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EDMONTON -- Dallas Eakins brings an emphasis on fitness, accountability and frankness to his new job as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. His arrival also creates a new beginning for a team that has missed the playoffs seven straight years. Forward Jordan Eberle said its time the Oilers forgot about their potential and started proving their ability. "Its a new slate, new coach, new mandate," Eberle said Wednesday. "Theres a point, probably a couple years ago, when you get sick and tired of hearing how good youre going to be and just want to get to that point." Fellow veteran forward Sam Gagner said the expectation for the team has to be nothing less than the playoffs. "Weve been through a lot of losing," he said after the teams camp opened with medicals and fitness testing. "It helps you grow as a person but its never fun. Our core is pretty much intact and we have a lot to prove. "Its important for us to realize that the time is now to turn things around." To that end Eakins, hired in the off-season to replace the fired Ralph Krueger, made it clear to the players its time to shed the "young team" label and show they belong in the NHL. "Its a cop-out to be labelled young," said Gagner, whos heading into his seventh season with the Oilers. "It allows you to go through some growing periods but thats done now. Weve been through a lot as a core and its time for us to move forward. "We have a mix of veterans, young guys and everything in between and its important for us to reach that next level." Theyll try to do that without veteran captain Shawn Horcoff (traded to Dallas), minus an established backup to goaltender Devan Dubnyk and with No. 1 centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- the first pick in the 2011 draft -- on the sidelines. Nugent-Hopkins underwent off-season shoulder surgery and is expected to miss the first few weeks of the regular season. Eakins, who was hired last June after will experiment with winger Taylor Hall, the teams leading scorer last season, moving into the vacant centre spot. "Dont make too much of that," Eakins cautioned. "Its not like Ive asked this guy to go play right defence. Hes played centre before. It may be an option for us a I want as many options as I can. "This is my experiment. If it works, great, if it doesnt I was crazy and well move him back to left wing where hes a pretty good player." For his part, Eakins said one of his immediate tasks is to learn the personalities of each of his players. "Its absolutely No. 1 for me," he said. "I dont know how you motivate a guy or push him in the right direction if you dont know what makes him tick. I just dont know how to do it. You really have to get to know the individuals." The former Toronto Marlies coach assured his players there would be no surprises. Hell be frank and upfront with them on all issues. "Its common sense to me," he said. "I dont like surprises a and I dont think players need surprises either. Theyll know exactly where they stand with me." In return he expects full accountability from his players, and that, said Gagner and Eberle, is how it should be. "He demands a lot of us, which is great," said Eberle. "Accountability is one of the most important things in the dressing room and with Dallas, if theres a problem hes going to address it. Thats how a team should function. If a guys not working hard someone should say something." The Oilers have 62 players in camp. They will open the pre-season Saturday with split-squad games against the Flames in Edmonton and Calgary. Wholesale Soccer Jerseys . After deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league would consider pulling out of Sochi if something "significant" happens before players arrive, those set to participate are trying not to worry about that scenario. Fake Soccer Jerseys . -- Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo is going to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks. https://www.soccerjerseyschina.us/ . The Cavs announced the move Saturday, one day after LeBron James said hes returning to Cleveland. A 12-year veteran, Haywood has played in 794 NBA games, averaging 6. Clearance Soccer Jerseys . - Mike Magee converted two penalty kicks in a 10-minute span of the first half and the Chicago Fire beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on Sunday. Replica Soccer Jerseys . Span, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche had two hits apiece as Washington won the final two games of the series. The Nationals improved to 3-7 against Atlanta. They increased their division lead over the Braves to 1 1/2 games. ST. LOUIS -- Shelby Miller turned things around against his nemesis -- with some help from his friends. The St. Louis Cardinals right hander pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings to lead his team to a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night. That outing was in complete contrast to Millers history vs. Pittsburgh. Miller (2-2) entered the game with a 0-5 record and a 5.93 ERA against the Pirates. He allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out four. "Im excited to get a win in general" Miller said. "But, obviously, Ive struggled against Pittsburgh and theyre a tough team. Theyre lineups great and they got good starting pitching and a good offence. Theyre not easy to get out. "Thats the first one against them. Its good to get it out of the way." MIller said that he made just a few subtle changes, but they paid off. "I found some back door cutters," he said. "I ended going in a little bit more on righties and just kind of mixing it up a little differently." Pat Neshek, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Kevin Rosenthal followed Miller and preserved the shutout. Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wished his pitchers had some margin for error. "You kind of hate to keep doing that to these guys, having to be perfect," Matheny said. "The bullpen did a terrific job." Matt Holliday had three hits, a walk and drove in the only run with a first-inning double. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, matching his career high set in 2007. Pirates starter Gerrit Cole (2-2) pitched seven innings and allowed a run on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. The Pirates lost for the seventh time in nine tries. Pittsburgh has won just three of its last 12 games. "We kneew there would be challenges coming into the season," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.dddddddddddd "Were getting to face our fair share of them in April. You just keep mounting up and you keep playing." St. Louis got the only run it would need in the first. Matt Carpenter led off with a bunt single down the third baseline and he went to second on Jon Jays fielders choice to first. Holliday then doubled to right, scoring Carpenter. "The guy has been playing for 15 years, he knows what hes doing," Cole said of Holliday. Pittsburgh had Miller on the ropes in the third, as singles by Cole and Jose Tabata and a walk to Neil Walker loaded the bases. But Miller got Andrew McCutchen to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. In the eighth, Pittsburgh had runners on first and third with no one out against Martinez after pinch hitter Starling Marte was hit by a pitch and Tabata singled him to third. Martinez got Marte hung up on a fielders choice back to him for the first out. After an intentional walk to McCutchen, Martinez struck out Pedro Alvarez and Chris Stewart to end the threat. "I dont know if you can get much tougher," Matheny said. "You look at where we were in that lineup and how we got there. Hes done that a couple of times now, where hes just been able to focus in and get the job done." NOTES: Pittsburghs Francisco Liriano (0-3) will try to get in the victory column when he opposes Tyler Lyons (0-1) in the second game of the series Saturday. ... Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta snapped an 0-for-22 streak with a fourth inning double. ... Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin left the game after grounding out in the fifth with tightness in his left hamstring. ... This series is the last three games of a 26-game stretch against Central Division opponents to open the season for the Pirates. ' ' '


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