Quotes from Oilers training camp
Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
By Woz2 months ago
Training camp is officially underway for the Edmonton Oilers and with that comes meetings with the media. The first round of interviews came on Wednesday morning with Evander Kane, Stuart Skinner, Jack Campbell, and Mattias Ekholm taking questions from reporters on what we can expect for the upcoming season.
Here are a few notable answers from all of them.
The big news that came out early Wednesday was that Mattias Ekholm will miss the first few days of camp as he reco hip flexor injury but noted that it was not a major concern.
“I’ve been here all summer and when we started to skate, I started feeling it a little bit — it’s nothing more than that. It’s more of a maintenance thing right now, and knowing we have a couple of weeks to spare — usually, you don’t do that in the regular season — you kind of just have to go at it. We just looked at it that way and played it safe and made sure that I’m 100 per cent, whenever that is in the next couple of weeks.”
One benefit Ekholm has added on the backend isn’t just his defensive ability but the experience he brings to the team. When asked how he felt about being more of a mentor to the Oilers’ younger defencemen such as Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg, Ekholm described what it’s like to work with up-and-coming players.
“It’s not that I try to have it as my job to help them because they are great players, but sometimes you just need to talk to them, give them some advice and they figure it out. Perfect example with Evan last year, it wasn’t like I did anything to him or told him to change something, it was more, ‘Hey, just relax, you know you’re an offensive defenceman so you can’t really worry too much about the mistakes defensively. You just got to make sure you make up for it offensively and I felt like after that he just thrived and played really well.”
When asked about Philip Broberg, Ekholm feels as though there’s a really solid hockey player within the 22-year-old defenceman.
“I’m trying to talk to Brobby as much as I can because I think he’s got all the skills — he’s probably the best-trained guy in the room. He skates well, he can defend, he’s big, he does have it all. Sometimes with young defencemen they just need to find that mentally to get over the hump so of speak where they are comfortable enough to just play the game.”
For Stuart Skinner, this was his first summer knowing that he is now an impact player for the Edmonton Oilers. This is someone who was able to carve out a name for himself not only on the roster but do it in the city where he grew up. Mentally, for him, not much has changed despite more people recognizing him around Edmonton.
“It might be a little different with people saying ‘hi’ to you a little bit more, but I’m still the same Stuart Skinner I was before the Edmonton Oilers. The only thing different is people ask me a lot about Beau (his son), like anybody can come up to me and say ‘Oh, Beau is eight months today, I heard.’ It’s fun to hear and it’s pretty cool that I get to be in a position to be like that.”
Skinner feels that he’s ready for the season to come and he adds that he didn’t feel tired towards the tail end of last year as the team made its way into the playoffs.
“No, I was fine. Numbers are always changing, and numbers can lie too. I don’t know if numbers can tell you if I’m tired or if I’m in a good position fatigue-wise, they just show you what’s happening and what the results are.
I felt good, I felt fine, and I wasn’t fatigued. The team does a great job of making sure I’m recovered, and that everyone’s recovered — we’ve got incredible physical therapists. That’s why the NHL is such a good league because of all the things you get. It was just a really good experience for me to go through the whole playoff run. Am I ready to play every single game? Absolutely. I’m always ready to play whenever Woody gives me the call, and I’ll be happy to do my job.”
Needless to say, Jack Campbell had a lot of personal changes heading into last season. He had new teammates, a new city to learn, new pressures from within the market, and even new equipment to figure out.
“Man, I learned so much, and it was a great summer of growth. Things are really comfortable, and I’m just ready to get going tomorrow, It sure is nice to be back with my teammates.”
When he reflects back on what was a challenging first year in Edmonton, he feels the lessons were important.
“Not to dwell on it, so much good came from having such a tough year as far as my growth this summer. My focus is getting back to where I know I can be, even elevating that from what I’ve done in the past. I’m just really excited for the opportunity to write a new script this year and to get to work with the guys.”
Last year, Evander Kane suffered a horrific wrist injury that set back his season, and his body took a bunch of damage — reports came out that he suffered a rib injury shortly after returning — which ultimately hindered his play. When asked about his recovery, Kane expanded on how he’s feeling physically right now.
“It’s an injury that takes probably a few years to get back to 100 per cent in terms of the sensitivity and feeling and whatnot, but in terms of functionality, I feel great.”
He also touched on a viral moment from this past summer where he was filmed playing in a rec league hockey game.
“I hadn’t been on the ice in a while and a buddy of mine asked me if I wanted to come out and play for his team. I probably wasn’t the best player on the ice, to be honest, so it was a wake-up call for me. I had a few goals, like three or four goals, and a minus-five, so a good night.”
Kane provided further context on the injury challenges he faced last season.
“You know, I came back really quick from the wrist injury and then broke a bunch of ribs two games later. It was tough, but coming into the season this year I feel good, I feel healthy, and am looking forward to getting our group together and getting in some games down the stretch to be ready for game one of the regular season.”
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