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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Draisaitl responds to the Sekera injury

MAOR Oilers offseason interviews! And this time, it was Leon Draisaitl’s turn to talk Oilers.

In the dog-days of summer, I crave Oilers player interviews. If I could, I would have flown out to Germany myself to get a Leon interview but unfortunately I’ve spent all my summer money at the Costco food court. Lucky for me I don’t have to fly anywhere, cause the interviews keep rolling in!

Leon Draisiatl spoke to the media during the NHL European Player Media Tour this past week and dropped some details about his summer and what he’s looking forward to next year. What was really on everyone’s minds though was the injury of Andrej Sekera. If you’ve been under a rock all week, Sekera tore his Achilles tendon during some off-season training and went through some successful surgery to fix it all up. He’ll be out for at least six months which I think is a pretty optimistic timeline.

It’s obviously disappointing for the team, but even more so, I’m disappointed for him. You really feel bad for the guy. He’s coming off an injury and he trained so hard all summer to come back, to get back to the form he had, the type of player he was, the shape he was in. And now he’s injured again and he’s going to be out for a while. We’re going to miss him a lot.

I’m sure the rest of the players and coaching staff feel the same way as Draisaitl. Not only will we not see him on our TV for most of the season, but the players will likely see him much less around the rink as well. It’s very easy to sympathize for Sekera as well because he’s worked so hard to bounce back from serious injuries in the last couple years. Leon Draisaitl and the rest of the team have witnessed this first hand, so it can’t be easy to see this happen to one of your teammates.

Like it or not, the team will have to put this in the past and focus on the season ahead. Peter Chiarelli will focus on replacing Sekera on the team, but Drai and the rest of the team need to focus on their game and the season at hand.

We, as players, need to take ownership and be the best team we can be. I think that last year we weren’t the team that we are, or that we want to be. Seasons like that happen, but we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I’ve done off-season interview recaps on Russell, McDavid, Talbot, and Puljujarvi, and ALL of them have replicated the message above. Everyone on the team is on the same page about not playing up to par last year. They all know what they need to do, and it’s a matter of execution now.

I think we’re too good of a team where we’re not at least competing in the playoffs or not in the race. And even if we are, that’s probably not good enough. We want to make the playoffs and I think we have the team to do it. Now it’s up to the players to show it.

Yes, we’re banking on a lot of bounce backs from last year, but I think it can happen. We’ve proved to ourselves that we have the ability to make the playoffs and play as strong as we did in the 2016-17 season. It’s just a matter of building up the confidence again and doing it all over again. And well, if that doesn’t work we will hop on Connor’s back and he can lead us to the post season himself. That’s always a great backup plan.

Our special teams were dead last, both of them were near last. That doesn’t help. We need to be better as a team, support each other more and stay confident.

Couldn’t agree more! Leon also went on to say that he expected to feel the pressure after signing an eight-year, $68 million deal last year, but it never really affected him.

This season

One thing I’m looking forward to seeing is if the morale in the room can improve from last year. We all know there was some sort of drama in the room to kick off the year, and after the losing happened we never really bounced back from it. The Oilers came into the season on a high-horse, and ended up flopping on their face.

I miss watching how much fun the team had during the 2016-17 run. Every game the players were so excited to score goals and be with each other. We got so many great snapshots of how tight the team was on and off the ice, and it made for an incredible fan experience to follow along with. Check out the memories below and tell me you don’t want to see this again. Hopefully the boys can pull themselves out of the gutter and make us smile again.

  • Violentgent13

    I feel like a lot of people get very tense when taking about Drai and aren’t very optimistic about him. I’ve always loved the guy and think it’s pretty cool he’s the first guy to speak about Reggie. I hope what ever people have against him is wiped clean this year. Expect a big year this guy.

  • Oiler Al

    I know Drai is talented etc etc . however would like to see him crank up his G.A.S meter [ give a sht] . To me he seems like hes not having fun out there. Maybe its the KOOL ME persona … bring some fun and energy to your game.

    • TruthHurts98

      Mario didn’t look like he was having fun either and he was so smooth in everything he did on the ice. Leon has some similarities, but obviously not at the same level. He’s one of the best passers in the league, has a great shot and even though it may not look like it: he’s a fast skater. I’ve watched a ton of highlights over and over of him winning foot races. He’ll have a good season this year I think.

  • The Swarm

    The Oilers are going to be fine. They had a one in 20 years special teams performance last year. It would be extremely hard to replicate this record even if they tried. Drai is a beast, is only 22, and will only get better. Sans another dressing room punch up, the Oil will revert back to a contender. Write it down and we’ll compare notes in the spring.

  • OilCan2

    Leon must be pumped about this season. The Oilers last pre season game is vs Cologne where his Dad is the coach. Leon is far and away the BEST German hockey player ever. My guess is that Reider will have a career year on L2.

  • Gotta feel bad for Reggie, as much as Im glad we can get the extra cap space but there’s a part inside of me still rooting for him to comeback. As it stands he’ll be lucky to be playing another game in the NHL. Retiring like this is no way for any player to go out, I think it would be awesome to see him touch the ice at Rogers Place and get a huge standing ovation. Anyway let’s hope this team kicks ass this year, all this doubt and “Leafs are Canada’s true team” talk from TSN and all those other Toronto media is really pissing me off like crazy.

  • Arfguy

    I am hesitant to say that the Oilers will be a strong team this year, but I have no doubt that they’ll bounce back in a big way and definitely make the playoffs.

  • CMG30

    Good for the team to pull together when stuff like this happens. Small blessing it happened in the off season where it can be better addressed. When healthy Sekera is a very usefull defenceman so he will be missed, but every team hits injury troubles and good teams are able to overcome…