got inside positioning on people, he fought for ice rather than looked for ice. He's starting to do some things that we want him to do and I think he's having fun doing it," Hitchcock began. 

"He was one of the better practice players today. It looks like he's making really significant headway so if that's the level he can compete at, this is going to be good news for us."

Spooner took turns rotating in on the fourth line alongside Kyle Brodziak and Ty Rattie. At practice, Hitchcock went with Tobias Rieder with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Chiasson who's set to return and Milan Lucic with Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi. 

The top line remained the same: Draisaitl, McDavid, Kassian. 

"One thing we've noticed now is McDavid and Draisaitl when we put them together, there's no odd-man rushes. Everybody plays a conservative game against them. So they're going to have to score a different way other than scoring off the rush," Hitchcock pointed out when asked about keeping Kassian on the top unit. 

"THey've got to have a player that can help them there. Whether it's Kass or Chiasson we'll see how the games go but now we've got two big bodies that can grind and help them hold onto it and that's exactly what happened in the game in Arizona."

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