BLOG: Oilers rest before stars arrive at Rogers Place
EDMONTON, AB – The Edmonton Oilers were scheduled to practice Wednesday afternoon until head coach Jay Woodcroft decided to pull the slide this morning to give his players a rest day before entertaining the Dallas Stars at Rogers Place on Thursday night.
The Oilers have played 18 games over the past 35 days, including a trio of road trips to the Eastern Conference. The Edmonton bench chief, after discussions with his coaching staff and leadership group, decided today would best serve as a day of rest for the road-weary squad before welcoming the leaders of the Central Division onto the home ice.
“I think it’s important to understand where we are on our schedule,” Woodcroft said in his Wednesday afternoon media availability. “I was just watching, and in the last five weeks since the All-Star hiatus, we’ve gone and come back to the East Coast three times. We played 11 games in 20 days. Coupled with talking to our coaching staff and people, we just thought it was the best decision for today.”
“We didn’t go on the ice, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get better today. We’ve taken today as a recovery day to try and replenish our energy stores so we’re ready to play a really good team tomorrow night at the Dallas Stars.”
Video: RAW | Jay Woodcroft 3/15/23
Woodcroft also addressed the status of several Oilers players, including Ryan McLeod, Philip Broberg And Zach Hyman in the availability of this afternoon. You can read the trainer’s responses below:
Coach Woodcroft continues Philip Brobergwho’s been a healthy scratch in the last four games:
“(Philip) hasn’t played the last few games, that doesn’t mean he won’t play the next few games. I think we’re early in the season and that’s what we talked about in Boston last week. Philip is going to be an important player for us this year and an important player for us as we move forward as an organization but the first and most important thing right now is that the team is getting points every night. Important, the most important thing right now is the team. It’s unfortunate that Philip didn’t make it into the final few, but again, the plan is not to leave anyone behind here. We’ll integrate people and from the lineup here as we move down the track.”
“The other thing is, with the amount of recalls allowed, it’s not like you can send people down to get a few minutes in the American League. That’s not how it works here. There are four recalls en route. We have already used two of these. So you want to make sure you keep that in mind and keep people fresh and playing games.
Woodcroft on Ryan McLeod Leaving yesterday’s game against the Senators:
“I can tell you this, it had nothing to do with concussion or anything like that. The impact wasn’t there. What I would say it was precautionary reasons that he was taken out of the game. Obviously he’s going to be seen by the doctors and all that stuff and we hope it’s a speedy recovery for him.
Woodcroft on Zach Hymanwho missed Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Ottawa:
“He’s been a bit nicked up here and we just thought it would be in his personal best interest to give him a break yesterday. He went out and skated this morning. I thought that was a good sign. He was one of the few guys who got on the ice this morning.”
Woodcroft on deployment Darnell nurse And Matthew Ekholm Together late in games:
“I think when you’re at that stage of the game you want to put people on the ice who you think can get the job done. We have a lot of people to choose from, but I think I feel good when Ekholm is there on the ice. I thought the people we had out there went out and executed in that position, that was good to see. Darnell made a great game. Evander Kane, I have nothing but respect for his habits in his game, for what he did for that goal. There’s a lot of subtlety in the way he pushed his way out of the zone and Connor made a play under. We had the right people on the ice at the right time yesterday. We were right.”