BLOG: Shore a valued piece and presence in the Oilers locker room
BOSTON. MA – Forward about a mile down Commonwealth Avenue from Agganis Arena, home of the Boston University Terriers where the Edmonton Oilers practiced on Wednesday Devin shore played some of his best hockey games of all time under the Green Monster in conditions that were absurd for a hockey game.
When he was playing for the University of Maine as the Dallas Stars’ second-round pick in 2012 nine years ago, Shore was part of a Black Bears team that took to the field at Fenway Park as rain poured across the surface of the 2014 Frozen Fenway series in Boston for her meeting with Boston University.
“We played against BU and made a big win, but that was a crazy game,” he said. “The week before Boston College, Providence and Notre Dame all played and it was perfect outdoor hockey weather. And then a week later we played and it was like six degrees Celsius.
“There was a rain delay and it started thundering. There was a half-hour rain delay in the middle of the hockey game.”
Ajax, ON didn’t want to let literal rain ruin such a monumental day for him and his Black Bears teammates. Shore scored twice and added an assist in a 7-3 win over the Terriers in his sophomore season, extending his scoring streak to 11 games that included 11 goals and 10 assists.
“I’m not sure a lot of people can say they played with the rain delay at the hockey game, so that’s cool,” Shore said.
Also, not many people can say that they owned a 4.0 GPA as a business major in their freshman year to earn Hockey East’s Top Scholar-Athlete award while leading their team in scoring as a rookie and served as one of only five freshmen in the conference to play in all 38 games.
Returning to Boston University for practice Wednesday brought back many college memories for the now 28-year-old forward, who is stuck in the middle of a strong run of games for the Oilers since the NHL Trade Deadline with two assists in his last three games.
“I’m just trying to play the same game,” he said after the skate. “Just light shoulders, deep breaths and just some kind of relaxation out there but still playing with intensity. I’m just trying to get into the rhythm a little bit more. It just so happens that pucks start going in, which always helps, but I’m just trying to stick to the same simple things that make you successful and do my best.”
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Shore has had to navigate the ups and downs of the NHL this season after being placed on waivers twice, sent to the Bakersfield Condors and called back to Edmonton six times, completing a condition loan and being used as an 911 callout once since Oct. 9, 2022 — three days before the start of the season.
But through it all, Shore has been an important part of the Oilers’ locker room culture, navigating the ebb and flow of business with professional understanding and a smile on his face.
Beyond the trading deadline, head coach Jay Woodcroft has seen some strong contributions from Shore, dating back to his return from a Bakersfield stint with the Condors when he was back in the Oilers lineup for the first time in 49 days after the Colorado Avalanche.
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“He’d gone into the American League and got his engine running again and played a lot of minutes,” Woodcroft said. “And I think it’s important that he contributes the way he does.
“And you know what? I think this time of year you need a lot of posts in your lineup. We’ve talked about it as staff – this is the little time of the year and we’re going to need it. We believe deeply in the people in our dressing room.
In another recent show of humility, Shore chose to pass the number 14 on to a new acquisition Matthew Ekholmwho received only a small but powerful dose of his importance to the group.
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“He is amazing. So chatty and so nice,” said Ekholm. “To be honest, it was just a fluke the way it went. It wasn’t like I had to be 14. A lot went through my mind as I was traded and all and they kind of made it happen. So of course I’m very grateful for that.”
“It was just a number,” Shore said humbly. “I like 14 a lot but Mattias has played around 700 games in this league. He’s been a great pro for a long time and a great veteran so I’m happy to hand him over.”