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BLOG: Nicholson comments on Oilers prospect development

"We want our younger players to develop more in the American Hockey League," said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Entertainment Group Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson was asked about the Oilers prospect development following the dismissal of Peter Chiarelli as general manager and president of hockey operations.

"We want our younger players to develop more in the American Hockey League," Nicholson said at Wednesday's press conference. "I think that we bring them up a little bit too early in hopes that they're going to be ready when they're really, really close. I think we got to leave them down there until they're over-ripe."

The Oilers announced that prospect Kailer Yamamoto was assigned to the Bakersfield Condors, along with Ryan Spooner. Nicholson alluded to Yamamoto's re-assignment.

"He's on the verge but he has to play a lot of minutes," he said. "We really believe in this player and we have to do that with more of our assets going forward."

Video: RAW | Nicholson Press Conference

The Oilers CEO and Vice Chair was also asked to comment on the philosophical approach to the team's construction going forward.

"Speed and skill is a big part of the game today but as I first go inside and look at this, the character is going to be the one thing we're going to look at," Nicholson said. "We're going to look at the character of the players inside. They have to play for each other. If they don't want to play for each other, we don't want them in the room."

Nicholson also insisted the club will not be entering a rebuild but will look to support the talent already on the team.

"I truly believe we're not into a rebuild. We have the best player in the world. We've got really good pieces; do we have to supplement that? Yes. I really believe a lot of the solution is right inside the dressing room. 

"Our fans have seen it, they just want us to be much more consistent."

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BLOG: Nicholson outlines immediate changes to Hockey Operations

Keith Gretzky takes on expanded general manager duties, with Nicholson overseeing hockey operations and Ken Hitchcock's role as head coach remaining unchanged.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Entertainment Group Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson highlighted immediate changes to the hockey operations structure of the club during Wednesday's press conference announcing the relieving of Peter Chiarelli from his duties as president of hockey operations and general manager.

"Going forward today, Keith Gretzky will take on more of the general manager's duties, and I will oversee hockey operations," Nicholson said in his opening statement. "My main task will be looking for a general manager. We are not in a rush, but as soon as we find a general manager we feel is right for the culture of the Oilers, we'll name that person. When that will be, there's no deadline on that."

Video: RAW | Nicholson Press Conference

Gretzky has been in the assistant general manager role with the Oilers since July of 2016 after spending five years with the Boston Bruins - three as an Amateur Scout and the 2015-16 season as their Director of Amateur Scouting.

"Keith is going to be the key point person, but we're going to use all of our assets before we make any type of deal," Nicholson said. "Keith will lead that in conjunction with myself, but we'll be talking to all our pro scouts and amateur people before we make any type of deal."

Nicholson added that there's no timetable for the hiring of a new general manager. 

"It's too early to define that right now," Nicholson said of when the replacement will be appointed. "We're going to really look for a person that can assess talent… and look for someone that can really help run all parts of hockey operations in a GM's role." 

An extended search for a suitable candidate gives the organization ample opportunity to find the individual best suited for the position, with emphasis placed on a candidate that's suited for the modern NHL and organizational structure of OEG.

"That's why we're not going to be in a real rush to get a general manager; we have to get the right one even if that takes us some time because we have to look at all parts of this organization," Nicholson said. "I'm going to try to open up more doors in all aspects of this organization to find out those little things that just haven't been fixed over the last number of years for us not being in the playoffs."

The role of Head Coach Ken Hitchcock remains behind the bench for the Oilers, where there will be no changes.

"Ken's will not change. We made the statement that when Hitchcock was hired that he was the head coach until the end of the year," Nicholson said. "We're not talking to Ken on any other positions until the end of the year. Ken is the head coach and any time you have a head coach, he has to be the key guy responsible for what goes on in the room day-to-day. That will continue through the rest of the year."

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MIC INJURY REPORT: Two players out

Oilers have lost 135 man games to injury or illness in 2018-19

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

As of January 23, 2019

Current man games lost due to injury: 135 games

See below for a full injury report. 

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TALKING POINTS: Nicholson Press Conference

Read the full transcript from OEG CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson speaking at today's press conference.

