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Edmonton Oilers coach reveals an enormous secret about particular person participant efficiency

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The one greatest secret of particular person participant efficiency within the NHL?

It’s expertise, in fact. And onerous work, sure. And who a participant strains up with. And who a participant strains up in opposition to. And the way a lot ice time he will get.

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All of those issues are essential however Edmonton Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch revealed what I think about to be the only greatest secret of participant efficiency, at the least in relation to the up-and-down play of particular person gamers.

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Knoblauch was requested on Sunday in regards to the 5 day break his Oilers now have. After saying it had a draw back in that it interrupted the staff’s successful momentum, there was additionally a plus facet: “I believe this break is sweet for us as a result of we had quite a lot of guys that we on the point of breaking down bodily. We had quite a lot of guys that have been nursing issues and will use a pair days off in order that side I believe, total, it must be good for us.”

My take

1. Knoblauch implicitly revealed simply how vital it’s to be wholesome when he talked about the good thing about as of late off, particularly for his skating-wounded gamers.

Gamers typically get hammered onerous with criticism once they’re slumping, however how typically is that stoop because of harm, because it was with Cody Ceci final season, when his play was subpar however he was taking part in harm a lot of the yr?

This yr Ceci is wholesome and he’s taking part in effectively once more.

Humorous how that works.

One wonders how a lot harm impacted Jesse Puljujarvi’s drop in efficiency in his final yr in Edmonton. Zach Hyman began off nice final season, however wasn’t fairly so robust within the stretch run or playoffs. Once more, harm was a significant factor.

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And the way a lot better will Connor Brown be in a couple of months as he rounds into form after a serious harm and a yr off hockey? However this hasn’t stopped sonme followers from scorching the participant for his iffy begin, to not point out hammering on GM Ken Holland for signing Brown. However possibly some endurance is so as because the participant once more finds his type.

2. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan McLeod and Brett Kulak all obtained off to tough begins to the season, however Ekholm and Kulak particularly have been trending up, taking part in more and more regular hockey. Coincidence? Under no circumstances. If you wish to know the rationale a participant just isn’t doing effectively, harm is usually on the very high of the listing.

3. Connor McDavid had a severe stoop by his requirements the place he was beneath a point-per-game for time, together with his main contributions to Grade A pictures taking a big drop. This stoop got here earlier than and after McDavid missed two video games with harm. Coincidence? Not an opportunity. Even the best gamers can look close to odd once they’re slowed by harm.

4. Edmonton Oilers radio and TV analyst Bob Stauffer famous that Evander Kane and Darnell Nurse weren’t on the ice Sunday.  “Straight upkeep,” Knoblauch mentioned. “We’re hopeful that they’re on the ice tomorrow and if not tomorrow, the following day.”

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Kane has been taking part in harm for a while, whereas on the similar time nonetheless preventing again from his main wrist harm final yr. He’s accomplished extraordinarily effectively given the circumstances, and given no matter ongoing harm he’s now coping with. Nurse has additionally been on an amazing run of play, all of the moreso on condition that he was not too long ago whacked within the head with a puck throughout warm-up, which introduced on copious bleeding and two black eyes.

Kane and Nurse have demonstrated outstanding grit taking part in by way of such accidents, as have Ekholm, Kulak and McLeod battling again from harm. However, because the coach suggests, a few of them have been nearing the breaking level with Edmonton’s latest heavy schedule. The break will certainly be welcome for this staff.

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