Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Edmonton Oilers

Oilers benefiting from practice time

by Chris Wescott / Head Writer

Practice time was hard to come by in the month of February, with Edmonton mixing in a bye week during a short month that also contained mandatory off-days.

Pair those off-days with a tight schedule and the longest road trip of the season and you have a tough time fitting in some much-needed practice time. The Oilers have had two practices in a row since a 4-3 win over Detroit on Saturday.

"It sharpens us up," said Oilers centre Mark Letestu. "When you're in those runs of every second day or three in four nights, sometimes the details slip and it's not that we're not trying or not focusing on things, just sometimes the details slip and you need a refresher. These practices, we've been able to do that.

"We've gone through each zone, each special teams and it's been good to sharpen up because we know this stretch is critical and whatever comes after it's going to be important to be crisp."

There has been proof that more practice time benefits Edmonton this season.

In mid-February, Edmonton actually squeezed in the rare practices on back-to-back days. They had been struggling to find offence, scoring just three goals in their previous four games. But they came out of those practices and scored five and six in their next two contests.

"That's the most obvious example because there was so much focus on goal scoring at the time and we managed to come out and put up two games of five-plus goals," said Letestu.

Letestu says more proof can be found in their most recent win, which came after two practice days.

"I think last game, in a general sense, was our first game back after a long trip," said Letestu. "Our first game back at home hadn't been good. I thought we played a real strong game against a team that's pretty desperate for points. We want to build off that and if there's any indication these practices help us, we'll be alright."

Edmonton's next opponent is the New York Islanders, who come to Rogers Place on a two-game losing streak. They lost 5-2 in Calgary Sunday.

View More