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BLOG: Russell sees European pre-season as extra boost to team chemistry

A chance to bond during pre-season in Europe can pay off with great effect this season for the Oilers, says Oilers defenceman Kris Russell

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - A trip to Cologne and Gothenburg in October as part of the NHL Global Series will serve as more than just the start to the 2018-19 season for the Oilers.

Video: 1-ON-1 | Kris Russell

A chance to eat, room, and share company together during their European pre-season is a bonding opportunity that can pay off with great effect over the course of a long NHL season.

"I've had the opportunity to do it before [with Columbus in 2010]," defenceman Kris Russell said before taking to the ice as a special guest at Oilers Hockey School in St. Albert on Tuesday. "I think it's good for our team to go and be with each other for a few weeks to get closer and start things off right."

The Oilers finish training camp in Germany with a pre-season game against Leon Draisaitl's hometown team the Cologne Sharks at Lanxess Arena on Oct. 3 before flying to Gothenburg, Sweden to open their NHL season on Oct. 6 against the New Jersey Devils.

"I think it will benefit our team, and obviously we're excited to play in Leon's town there and get started against New Jersey," Russell added. "We're not going back home to families, we'll be together right off the plane staying in hotels and eating together every meal.

"Especially at the start of the season it forces us to be together and bond with new teammates. Obviously there will be some new guys added to the mix so you'll get to know them a bit quicker and easier, so hopefully that translates to performance."

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