Two pre-season games down, six to go.
With exciting performances in each city, Edmonton swept the Calgary split-squad games with a 4-2 win on home turf and a 3-1 win in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Each game showed team strengths and weaknesses.
Taylor Hall, who stayed and played in Edmonton Monday night, finally had a chance to play with his teammates at a higher calibre of play and with a new coach behind the bench.
Leon Draisaitl, who scored the game equalizer at Rexall Place, pulling the Oilers out of their losing funk and setting them on the path to their 4-2 victory, was one player in particular that stood out.
“Last year you saw him use his body and really drag guys with him and you saw signs of that, but I think this year he’s starting to really learn how to do that full time and he’s got such a big frame, he can really skate well once he gets going,” said Hall.
“He’s a guy that seems a little bit more mature this time around and if he keeps playing well he’s going to be in a good spot. He’s another great kid that we have in our organization that we expect a lot from.”
Having already experienced Coach Todd McLellan’s coaching style at the Men’s World Hockey Championships, Hall said that players — and even fans — won’t be left in the dark regarding team work-ethic expectations.
“There’s a lot of transparency with how practices have to be with what he expects from certain individuals,” said Hall.
“I can’t speak for everyone in the room but it seems like he’s gotten face time with a lot of guys on the team and, like I said before camp, from what I witnessed at the Worlds, he’s going to be very vocal on the bench and you’re going to know where you stand.”