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Edmonton Oilers have hit the ice operating with proper strategy to pre-season

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With the very best participant within the league proper now, together with the next-best factor, you’d assume it’d take loads to impress Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft today.

Then once more, contemplating he coaches the group as a complete and never simply particular person gamers, what he has witnessed up to now through the Oilers’ pre-season has been nice, if not stunning.

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However with the designs he has on the season to come back, asking the top coach what essentially the most spectacular a part of camp has been up to now may as properly be like asking a guardian to decide on a favorite baby.

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“I feel there’s been quite a few issues, together with the work that each one of our gamers are placing in,” Woodcroft mentioned. “The work price this 12 months has been fairly spectacular, and I’m simply going to say matter-of-fact, what we anticipate.

“It’s what we anticipate right here. And we’ve thrown some new wrinkles and new layers at individuals and everybody has are available in with an open thoughts.”

Sure, everybody is aware of who butters the bread on the stats sheet for the Oilers over the course of the season. However in addition they know that to succeed in all of the extra necessary stuff to come back afterward, it takes the trouble of a complete roster, high to backside.

“I feel coaching camp is realistically about build up your base, or laying a basis,” Woodcroft mentioned. “However most significantly, it’s about greater than reps, or what number of exhibition video games or what your numbers are in pre-season. I feel, for the core of our group, it’s about considering properly. I need our gamers considering correctly, having the precise mindset heading into an everyday season.

“And what I’ve seen up to now with the extent of dedication and work from all of our gamers, I feel that’s the story of the pre-season.”

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This isn’t a story of revenge, pushed by emotions of unfinished enterprise going again to final 12 months’s playoff conclusion, however extra of a continuation of the collection at the moment being scripted by the leaders of the locker room.

“I feel it derives from our management group. Particularly our captain, who units the tone, has an intolerance for something that will get in the way in which of profitable,” Woodcroft mentioned of Connor McDavid, who’s coming off a career-best 153 factors in his eighth NHL season. “And for him and your entire management group, there’s a degree of seriousness about beginning the season the precise manner.

“So, due to that, I discover the attentiveness in the way in which our group is considering to be the precise mind-set.”

And, because it seems, not simply on the ice both.

All eyes could very properly be on the drop of the puck to open the common season in a single week’s time, however that didn’t cease some Oilers from getting caught up within the latest sport at the moment sweeping the continent, pairing as much as strive their hand at pickleball.

Throughout a current off-day forward of their 4-1 pre-season highway victory over the Seattle Kraken on Monday, the tandem of Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway — the first-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020 — received an intra-squad event over Connor McDavid and Brad Malone — wearers of the captain’s C for the Oilers and Bakersfield Condors — within the ultimate.

“Oh, yeah. Did you guys see the highlights of that?” Woodcroft requested reporters gathered at Rogers Place following Tuesday’s apply. “Discuss considering properly or competitiveness or orneriness, it is best to have seen it on the pickleball court docket.

“These guys will not be solely elite-level hockey gamers, however they’re opponents on the pickleball court docket too.”

For the file, Woodcroft didn’t partake in any of the life-sized table-tennis festivities.

“I didn’t, I used to be simply observing,” he mentioned. “I used to be scouting.”

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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