After coming away with a thrilling victory in the shootout one night ago, the Oilers were back at Rexall Place for a brief morning session in preparation for Sunday night’s battle with the division rival Vancouver Canucks.
With the team now back in the win column following a shootout setback Tuesday night against the Ducks, the players were all smiles as the gratification of a five-game point streak is enhancing the atmosphere. AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
A spectacular move in the shootout by recent call-up Linus Omark
is still the talk of the town, with teammates still aglow from his incredible showcase of creativity.
"I thought it was great," said Dustin Penner. "It reminded me of Kenny Powers. You just have to embrace that. I know they're upset in the other room, but I also remember Marty St. Louis skating backwards in on Marc-Andre Fleury. I enjoyed it." Taylor Hall
, who also possesses a clever repertoire of shootout moves, agreed and says the goal was great for everyone.
"It's exciting to watch him play. I was chuckling when they put him out there because I knew something was going to happen. Sure enough, he did the spin-o-rama," said the dynamic forward. "It’s great for our team and for our city."
Rugged defenceman Theo Peckham
also commented, sarcastically adding that the spotlight was taken away from him – who, according to the blueliner, was next up in the shootout order.
"Yeah, the 360 is straight out of my playbook. I've done so many shootouts in my past before, so I just gave him a couple pointers."
On a more serious note, he admired the skill, creativity and poise from the rookie forward.
"For him to get put out there with the game on the line and pull something that and score, it's awesome. It shows a lot about his character. He's a big-time player and he showed up for us when we needed him," Peckham added.
|Head Coach Tom Renney |
Head Coach Tom Renney, who was in staunch support of Omark’s ingenuity a night ago, was more reserved in his comments today regarding the move and ensuing goal.
"You want him to play his game and that's a part of the game. I can't restrict him from being creative," said the bench boss. "Just respect the league, respect your opponent, do what you do best, and beyond that, deal with it appropriately."
Although the coach was somewhat hesitant to expand further on the league-wide reaction, Renney was quick to back the talent of the highly-skilled Swede.
"On the powerplay coming off the half wall, a cute little move there, and then a little deception that got him the opportunity to pop that puck off the pad, and there's a rebound for Gibby (Tom Gilbert)," said Renney. "It shows you that he's got the vision and the cojones to do something like that."
"He's not afraid of anything. He'll reverse pinch on a puck coming out, he'll take a hit to make a play -- he's all those things. It was a good first game."
The man himself, Linus Omark
, was quiet about his debut and says that the nerves of his first NHL game are nice to have out of the way.
"I was pretty nervous yesterday, so I hope tomorrow is going to be a good game for me -- and for the team."
"It was a fun night last night," he added. PECKHAM STANDS UP Theo Peckham
entered the season as a bit of an unknown commodity, but has risen to the challenge in a big way through the season’s first third.
The unflappable, hard-hitting blueliner has quietly developed into one of the team’s most dependable defensive players; a strong commitment to physical play and a personality that rises to any challenge has only helped to further his admiration from the coaching staff.
"Anybody that plays the way I do has to take a lot of pride and has to enjoy it," Peckham said. "It's definitely been a new challenge, and I've appreciated it. The coaches have shown a lot of faith in me, putting me up against the other teams' best players."
"It's just something I'm trying to work at, shutting them down night-in and night-out."
Head Coach Tom Renney expanded on that with his thoughts on the emergence of the up-and-coming blueliner.
"The beauty [of Peckham] is that he can play. He's getting it, and there's not a whole lot of restriction there except for experience." GOOD VIBES
With the team currently riding a six-game point streak, recording a 5-0-1 record in that span, the atmosphere around the rink has provided this young club with greater flexibility to grow and come together as a group. Dustin Penner believes that the positive atmosphere has helped to enhance any recent expectations from the learning Oilers.
|Dustin Penner |
"It's a great room. Any room is great when you're winning. We're looking forward to the Canucks tomorrow night. They had a pretty emotional win, come-from-behind against the Ducks the other night so I'm sure they'll be jacked up." Theo Peckham
"I think we're hungry for more. It's been a great little stretch here, but you're only as good as your last game. As far as now goes, we're looking forward to tomorrow and Vancouver, coming out with the same performance against them and coming out for a big two points." SPEAKING OF THE CANUCKS
With the fans and media still basking in the glory of a thrilling victory and a tremendous output of success over the past week, the team has already shifted focus to what will most certainly be a difficult test tomorrow against the Northwest Division leading Canucks.
"A team like that, you can't pay attention to their record," Theo Peckham
said. "They've got some great players. Much like ourselves; don't look at our record. We're playing well right now and we want to take that into tomorrow's game, and from the drop of the puck, take it to them." Taylor Hall
agreed and further commented on the positives to take from the team’s most recent game against Vancouver.
"They're a good team, but at the same time, we played them in our building once this year and we gave them a good go."
"They have a lot of depth at forward and defence, and obviously their goaltending is very good. It's going to take a very good game from us, but with the way that we've been playing -- and we have some confidence now -- if we play our game we should be good."
Head Coach Tom Renney wants his group to be prepared from the drop of the puck, as the dynamic Canucks offence can attack in an instant.
"We have to really come out hard and go after them, and really make it tough for them to find their legs. Their specialty teams are very good, so ours have to match that at the very least," said Renney. "Be poised, be confident, and have composure."
A limited number of singles and standing room tickets are still available for tomorrow night's game. Don't miss your chance to watch these two division rivals go head-to-head! Click to purchase tickets