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BLOG: Puljujarvi gaining Hitchcock's trust

"Someone along the line when he was at a very young age taught him proper body positioning and checking. I really trust him," said Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - It was a critical moment in Sunday's game.

Up 1-0, the Oilers were trying to preserve their lead in the dying minutes. Along with the usual suspects was Jesse Puljujarvi, tasked to hold Calgary's top line off the scoresheet.

When asked about his decision to have the 2016 fourth-overall pick out in the final minute, Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock made it apparent: he trusts his 20-year-old winger.

"I really trust him. I trust his conscience," said Hitchcock. "He's got a tremendous stick and you don't get to be as good on angles and stick positioning and being able to hide your stick like he is unless you're well coached at a young age.

"Someone along the line when he was 13, 14, 15 or 16 years old, at a very young age, taught him proper body positioning and checking."

 Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 12.10.18

With two goals on the season, Puljujarvi would likely be the first one to tell you that he can produce at a higher rate. Hitchcock - who has made it clear that he wants to be responsible for Puljujarvi's development - has seen growth in practice.

"When you see him at practice, he scores every time and you're hoping that leads into something in the NHL," explained Hitchcock. "But right now, he's a trusted player for me and we're working really hard with him on killing penalties.

"We're trying to get the swoop out of killing penalties, so if we get that then we've got a real top third-line player to start his career right now and we can build it from there."

 Video: OILERS TODAY | Inching Closer 12.10.18

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BLOG: Caggiula, Rieder close to returning from injury

The Oilers forwards will travel with the team and could potentially re-join the lineup during the upcoming two-game road trip to Colorado and Winnipeg

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Monday's skate may have been a designate practice without the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Oscar Klefbom, but forwards Tobias Rieder and Drake Caggiula were putting in the work in hopes of returning from injury during the Oilers upcoming two-game road trip.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Inching Closer 12.10.18

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock provided an injury update Monday morning, saying the pair will travel with the team after rejoining the main group for practice earlier today for the first time since their injuries.

"They were both full participants today, we'll see how they feel later, but both guys went twice today," Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said from the Oilers Hall of Fame room. "They went earlier in the day for about an hour then they came back to us for 30 minutes, so they were on for long sessions today.

"Both will make the trip and sometime hopefully on this trip they'll have a chance to play."

Video: INJURY UPDATE | Drake Caggiula 12.10.18

Caggiula picked up a hand injury in practice during the Oilers last road trip in St. Louis and missed the last three games. While the 24-year-old isn't fully recovered, returning to practice with the main group has allowed him to assess his own recovery with a feel-out process on the ice.

"I'm not 100 percent sure where I'm at, but things are progressing pretty well and I've been doing some skating on my own and today was my first skate with the guys, Caggiula said. "It's getting there. I'm not 100 percent, can't really shoot at full yet, but stickhandling is starting to come along and hopefully it's not too much longer. It's good to be back out there getting into a normal routine."

Rieder has been sidelined with an upper-body injury since November 17, missing 12 games in the process during what's been his longest stint on Injured Reserve in his NHL career.

Video: INJURY UPDATE | Tobias Rieder 12.10.18

"I've never really been injured during the season to be honest, so this is the first time for me in the NHL," Rieder said. "I had a couple injuries in the minor leagues a couple of years ago, but this has been my first longer injury in the NHL."

Returning to full strength after a month of recovery, along with adapting to a new style of play under Hitchcock, has taken some time to adjust for the German forward.

"I think a couple practices and maybe a couple of games, but a month is a long time if you're not playing in any system or against anybody," he said. "You're just out there by yourself skating. It's tough, but I think you can get back into the groove pretty quick."

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TALKING POINTS: Hitch opines on Puljujarvi, goaltending tandems and more

Following practice on Monday, Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock spoke at length with the media. Read the transcript here

by Staff /

Q: In terms of high-danger scoring chances that you're giving up, I know there are a lot of sites and people that track those. But in terms of what you see and how you track those, do you think they've come down since you took over? Are you feeling good about where they're that? 

A: The site that we use is specific. There's eight programs on it that I use. One of them is zone time and one of them is what's called "red zone scoring chances." What's dramatically down is red zone scoring chances. That's significant. That means that area from top of circle to the goal crease area has dropped dramatically. That usually means that you're not spending as much time in your own zone. Are we doing better there, what's called packing it in? Yeah, we're packing it in. We're going to have to be better at less D-zone time. We're still not where the top teams are as far as time in our zone. There's a little bit too much time but we are negating what's called red zone chances for sure. Much better than we were before. 

I don't know what was played here before, but we play a layer system. If you're going to come through us, you're going to come through us three times. That's kind of what we're trying to build here. There's a layered system of defending. Partial man-man and partial zone, too. 

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 12.10.18

Q: You had Puljujarvi out there for the last minute of the game last night. What have you seen from him and what has he done to gain that kind of trust? 

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BLOG: Practice updates 12/10

The Oilers held a designate skate Monday morning ahead of departing on a two-game road trip through Colorado and Winnipeg

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers skated Monday morning at Rogers Place after defeating their provincial rival Calgary Flames 1-0 on Sunday to extend their win streak to three games.

