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BLOG: New looks on the power play

by Marc Ciampa / Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are trying some new looks down the middle on their power play with Matt Hendricks setting up in front of the net on one unit and Tyler Pitlick on the other.

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about continuing to find the right mix.

“We continue to search for goals (on the power play) and we’ll keep changing it, adjusting it, hammering on it,” he began.

“Hendy (Matt Hendricks) will not leave the front of that net when the puck’s up on the point. He’s good on retrievals. He’s heavy on pucks, we’ve got to have that. What happens on your power play usually is when a guy like that goes on it, there’s usually someone with skill who moves off or moves to another unit. It’s where we’re at now. We have to have somebody in front of the net.”

The head coach added that he felt that losing Boyd Gordon's faceoff ability -- he remains out with a back injury -- puts the team in a tough position.

“When you get into these situations, boy do you miss Boyd Gordon and the value that he brings our team in the faceoff circle.”

With Pitlick in front of the net on the other unit, Eakins is taking a page out of the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.

“Pitter is going to be our bumper up there. He was doing it in Oklahoma City. We were chatting with (Barons head coach Todd Nelson) down there and he was real efficient there.”

While Pitlick has not been a centre for most of his pro career, Eakins does like his faceoff ability.

“He has centre in his background and can win face-offs as well. We’ll put him in that role on that unit.”

Pitlick played centre for a good number of shifts on Friday against Anaheim.

“I only moved him there for a shift or two and he did so well that I just let it run, I kept going with him. I thought he looked really good there. Is that a long-term approach for him? Probably not, at this level. But he was one of the guys for me last night that was going. He was playing and he was being physical. He’s in the mindset right now, whatever we ask him to do he just nods his head. You end up having a lot of time for players like that.”

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