MacTavish promising change on Oilers’ blue line

The Edmonton Oilers are loaded on the blue-line, but general manger Craig MacTavish did not hesitate when Denis Grebeshkov wanted to give the NHL another shot after three years in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“I always liked Denis,” said MacTavish, who coached the Russian defenceman when he was the Oilers bench boss. Grebeshkov played for Edmonton from 2007-10.

The Oilers signed Grebeshkov, 29, to a one-year, one-way, $1.5-million contract earlier this month.

MacTavish does concede there had been some riverboat gambler in the defenceman when his passes ended up on sticks of opposing players.

“He would guess to the wrong area … when in doubt put it into an area where you can defend,” MacTavish said. “We all want the clean plays to the middle, which is why we love Denis. But if you’re not sure, you can’t guess. It’s communication with Denis.

“What I see with him is he had a bit of a rocky year last year in the KHL, but he’s coming back as soon as we get his immigration (worked out) and he’ll be training virtually the whole month of August here.


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