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JESSE PULJUJARVI BRINGING SIZE, CONFIDENCE AND MORE MATURITY TO THE OILERS

There was a time when many wondered if Jesse Puljujarvi would ever be spotted in a Edmonton Oilers jersey again. The 22-year-old former fourth overall pick decided to spend all of last season in his home country of Finland after failing to gain a foothold on a spot in the Oilers lineup. It appeared the relationship between him and the team had been damaged beyond repair. Now that he's back with the team and taking part in training camp, things are looking much better.

"Both guys wanted me here and I was thinking I could be a good teammate here and help the team," said Puljujarvi referring to Edmonton GM Ken Holland and coach Dave Tippett . "I've really liked these couple days."

Puljujarvi said he believes he's bringing a better game to the team.

"My strength, how I can protect back. That's one thing for sure helps on the small ice for sure. Confidence with the puck. I can play a north-and-back game."

There were rumours when Puljujarvi left the Oilers that his lack of English was a huge barrier in being able to communicate with his teammates on and off the ice. He's worked on that, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

"I think he's really worked on his English a lot. His attitude is he wants to be here. He wants to do what he can to be part of this group," said teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

"My English is better," said Puljujarvi. "Communication with coaches and players is different. You speak better, you play better."



Another teammate, Darnell Nurse, said the difference in Puljujarvi's size is incredible.

"Jesse looks huge. He's the biggest guy on the ice, and he has the hands to go with it," said Nurse.

Asked how he's fitting in with his teammates so far, Puljujarvi had nothing but good things to say.

"Really good. There's not any problems. It's been really fun. I give some jokes and they ask me many questions. There's a good feeling," Puljujarvi said after Tuesday's practice. "Win games, be a good teammate."

One interesting thing to note: according to reports, Alex Chiasson and Puljujarvi almost came to blows during practice on Wednesday. Cooler heads prevailed.



Source: Global Edmonton
TIM TUCKER
JANUARY 5, 2021  (18H44)
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