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

Bob Nicholson: Welcome, everyone. First of all, I'd like to say yesterday was a very tough day for the organization. I'd like to thank Peter Chiarelli for his time with the Oilers organization. It was really felt that with the way this team was trending that we had to make this change.

I want to clearly give the message - I know there are people out there that believe this team can't make the playoffs. We believe in the organization, and we believe in the dressing room that we can. I think the other key is we're not going to trade our assets away for a quick fix. We'll make some trades at the deadline if they're the right trades to get to the playoffs, but we're not giving away the future.

Going forward today, Keith Gretzky will take on more of the general manager's duties, and I will oversee hockey operations. My main task will be looking for a general manager. We are not in a rush, but as soon as we find a general manager we feel is right for the culture of the Oilers, we'll name that person. When that will be, there's no deadline on that.

Last night we made the decision with Peter Chiarelli after the second period. We'd made that decision before the game started. I thought it was necessary to do it with the team having the break. After the game, I had the opportunity to meet with the leadership group. I wish it would've been longer, but there has to be more conversations with this group because we have good leaders and we have good players on this team. I also met with the overall staff and the players. We have a lot of work to do here in the organization over this break, we have some good time to do that, and we've got to find answers on how we can make this team better to make the playoffs. But I emphasize again that we're not going to give away the future. Thank you.

Video: RAW | Nicholson Press Conference

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BLOG: News, videos from Nicholson's press conference

Get all the content from Wednesday's Oilers media availability, where OEG CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson spoke to the media

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson spoke to the media on Wednesday regarding the dismissal of Peter Chiarelli as Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.

Stay tuned for news, videos and more from Wednesday.

Video: RAW | Nicholson Press Conference

VIDEO

WRITTEN

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RELEASE: Statement from Peter Chiarelli

Former Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli delivered a statement on Wednesday.

by Press Release / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Former Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli delivered a statement on Wednesday.

"I would like to thank the Edmonton Oilers organization, owner Daryl Katz and his family, Bob Nicholson and the OEG executive group for the opportunity to be GM for the Edmonton Oilers. I wish the Oilers and the players good luck for the remainder of the season and in the future."

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RELEASE: Oilers make change to hockey operations department

The Edmonton Oilers have announced Peter Chiarelli has been relieved of his duties as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager

by Press Release / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers have announced Peter Chiarelli has been relieved of his duties as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. 

The process has begun to hire a new General Manager and in the interim, Bob Nicholson, CEO and Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), will oversee hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers. 

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GAME STORY: Red Wings 3, Oilers 2

The Oilers dropped their third-straight on Tuesday night at Rogers Place, entering the all-star break with a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Luke Glendening had a pair for the Detroit Red Wings, with Leon Draisaitl and Matt Benning adding goals in a 3-2 defeat for the Oilers at Rogers Place on Tuesday night.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs DET 01.22.19

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LIVE BLOG: Oilers vs. Red Wings

Get regular updates, highlights and more as the Oilers take on the Detroit Red Wings

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers take on the Red Wings tonight at Rogers Place.

You can watch on TV on Sportsnet ONE or listen on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

Read below for updates, highlights, tweets, commentary and more in our live in-game blog.

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FUTURE WATCH: Rodrigue named CHL Goaltender of the Week

The Oilers prospect went 2-0 with a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .963, improving to 27-6-1-0 this season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Drummondville Voltigeurs and Oilers prospect Olivier Rodrigue was named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week after posting two wins and a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .963 this week for the QMJHL club.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: The @VaughnHockey #CHL Goaltender of the Week is @EdmontonOilers prospect @orodrigue33 helping @Voltigeurs_DRU extend winning-streak to five in @QMJHL: https://t.co/n7Vge8VDAK pic.twitter.com/3LDWpOAcDh

The 18-year-old made 15 saves in a 7-1 win over the Victoriaville Tigres on Tuesday before making a further 37 on Saturday as part of 6-1 road win against the Sherbrooke Phoenix that stretched Drummondville's win streak to five and overall record to 35-9-1-0.

Rodrigue is 27-6-1-0 this season, leading the QMJHL in wins and sporting a goals-against-average of 2.44 and save percentage of .902.

From Chicoutimi, Quebec, Rodrigue is in his third season with Drummondville and was drafted in the second round by the Oilers at the 2018 NHL Draft.

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