15 Oilers players were on hand at Terwillegar Community Rec Centre in Edmonton today for an informal skate and there was a sense of excitement amongst the participants as training camp quickly approaches.
Part of that emotion is due to a new regime, which creates new opportunity and renewed excitement in both the young and new and older and familiar.
David Perron checks out his new Oilers jersey after being traded for in the offseason.
“It’s just going to be another positive thing whenever you have a new coach,” said Oilers winger David Perron. “I think it catches the attention of a lot of the guys that have been here for a while. It’s going to be a new challenge for them.”
The Oilers are heading into year one under new leadership from Head Coach Dallas Eakins. Although the players have yet to formally meet with Eakins, there are some in the system with experience playing against and under the new bench boss.
The reviews are solid.
Defenceman Taylor Fedun, who spent last season with the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate, the
Dallas Eakins looks on from the Toronto Marlies bench. Eakins became the 12th head coach in Edmonton Oilers history on June 10, 2013.
Oklahoma City Barons, looked back on facing Eakins when he coached the Toronto Marlies.
“We only got to play them twice,” Fedun recalled. “Once before the lockout and once was late in April. But, I honestly thought that might have been one of the highest intensity games we played all year…. How hard that team played. The level of play in that game I thought was one of the best we had all year. So, I think that’s going to be something that’s exciting for this team.”
“I can only speak for the last two years that I’ve played under him,” said Oilers free-agent pickup, Will Acton, who played for Eakins in Toronto. “He’s a great coach and a great man. I have nothing but great things to say about him.
“He just expects a lot of us. He just expects for us to be professionals and to live our lives the right way and come to the rink ready to work every day and play disciplined and that’s pretty much it.”
With roughly half of what will make up Edmonton’s roster for the 2012-13 season participating in informal skates, it shows that there is an eagerness to play under the new staff.
It’s a new regime and a new season in Edmonton and the Oilers are bursting at the seams to get it started.