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BLOG: Persson's learning curve

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett shared his take on defenceman Joel Persson's learning curve thus far in the NHL

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Defenceman Joel Persson logged 10:08 of ice time over 11 shifts Monday when the Oilers hosted the Arizona Coyotes but didn't see the ice after Carl Soderberg's second-period strike that made it a 2-1 score.

On the play, Persson's pass from the point that was blocked by the Coyotes forward, causing a turnover that ended up in the back of the Oilers net. 

These things happen to first-year National Hockey Leaguers, and Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett commented on Persson's progress following Tuesday's skate.

Video: RAW | Dave Tippett 11.05.19

"He's in a learning curve still," the Oilers coach began. "He's never played at any level like this where all of a sudden, two things: the game is hard and fast, and the meaning of every game is amped up a long way from where he's used to.

"There's playing hockey and there's playing hockey for keeps. Sometimes when you're playing for keeps, it gets really hard. Those are things that, especially for defencemen, but a defenceman that hasn't played at this level before, he's learning."

It's a situation experienced by almost every player in the League. Oscar Klefbom confirmed as much.

"I've been in his situation, too," Klefbom said. "It's not easy to come over here the first year when it's not your night. It's the strength to come back from games like that and try to shake it off. Games like that are going to happen for all of us."

Video: RAW | Oscar Klefbom 11.5.19

The best way to break out of the funk, Klefbom believes, is by simplifying things.

"If you come out and do a bad pass, or have a couple of bad shifts, it almost becomes a bad circle and you start to think about it too much," he said. 

"Especially in the beginning of your career, you can overthink stuff. Just keep it simple. It's actually good to simplify things. But Joel is a smart man. He's a good guy and he's a professional. He's going to take care of this for sure."

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