Today the Oilers had a longer scrimmage. They played two, stop-time 20-minute periods as head coach Dave Tippett is slowing ramping up the conditioning and intensity.
Here is what I saw on day three.
- Same lines. Unlike a normal training camp when the lines you see early in camp are rarely what we see at the end, I sense this is different. As it should be. They only play one pre-playoff game (8:30 p.m. on July 28th against Calgary) and then the qualifying round. There is little time to experiment, and it sounds like Tippett will stick with these lines and see if they can build some chemistry.
- Team Blue:
- Team Blue overcame a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 in OT. Andreas Athanasiou tied it with 40 second remaining when Blue pulled their goalie. And Evan Bouchard scored the winner in OT. They played over seven minutes of 5×5 overtime. Athanasiou ripped a one-timer from the right dot on a nice cross-seam pass from McDavid.
- Ethan Bear, James Neal and Tyler Ennis scored for team White.
- The Neal-Khaira-Chiasson line had another strong scrimmage. Neal scored, and got robbed on a nifty deflection, while Khaira took the puck to the net with conviction on a few occasions. I think they could be a matchup advantage against the Blackhawks’ smaller and inexperienced bottom six.
- Ryan McLeod was noticeable again. His speed catches your eye right away, and today he made some really good plays at full speed, including dangling around two defenders which led to him getting tripped and awarded a penalty shot. Smith stopped him, but I think McLeod will be in Edmonton in the future. No question in my mind.
- Smith had some huge stops on McLeod, McDavid and Draisaitl twice. McDavid also rung one off the post. Smith has looked good the past two days.
- A purely cosmetic observation: Khaira is rocking a full beard and his hair is longer. Baggedmilk will love it. Similar to how he looked in the last few games before the delay, he is more involved playing centre and is moving his feet more.
- The McLeod-Marody-Benson line scored the first two goals for team blue and Benson had both, including a nifty move to slide it home past Smith. They did not look out of place at all.
- Caleb Jones still has yet to skate with the main group. I’ve noticed other players around the league are in similar situations. They skate after the main group.
- Philip Broberg looked more comfortable today. He made more plays with the puck and was more involved in the play through the neutral zone and even jumped down low in the offensive zone a few times. These past three days are the first time he has played on NHL ice with NHL players, so it was expected he’d need some time adjusting. He will learn a lot over the next two weeks skating with and against NHL players in the scrimmage.
The Oiler have tomorrow off and return to practice on Friday.