On Saturday January 22nd, the Edmonton Oil Kings hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers. This team is of significance to many Oilers fans due to the two Oilers prospects that play for the Tigers. Yes, there are two Oilers prospects that play for the Edmonton Oil Kings in Cameron Abney and Kristians Pelss, but they play half of their season in Edmonton. When other Oilers prospects come to town, it tends to be slightly more interesting if not exciting. So for this evening, there were to be 4 Oilers prospects playing, and many Oilers fans gawking.
The first player selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL entry draft was Tyler Pitlick. Most everyone can't help but agree that the Oilers were fortunate to get this centreman. Should Pitlick grow into his frame, he can add some size to the Oilers team. Easily standing now at 6'3" and barely 19, Pitlick shows a lot of potential in more than just his game. For the 2009-10 season, Pitlick played in the NCAA system for Minnesota State, but has since made the switch to play in the WHL for the aforementioned Medicine Hat Tigers. During the current season Pitlick has scored 20 goals, 30 assists after 44 games and very much wants to be a valuable member of the Edmonton Oilers. This season, Pitlick has been playing on the right wing more and has said that he really isn't partial to where he plays, but he does see advantages to playing on the wing.
Bruce McCurdy and I were able to catch up with Pitlick for just a few minutes before his game and pre-game preparation. Bruce wrote his article for the Cult of Hockey, and my interview can be seen as a continuation from Bruce's. Pitlick is well spoken and easy to speak to. Choosing his word carefully, Pitlick gave quick and short responses to most questions. At this point, I think that he is still getting used to interviewing so often but he was definitely expecting it while in Edmonton; the place where he hopes to play soon, should his development continue as planned.
Copper & Blue: What would you say is your weakness as a player?
Tyler Pitlick: I need to work on my strength more, and I'm doing that now.
Copper & Blue: You said that you are working on your strength, what in particular are you doing is it heavy straight lifting or maybe yoga? A lot of NHLers are admitting to doing yoga now.
Tyler Pitlick: Not too much, it's kind of tough in season to really get stronger. I've got to focus on working on getting stronger in the summer, with not as many games and then I can focus on that. During the season I just need to focus on staying in shape, as it was from summer.
Copper & Blue: Is your strength training something that you do on your own, or are there more members of you team involved?
Tyler Pitlick: Most guys on our team are pretty serious. Everyone takes part in stuff like that and we all get together and it helps everyone out.
Copper & Blue: Would you say that you have had to mature a lot faster than your friends that don't play professional sports?
Tyler Pitlick: I guess maybe a little bit, but everyone has to mature a little bit as the years go on. I guess maybe a little bit I've matured faster than others, playing on teams with older guys and seeing different things that not everyone gets to see.
Copper & Blue: I meant you're on the road a lot, you're not necessarily around your parents who can clean up after you. So this leads to my other question, I don't know if you've seen Oil Change just yet. Have you seen any of it?
Tyler Pitlick: Yes, I've seen a couple.
Copper & Blue: Oilers' fans were given a glimpse into Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall's private and personal lives. We've seen that cleanliness and cooking aren't necessarily priorities for the two, and maybe not even something that they know how to do. Is this something that you try to keep up with for yourself? Or do you have a lot of people helping you?
Tyler Pitlick: Well, I do have the billet family doing all of my cooking and they do clean up after me a little bit but I'm not the messiest guy. I tend to clean up after myself. It's something I had to do more of last year, being in college, being on my own, living in a house with a bunch of guys. Sometimes I had to clean up after them just so that you're not living in a pig sty.
Copper & Blue: Do you find it a struggle to balance your personal, your professional, and your educational aspects of life? How have you found the balance?
Tyler Pitlick: It's kind of tough just trying to keep in touch with friends from back home. You're always on the road, it's hard to find time to talk to siblings when you have games and practice all of the time. It's kind of a struggle; I wish I could have more time to talk to my friends from back home. I'm sure they know what I'm going through, but I wish that they could hear from me more too.
Copper & Blue: Could you imagine a life without Facebook, text messaging or BBM?
Tyler Pitlick: It would be tough; you really wouldn't be able to keep in touch, so I feel fortunate to have those things
The Medicine Hat Tigers went on to win the game in a shootout with a final score of 6-5. Pitlick had two assists on the night and it was difficult not to find yourself watching him or cheering for Pitlick and the visiting team. Currently Pitlick is out with a lower body injury, but will be sure to return to the lineup to score some more points and delight Tigers' and Oilers' fans alike.
If you would like to read some more on Tyler Pitlick, I'm going to recommend that you look at Ben Massey's Pitlick article for the Copper & Blue's top 25 under 25, he Pitlick was ranked #7 this time around.