Advertisement

Edmonton Oilers Jay Woodcroft to be ‘selective and surgical’ with practice focus

After getting his first win as an NHL head coach, Jay Woodcroft ran his first full practice Saturday afternoon. The Edmonton Oilers beat the New York Islanders 3-1 at Rogers Place Friday night.

Some things changed from what we saw under former head coach Dave Tippett. The ice time of the team’s star players was reduced a bit and the Oilers played with more energy. However, they were badly outshot in the first period and were bailed out by a strong goaltending performance from Mike Smith. Still, lots to work on.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers win first game under Jay Woodcroft

“We want to narrow our focus here and realize that we only have so much practice time. We only have so much time that we can meet without it being counterproductive,” explained Woodcroft.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re going to be very selective and surgical with what we bring to our team.”

Woodcroft’s approach to practice will be familiar to several Oilers who he coached with the AHL’s Bakerfield Condors. That includes forward Ryan McLeod, who credits Woodcroft for helping him make the step to the NHL.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers farm team coach Jay Woodcroft called up to bench boss the remaining  season' Edmonton Oilers farm team coach Jay Woodcroft called up to bench boss the remaining season
Edmonton Oilers farm team coach Jay Woodcroft called up to bench boss the remaining season – Feb 10, 2022

“We did a lot of video together. He held me accountable when I was making mistakes. He really helped me grow my game to what it, I think should be at the pro level. I think he was a huge help in my development,” said McLeod.

The Oilers dove right into the penalty kill during Saturday’s practice — which has been a major problem. They allowed an Islanders power-play goal on Friday making the Oilers penalty kill a woeful 67.1 per cent since December 1.

Story continues below advertisement

“We started our practice with just a little bit of the walkthrough on the penalty kill, just a way for us to teach some of the things we want to get cleaned up on the penalty kill,” said Woodcroft.

“I thought the players went out and executed. It wasn’t taxing or anything like that. It was just about clarification of different scenarios you find yourselves in on the penalty kill.”

The Oilers will play at San Jose on Monday. Catch the game on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 7 p.m. The game will start at 8:30 p.m.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers fans react to firing of coach Dave Tippett' Edmonton Oilers fans react to firing of coach Dave Tippett
Edmonton Oilers fans react to firing of coach Dave Tippett – Feb 10, 2022

Sponsored content