It’s a new situation for those in the Edmonton Oilers locker room, preparing for their game against the Calgary Flames prospects.
Normally a team gets a few practices under their belt before seeing game action as a unit. That is not the case for the Oilers young prospects at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C.
The players will have to mesh together on the fly as they take on the Flames tonight with only a morning skate under their belt.
“I think it tests you and the amount of work you put in this summer,” said Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. “To jump right into it is probably the best way to do it. We’re all anxious to get on the ice and play games. I’m really excited to get this going.”
“There’s no worries on our end,” said centre Travis Ewanyk. “The other team is doing the exact same thing. We’ve all played in scenarios like this so it will be an easy transition.”
For Cameron Abney, a Young Stars Tournament veteran, it’s going to be interesting but not concerning.
“The last time we came to Penticton we had a few more days to get prepared but it’s going to be fun,” said Abney.
“We’re not the only team that has this problem. Every team has only, probably, been able to get on the ice once before the game so it’s going to be interesting out there.”
Despite only skating with each other as a full camp roster for the first time this morning, the excitement masks the jitters.
“I think the first day, the first practice everybody’s nervous,” said Todd Nelson, head coach of the Oilers prospects. “They’re very excited. The first drill we did, we said just go through your routes it’s not a race and they’re going 110 miles an hour. It’s human nature for the first practice.”
“I feel real good. I am really excited,” said Nurse. “I think for everyone in the room that gets the opportunity to go out here the first time or some of them who have been out here before, it’s exciting to get the season started even if it’s just rookie camp.”