Sure, vacation is nice and getting away from the cold rinks and daily grind is fun for a while. But now is about the time NHL players start to get the itch to return to action. The Oilers are no exception to that, as several players took part in the Oil Country Championship Celebrity Pro-Am on Monday and were brimming with excitement for the new season.
“In the summer, as soon as the Draft comes and free agency comes, right around that time you start getting excited about your team and start getting ready for camp,” said Jordan Eberle. “We’ve been off for a long time already. It’s hard to believe we still have two months until camp. I like what we’ve done. I think we’re going to be a bigger team this year, and we’re going to be hard to play against.”
The Oilers have made several big moves, including shaking up their forward group by trading Taylor Hall to New Jersey and adding Milan Lucic in free agency, while picking up Jesse Puljujarvi in the Draft. With a few new faces, and some returning players who joined the team midway through the 2015-16 season, there is much excitement to see how everyone meshes together.
“It’s exciting. We’re looking like a team,” said forward Zack Kassian. “We have a mixture of players and personalities and in order to win in this league you need that. You need different personalities, you need different types of players. The acquisitions we’ve made I think show that. We’re really looking to gel as a team, first and foremost. All the good teams seem to stick together and get along well off the ice, and I think we have the fit for that now. I think we’re looking forward to get going here. Everyone I’ve talked to is very excited and can’t wait to get going.”
A new season with new faces in a brand-new arena has Edmonton buzzing, and the Oilers chomping at the bit to return.
“I’m excited. I think our whole team is excited,” said Matt Hendricks. “We want to turn this thing around. There’s been some moves, some big moves. We take a lot of value in that, but let’s be honest – there’s a lot of hype around here with the new arena opening, and that’s exciting. We can see Connor (McDavid) in his second year, and that’s exciting. We’re going to continue to improve, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”