After defeating the Canucks 4-1 in the Young Stars Rookie Tournament opener Sunday evening, the Oilers enjoyed a leisurely morning before hitting the ice at noon for practice at South Okanagan Events Center in Penticton, BC.
Before the full team took to the ice, Jeff Petry got some one-on-one instruction from Oklahoma City Barons Assistant Coach Gerry Fleming. Petry suffered a right shoulder injury day two of Oilers Rookie Camp and Monday marked his first day back on the ice.
"The skate was good. I didn't know what to expect shooting the puck but it was pain-free every shot, so that was something that was good to feel," he explained.
Although Petry admitted the skate went well, he gave no indication of when he'd return to the rookie line-up.
"Every day off is going to help. I'm just going to go and get some treatment and see what they say."
Spirits were high at the team practice following Petry's skate, thanks in large part to the team's confident victory over the Canucks.
Magnus Paajarvi led the team offensively with two goals in the game, while Olivier Roy was solid between the pipes, stopping 28 shots for the win.
GM Steve Tambellini had nothing but good things to say about Roy's performance.
"He was impressive last night. I can think of two or three times where really, if you didn't stay with it it was a pretty easy goal, but he stuck with it," Tambellini said. "He's showing he has some compete and good hockey sense."
Tambellini admitted it can be difficult for the young players to find their game early in September, but the tournament style of this year's rookie camp is beneficial.
"You come in as a young guy and you want to make sure people notice you and you want to make sure that you're ready to compete against not only your peer group but people that have NHL job," he explained. "It's a chance to get a feel of the pace, it's a chance to get a feel of what it's like to play against another organization in the National Hockey League, not just the training camp-type scenario, so it's step one. But there's a long ways to go."
In the first edition of our fan question series, Dianne Brett of Coaldale submitted a question for Brandon Davidson.
DIANNE: "What is the most difficult challenge you've faced in your journey to achieve your dream of playing in the NHL?"
BRANDON: "Just getting the opportunity to play at the higher level. Growing up, I never really had the chances to kind of showcase my talents and stuff, and once I was able to get that chance, I kind of broke out and people got to see me, the kind of person I am. And it's turned out really good so far, So I'll keep on going on that journey, I guess.
"It was definitely a battle -- it wasn't easy. I don't have a lot of money like some people do and I don't come from a rich background, but it was kind of 'do as you can with the time and the opportunity you're given' and I made the most of it so far and I'm going to continue on that way."
Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers Rookies. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer & Tom Gazzola
OILERS vs. CANUCKS:
AT THE MORNING SKATE
After reporting to Rexall Place on Friday morning for fitness and medical testing and taking part in a team practice on Saturday afternoon in Kelowna, anticipation for the tournament is high for the Oilers Rookies:
With a late afternoon game to start off the Young Stars Rookie Tournament, the Oilers opted out of a morning skate for game-day players and instead practiced eight players who won't be in the line-up vs. the Canucks.
The players who skated and thus won't play in the tournament opener were Jordan Bendfeld, James Livingston, Drew Czerwonka, Dominik Schlumpf, Chase Schaber, Dallas Ehrhardt, and Mike Thomas.
Goalies Bryan Pitton and Tyler Bunz also participated in the practice but there is no word on who will back-up Olivier Roy, who was confirmed as the Oilers starter.
The skate did not progress perfectly. Midway through practice, Ehrhardt slid into the back boards, collapsed to the ice, and immediately yelled out in pain. The young defenceman favoured his right knee and grimaced during an on-ice assessment by team trainers and while being helped off the ice.
Oilers Head Coach Tom Renney had no update on the injury when he addressed the media after practice.
PUMPED FOR PUCK DROP
While many fans will be focusing on the performances of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi, the rest of the Oilers rookies are equally excited to show what they can do.
As the man between the pipes, Roy is eager to make a great impression.
"I just have one game tonight and I just try to focus on that game, not to look too far," he said. "I just want to have a good game tonight and see what happens after."
