| SUNDAY'S SKATE |
After enjoying a well-deserved day off Saturday, the Oilers returned to the ice Sunday morning at River Cree arena. The team skated for over an hour, and thanks to the light mood around the team, a handful of players -- including Robert Nilsson, Sam Gagner, and Ryan Potulny -- stayed on to test call-up Bryan Pitton and practice deflecting the puck into the net.
After practice, Gagner said that despite the lighthearted practice, the team is focused on translating their recent road success into a home win Tuesday night.
"To win five in a row is obviously a pretty good feeling but with the position we're in, we can't really rest on our laurels at this point," he said. "We've got to continue to push forward. The first game of the homestead is going to be a big one for us, so we're excited for the challenge and will hopefully get off to a good start."
When asked if the team's game plan will shift at Rexall Place, Gagner said that isn't the case.
"We try to bring the same type of game plan to every game and same type of intensity. I think we're just kind of in a bit of a groove there where we weren't really worried about what happened and just went out and played."
PITTON STEPS IN
Just going out and playing with the Oilers isn't something goaltender Bryan Pitton has yet experienced, but he employed the same strategy at today's practice.
On Saturday, the Oilers temporally reassigned back-up Devan Dubnyk to Springfield so he could get some playing time with the Falcons. In order to keep two goalies with the team for practices, the team thus recalled Pitton from the ECHL's Stockton Thunder.
"We just finished a game in Alaska, and we ended up beating them 6-4, and as we were celebrating in the crease there, the coach came over to me and said 'Hey Pitts, you're going to Edmonton.' So it was pretty neat," the young goalie said. "Once I got back to the room, all the guys found out and gave me hugs and congratulations."
|Oilers goaltending coach Frederic Chabot tests call-up Bryan Pitton at the tail end of practice. |
"Anytime you get called up to an NHL team, it's your dream to play here one day, so it's nice to get a little bit of action to see what it's like," Pitton continued. "I was a little afraid coming in here, a little nervous, but [the guys] were all really nice to me."
DEEP IN A DEEP FREEZE
While Pitton quickly adjusted to the NHL game Sunday morning, he also had to adjust to Edmonton's -35C temperatures. Stockton is located in central California, but his trip to Alaska with the Thunder gave him a taste of what Alberta would hold.
"It is actually a lot colder here -- I was surprised," he said with a smile. "I never knew what the winters here in Edmonton could be like, but man, I thought Alaska was cold when I got up there. I was complaining, but this is something else."
With three seasons experience with the Oilers, Gagner wasn't fazed by forecast.
"It's a little chilly, but it's something you get used to having been here for a couple of years. I guess it's hockey weather."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com