'A pretty weak effort from everybody'

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

It seemed like the right place. It definitely was the right time.

At the end of yesterday's practice at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park, Jason Smith called his troops together for a private chat in an attempt to find a fix for the problems that have sunk the Edmonton Oilers into a four-game winless skid after a perfect 3-0 start to the season.

"It's about being ready for the start of the game and make sure we get back to playing with high energy and confidence," said Smith.

"We've been lacking that a little bit in the last couple games. When we have come out with a little energy and some confidence we've done very well."

No panic has set in yet, but there's no point in sitting back and waiting to rectify a festering situation.

"Any time you go through a stretch like we have it's important to turn things around as quickly as possible," said Smith. "We've seen in the past that it doesn't take long to dig a hole that's really hard to get out of."

Craig MacTavish was in a sombre mood following the defeat to the Coyotes and wasn't prepared to let anyone off the hook for the poor display.

"It was a pretty weak effort from everybody," said the Oilers head coach. "I guess we've played worse but I just can't remember when.

"There's no survivors in a game like that.

"Losing a game is one thing but the way we lost the game was the most puzzling and disappointing thing for us."

MacTavish had been drumming his points through during the last week and in particular the issue of costly penalties which hurt the Oilers in the first period against Phoenix.

A questionable call like the one that Michael Peca was dinged for is not so much a concern. The ones that grate on MacTavish's nerves are the lazy hooking, holding and obstruction infractions that kill any momentum the Oilers have seized or allow the opposition to keep them reeling.

"You can get down on yourselves and have a lot of reason to be second-guessing," said Peca.

"You could see that we were questioning the decisions we were making as we were making them. The chemistry is there - it's just a matter of building some confidence."


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