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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers vs. Rangers

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

PUCK DROP: 7:10 p.m. MDT


With the injuries to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and now Sam Gagner, the Edmonton Oilers are looking to fill holes in their roster and are evaluating players across the board.

There will continue to be shuffling to the forward lines, but one trio is sticking together for the time being.

Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was asked if he's given any thought to breaking up the top line combination of Ryan Smyth, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky. He has not.

“No, not right now,” said Eakins. “I like that line. I think it’s been our best line in training camp. You’ve got Taylor and Hemsky with great speed which covers Smitty off a little bit. I’m not sure there’s a better guy on our team on the wall than Smitty. He’s able to get pucks out. There’s maybe not a better guy on our team that’s willing to go to the net. So then Hall and Hemsky can do a lot of the cycle game knowing that we’ve got somebody there.”


Rookie defenceman Darnell Nurse has the right attitude. The seventh overall pick in this year's draft is doing his best impression of a sponge, soaking up all of the tips and strategies from the Oilers veterans that he can.

“I think that’s one of the best parts of coming to camps like this,” said Nurse. “I get to sit back and absorb as much as I can from these guys not only on the ice but in the room. I ask them questions about their game and their strategies and what they do on the ice as well as their lifestyles too.

“That’s really the biggest benefit of coming to camp. Just being able to learn and develop yourself not only as a player but also as a person.”

Veteran Andrew Ference has particularly been an influential player for Nurse and gave him this advice.

“Just go out there and play your game. I am in this situation for a reason and not change as a player, it’s just based on where I am.”


Flying under the radar in camp is defenceman Philip Larsen. The Denmark native was acquired in a trade that sent Oilers former captain Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars.

Larsen has played in three games for the Oilers this pre-season, scoring a goal and adding two assists.

Last night against the Winnipeg Jets, he had five blocked shots in a 2-1 win.

“It was a fun night,” said Larsen. “I think we played good. There’s always things you can improve on but overall, I think it was a good game and it was important that we won the game.”

Larsen is pleased with his performance so far in camp.

“I think it’s been going good so far. My legs feel good out there and even when you have a new (defensive) partner every game, I think it still feels good. Everybody is talking with guys and helping each other. So far, it’s been a fun camp.”


The Oilers placed forward Linus Omark on waivers this morning for the purpose of assignment to Oklahoma City.

“Well obviously, we didn’t see enough for him to un-seat somebody in that forward group," said Eakins. "I think he took too much on by himself. It’s clear that we want you to compete and there are all these things that go into the game. But a guy like that is going to have to put up some numbers and he wasn’t able to do it." 
-- Chris Wescott,




  4    Taylor Hall                     
14    Jordan Eberle
28    Ryan Jones                     
41    Will Acton                     
48    Ryan Hamilton                     
51    Anton Lander                     
55    Ben Eager                     
57    David Perron
62    Mark Arcobello                     
68    Tyler Pitlick
83    Ales Hemsky
94    Ryan Smyth               


  2     Jeff Petry
19     Justin Schultz  
36     Philip Larsen
74     Darnell Nurse
77     Anton Belov
81     Taylor Fedun


1     Jason LaBarbera
40    Devan Dubnyk



8 Darroll Powe  
14 Taylor Pyatt  
15 Derek Dorsett  
16 Derick Brassard  
19 Brad Richards
20 Chris Kreider  
21 Derek Stepan  
22 Brian Boyle  
24 Ryan Callahan
28 Dominic Moore  
32 Micheal Haley  
36 Mats Zuccarello  
45 Arron Asham  
61 Rick Nash  
62 Carl Hagelin  
67 Benoit Pouliot  


4 Michael Del Zotto  
5 Dan Girardi  
6 Anton Stralman  
17 John Moore  
18 Marc Staal
27 Ryan McDonagh  
44 Justin Falk  
47 Aaron Johnson  


30 Henrik Lundqvist
43 Martin Biron  

-- Chris Wescott,

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