Tweet from @Bob_Stauffer: Oilers "Designate" practice today at Rogers Place.So big minutes guys: McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH, Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse and Russell off.Sekera, Rieder, Caggiula all on IR, all on the ice for practice

Get all of today's content below, with reaction from last night's victory.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Inching Closer 12.10.18

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MIC INJURY REPORT: Sekera, Rieder and Caggiula on the shelf

Oilers have lost 59 man games to injury or illness in 2018-19

by Staff /

As of December 9, 2018

Current man games lost due to injury: 65 games

See below for a full injury report. 

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TALKING POINTS: Hitchcock talks offence, Khaira and the Battle of Alberta

Following Saturday's designate practice, Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock spoke to the offence generated versus Minnesota, Sunday's matchup with the Flames, and Jujhar Khaira's surge on the second line

by Staff /

Q: Is it nice to have one of those (offensive explosions) after playing so many close one-goal games?

A: To be honest with you the one-goal games don't make you nervous, because you know if you're playing the right way you're going to be getting points at the end. I was a little bit nervous on the bench yesterday for the first time because you get a lead and you're hopeful that you can continue to play the right way and not get too loose and let them come back, so it was the first time I've been a little bit nervous wondering how we were going to respond.

What I said to [the media] last night is that I was very impressed with the way we played in the third period because we did a lot of the stuff where you have to play for each other. We stacked pretty well in the red zone and near our net, and they never got any quality chances because of that. Then we transitioned into offence and got goals because of it. The third period to me is a good sign that when we get a lead we're not going to go play loose. So that's a good stepping stone for me.

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 12.08.18

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BLOG: Practice updates 12/8

The Oilers held a designate practice Saturday morning ahead of tomorrow night's Battle of Alberta

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers held a designate practice Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday's Battle of Alberta after a 7-2 dismantling of the Minnesota Wild at Rogers Place on Friday night.

Forwards Drake Caggiula and Tobias Rieder skated on their own prior to the main group as they continue their injury rehab.

Get all of today's content below.

Video: PRACTICE | Buying In 12.08.18

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BLOG: Hitchcock reveals Caggiula day-to-day with hand injury

The left-winger sustained the injury in a drill during practice before the Oilers faced St. Louis on their previous road trip.

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock shed light on the injury situation of forward Drake Caggiula on Friday before the Oilers matchup with the Minnesota Wild after the 24-year-old was placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday.

"He got hurt at practice and is day-to-day," Hitchcock said. "All we're waiting for is the swelling to go down and then we're good to go, so he might [miss] a couple games here then be ready to go."

Tweet from @EdmontonOilers: The #Oilers recalled Cooper Marody from the @Condors & activated Valentin Zykov today while placing Drake Caggiula on IR & assigning Patrick Russell.

The left-winger from Pickering, Ontario, who's recorded seven goals and three assists in 23 games this season, sustained the injury in a drill during practice before the Oilers faced St. Louis on their previous road trip.

"It was during actually a fun exercise at the end of practice," added Hitchcock.

The Oilers compensated for Caggiula's injury with the recall of forward Cooper Marody from the Bakersfield Condors and the activation of Valentin Zykov off non-roster after immigration issues kept him out of the lineup during their last road trip.

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RELEASE: Oilers recall Marody from Bakersfield

Oilers recall Cooper Marody; place Drake Caggiula on Injured Reserve and activate Valentin Zykov

by Press Release /

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers have recalled forward Cooper Marody from the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.

Marody, 21, has played six games with the Oilers this season, including his first career NHL game on October 23 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 6'0", 184-pound forward has appeared in 11 games with Bakersfield this season, posting 14 points (4G, 10A) and six penalty minutes. Marody has notched 17 points (5G, 12A) in 14 career AHL games.   

The Oilers have also placed forward Drake Caggiula on injured reserve and have activated forward Valentin Zykov off non-roster.

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BLOG: Edmonton, Red Deer to host 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), has awarded the 45th edition of the international tournament to the cities of Edmonton and Red Deer

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse, Jesse Puljujarvi, Oscar Klefbom.

There's no shortage of Oilers who have competed at the IIHF World Junior Championship before becoming full-time National Hockey Leaguers.

Oil Country will get another opportunity to see the Oilers of tomorrow play when the annual event comes to Edmonton and Red Deer in 2021, which was announced on Thursday.

"To return to Alberta is an incredible opportunity for Hockey Canada and the IIHF World Junior Championship," said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada in a press release. 

"The province of Alberta and the cities of Edmonton and Red Deer have a history of hosting successful, world-class events, including the 1995 IIHF World Junior Championship in Red Deer, the 2012 edition of the tournament in Edmonton and the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer."

Edmonton and Calgary shared hosting duties in 2012, while Red Deer last held the international ice hockey tournament in their city in 1995. This will mark the 12th time in the circuit's 41-year history that Hockey Canada has hosted the perennial event.

"Oilers Entertainment Group is thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with Hockey Canada, this time to help bring the IIHF World Junior Championship to Edmonton and Red Deer," said Bob Nicholson, Oilers Entertainment Group CEO & vice chair. 

"We are continuing to build Edmonton's international reputation as a destination for hockey and we know the hockey fans in our community will be excited to cheer on Team Canada on home ice."

Added Red Deer Rebels Owner, General Manager and Head Coach Brent Sutter: "On behalf of the Rebels organization, the City of Red Deer, our partners at Westerner Park and all junior hockey fans across Central Alberta, we are beyond excited to bring the IIHF World Junior Championship back to our community. 

"This marquee event was a game-changer for the region in 1995, and we're sure fans from around the world will be embraced once again."

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