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BLOG: Oilers hope to spark Kassian

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Oilers forward Zack Kassian has been held scoreless in five games. Following a 3-0 loss to San Jose, Kassian found himself on a line alongside two of the Oilers most skilled players at practice in Leduc.

Kassian skated with Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall as Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan shuffles the combinations to spark some offence. Sparking Kassian goes along with that.

“Kassian has to get going again,” said McLellan. “I don’t think he’s been the player he was five or six games ago and we’re giving him a real good opportunity now to capture a spot with some really good players. I’d like to see him take advantage of it. In his case, he’s got to get the forecheck going, he’s got to be the first in on pucks, he’s got to keep plays alive, he’s got to go to the blue paint. There’s a lot of things he needs to do when the play is going on to be effective and we’ve talked to him about that and he’ll be better.”

Kassian recognizes his slump and is eager to turn it around beginning Thursday in Minnesota.

“There’s no excuse. I have to be better,” he said. “I think there were a couple games on the road trip where we got wins but I didn’t play my best and when the team is winning it’s OK, it slides. Then when you lose games like yesterday and you didn’t have another good effort it’s tough. You go home and you really start thinking you want to help this team and you didn’t help the team. It’s something that is going to happen over the long duration of the season but the dips and valleys have to be short. I have to get back on the horse and start playing the right way. I’m looking to do so in Minnesota. We’re lucky as a team, we play a lot of hockey in the next month.”

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