Today Edmonton Oilers Coach Ralph Krueger re-enforced Shawn Horcoff’s role as captain of the young Oilers. He did, however make a few changes. The coach started the process of turning the leadership responsibility of the team over to the young core. Krueger named 1st line winger Jordan Eberle alternate captain and also gave the “A” on a rotating basis to young sniper Taylor Hall as well as defenseman Nick Schultz, who has been paired with rookie Justin Schultz so far in training camp.
Everywhere you look the first year NHL coach is putting his mark on the Oiler, branding the team as his so to speak. There are 2 articles written recently by Team 1260, Oilersnation.com and the Edmonton Journal personality Jason Gregor that give great insight about Krueger’s approach to coaching is like. The first describes the pace of practice so far in training camp and the second a great article with d-man Ryan Whitney regarding his exit interview last season . Both articles are excellent reads.
Something that sticks out for me is the pace of practices that Gregor and others that have been at the open practices have been mentioning frequently. Remember the Oilers of the good ole days? One of the most common things heard is how up tempo and competitive the practices were. Practicing everyday against the best players in the world can do nothing but help a team. Now I’m not saying that the Oilers have the best players in the world like they did in the hay day. The Oilers are now full with great young talent which will be a benefit when learning how to defend and counter attack against high calibre players like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Nail Yakupov.
Players also seem to have a great amount of respect for coach Krueger. They want to perform at a high level for him. This was evidenced last year with the success of the Oilers powerplay (3rd in the NHL) which then alternate coach was responsible for. Back in July, prized rookie free agent Justin Schultz said one of the main reasons he chose the Oilers was because of a conversation he had with the coach.
So while the Edmonton Oilers fandom is all abuzz about the young superstars beginning to emerge with this team we need to remember that the team will only be a successful as their leader, and by the looks of it the man behind the bench is off to a good start.
Other Stuff and Things
I started a new job this week and haven’t been able to make the training camp practices that have been open to the public, but fellow Oil on Whyte staffer Troy was there yesterday and posted a good article about the goings on read here. He also managed to snap a picture of Cam Barker’s replacement in action which I’ve posted below.
Thanks for reading
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