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Edmonton Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway receives raves for pre-season play

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EDMONTON — Dylan Holloway played in one NHL game last season. The rookie wore No. 36 for the Oilers in a playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche.

And, even though he was assigned that number coming into training camp, he quickly gave it up to goalie Jack Campbell, who wore that number in Toronto before coming to Edmonton as a free agent.

Holloway, now wearing 55 in training camp, said that his reward was a night out on the new Oilers’ goalie’s tab.

“I didn’t know he was paying,” Holloway said. “He told me he was taking me out for dinner. He took the number 36, that was the number they gave me in camp, and I had no emotional attachment to it, but he insisted on taking me out for dinner.

“When I got there, he had a whole seafood tower out. It was a lot.”

Campbell can have 36, but Holloway’s goal is to burn his No. 55 in the minds of coach Jay Woodcroft and president and general manager Ken Holland. It’s not like Holloway doesn’t have a spotlight on him — he carries the weight of expectation that comes with being a first-round pick of the Oilers. The winger notched 35 points in just 23 games for the University of Wisconsin in 2020-21. But he only played 33 games for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield last season, because of a wrist injury that required surgery. He then got the chance to make his debut for the team with his one-game playoff cameo.

“I got a little taste of it in the playoffs,” said Holloway. “I stayed hungry over the summer. And, my first camp, I think it’s been a lot of fun. The guys have been great and it’s good to get back into the season.”

Then, in the Oilers pre-season opener against the Winnipeg Jets, Holloway was the best player on the ice. Sure, the likes of Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were nowhere to be found, but Holloway stood out, tipping in a shot from Evan Bouchard, one of his team-high six shots on goal for the night. He was willing to go into the corners and absorb hits in order to win the puck.

“I feel it’s been pretty good,” Holloway said of his hot start to camp. “I’ve been fortunate to play with some pretty good linemates, I think they’ve helped me along the way. But I am feeling good so far and I hope to keep it going for the rest of camp.

“It was awesome. I was able to play in different kind of situations all over the ice. He (Woodcroft) gave me all sort of opportunities.”

But, when Oilers camp opened, Holland warned that he wants to ensure that young players with offensive talent don’t languish on the fourth line, where they’d only get a few minutes of playing time a game — and that it might be better for young players to play a lot in the AHL than a little bit in the NHL.

“What you’re saying is, do you weigh limited minutes in the NHL versus big minutes in the American Hockey League,” said Woodcroft. I believe that those answers will play themselves out here. He’s going to show us where he’s at and if he’s able to play meaningful minutes in the National Hockey League.”

As well, Holland said he wants to see his young players resist the urge to play it safe. And that’s a message that Holloway embraces.

“Obviously, you don’t want to make mistakes but, at the same time, if you’re playing timid out there you’re not doing too much. So you kind of play and not think too much. You do what comes naturally.”

And, any concerns about the state of Holloway’s wrist are quickly fading in the rear-view mirror. He spent a lot of the summer trying to build the wrist back up.

“The big thing was working on my hands,” he said. “With my wrist, I wasn’t able to touch the puck very much when I was rehabbing. I thought that my hands, when I got out to Bakersfield, weren’t up to par.”

So, on top of on-ice work, he spent a lot of time stickhandling a ball to get his hands back.

Woodcroft said that, during the rookie games in Penticton before the official start of camp, Holloway showed his willingness to get to the tough areas on the ice, but the qualifier is that those games were against other rookies from other Western Canadian NHL teams, his “peer group.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Holloway needs to show he can do it against NHL veterans. And then the Oilers need to evaluate what’s the best fit for his development.

“I think he’s had a good first few days,” said Woodcroft. “He’s obviously a big, strong power-forward type. He’s a powerful skater … I think he’s feeling more and more confident in and among the big boys. I think his line’s been good, but the real test will come as we get into the pre-season schedule.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2022.

Steven Sandor, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health

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Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.

Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.

“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”

A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.

When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”

She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.

“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”

Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.

Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”

Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.

She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.

Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.

Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.

“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.

“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”

Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.

Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.

Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.

Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.

Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

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Alberta

Alberta introduces bill for $2.8 billion in inflation-fighting payouts, rollbacks

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Edmonton – The Alberta government has introduced legislation to implement inflation-fighting rebates and payouts announced recently by Premier Danielle Smith.

Affordability Minister Matt Jones says the changes allow for help for families, seniors and the vulnerable soon.

Middle- to lower-income families, those with a household income of less than $180,000 a year, are to get $600 over six months for each child under 18 years of age.

The same income threshold and benefit applies to seniors, and the payout will also go to those on disability supports.

There will be electricity rebates and the 13 per cent provincial tax on gasoline is suspended from January to June.

The total cost of the package is pegged at $2.8 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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