Like many of his teammates, Roy is a fan of this year's Rookie Camp format, which includes the Young Stars tournament.
"I think it's going to be very exciting," he said. "Last year we just played against the University, they were pretty good, but I look forward to playing against other guys in the same situation as us tonight so I think it's going to be an exciting game."
The man behind the Oilers bench tonight will be Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson. Although Nelson admits he's still learning the ins and outs of his rookie squad, he is excited to see how they perform and wants to come out with a win.
|Todd Nelson |
"I think the biggest thing from our coaching staff and management is just to take a look at the players and how they do in the competitive environment playing against other good prospects," he explained. "The kids are very excited and so are we. There's going to be some nerves today but it's going to be a pretty fun time tonight."
OILERS 4 - CANUCKS 1
Although the Canucks held a shot lead throughout the game, strong goaltending from Olivier Roy and solid shots by Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle pushed the Oilers to a 4-1 win in the opening game of the Young Stars Rookie Tournament in Penticton, BC.
Paajarvi finished with two goals, Eberle with one thanks to a sweet set-up from Taylor Hall, and Roy had 28 saves in the victory.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Tom Gazzola
TEAM TAKES TO THE ICE
After a short flight from Edmonton to the Okanagan Valley, the Oilers began their second day of Rookie Camp by setting up shop at Prospera Place in Kelowna, BC.
Led by Oilers assistant coaches Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith, as well as the Oklahoma City Barons coaching staff, including Head Coach Todd Nelson, the players were introduced to a few team drills and systems during a lengthy practice.
For the practice, coaches paired up first round picks and World Juniors teammates Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall with center Milan Kytnar.
On the second line, Magnus Paajarvi played with Tyler Pitlick and Philippe Cornet, while Teemu Hartikainen, Ryan Martindale, and Cameron Abney formed another set of forwards.
Curtis Hamilton, Chris Vande Velde, and James Livingston skated together, as did Drew Czerwonka, Kristians Pelss, and Mike Thomas.
FEEL THE LOVE
While many of the rookies were playing together for the first time, Hall and Eberle share a strong history, friendship, and admiration for eachother's skills.
"It's really nice to get out and play with a player like Jordan -- he's not hard to play with at all," Hall said of his linemate. "He's very easy to read and makes great passes and great plays. If we could play together throughout this tournament, I think it would be great for us and more so for me."
Though Kytnar entered the mix only today, he was quick to compliment the high-profile duo.
"They're both really good players," Kytnar said. "They're guys that are young, good potential, have great hands, great skaters, and it's a real pleasure for me to play with them and I think we could be a good line."
FIRST TEST TOMORROW
The first test for the top line, as well as the Oilers rookie squad as a whole, comes Sunday afternoon. The Oilers face the Canucks rookies in the opening game of the Young Stars Tournament, and all players are eager for puck drop.
|Taylor Hall takes a spin around the ice during Day 2 of Oilers Rookie Camp at Prospera Place in Kelowna, B.C. |
"After I signed, I've just been waiting for this day to come, now I'm just all excited to get going. I just want to get out there and play," Paajarvi said.
"It's a very exciting time -- this is what I've been waiting for all summer," Hall echoed. "I haven't played an organized game in I don't know how long, since the Memorial Cup, so there's always a sense of excitement.
"I think I've taken the right amount of time off that I have that hunger and the passion for the game and I feel very ready for this season and I feel very excited for it."
With two rookie camps on his resume, Eberle says that the tournament format -- in which rookie squads from various teams test their skills against eachother -- is his favourite way to start the season.
"When we were in Camrose we played in a same kind of situation, played Calgary and Vancouver, and it just makes the games a lot more fun and it really brings the best out of guys," he explained.
"When you're playing against each other in intrasquad games, obviously guys are competing but you don't want to kill each other and your teammates, you're going to have to see each other after the game. When it comes to this, you can battle, and not only that but everyone wants to win, and that's the key thing."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Tom Gazzola