It's back to basics

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:39 PM ET

It was back to basics for the Edmonton Oilers yesterday as coach Craig MacTavish had one eye on Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Calgary Flames and another looking ahead to the post-season.

"The Calgary game was a good litmus test for us in a lot of ways because that's the style of hockey you see in the playoffs," MacTavish said.

"It was clear after that game that there are a lot of areas in the fundamental part of the game that our team has to elevate itself in terms of having post-season success."

While NHL statisticians tagged the Oilers with just 12 giveaways in the loss in Cowtown -- the season high is 33 -- MacTavish saw a distinctly different game and had his team working out the kinks.

"I question that guy," MacTavish said of the dozen giveaways. "It was New Year's Eve, remember; I think he might have been into the suds a little early on the giveaways.

"We turned the puck over and they were pretty glaring turnovers at times. The pace is a little quicker, so you have to make that decision a little faster. Your decision-making has to respond to the pace of the game and I think we were a little lethargic at times."

Forwards spent the first 20 minutes yesterday handling pucks that were pounded around the end boards by MacTavish and assistant coach Bill Moores.

"It's a matter of renewing the focus for us to get to the level where we want to be," Ethan Moreau said.

"You can have a pretty good record, but unless you focus on the things we were working on today, you're probably not going to have much success in the playoffs. We're starting to get that mindset where every play is important and there's attention to detail."

Fifteen minutes into proceedings, MacTavish made clear his displeasure at how the drills were being done.

"That's a good lesson for us," he said.

"When you have those real painful losses where everybody feels like it was a kick in a bad area of the anatomy, you really get a fertile ground to get to your team and try to instill some of the things you're going to need to instill to win hockey games."

Three's still company

When the Oilers hit the ice yesterday they still had Ty Conklin, who will start tonight, Jussi Markkanen and Mike Morrison in the crease.

As of today, there's been no indication from MacTavish when one of the three, likely Morrison, will be assigned to the minors on a conditioning stint to get some game action.

"We'll assess game by game with the goaltending," said MacTavish, singing a familiar tune.

"The thing I've said about the goaltenders all along is that they have to prove they're capable of winning a championship. They've proven that they're good enough that we can buy time for them.

"We want a goalie who can win a championship. One of those guys has to present himself in this mix or we'll have to do something else. In the interim, we're getting good enough goaltending to delay that decision."

That's swell

Marty Reasoner left practice early after being struck over the left eye by a puck during a drill.

Reasoner wasn't cut, but he emerged from the training room after about an hour of treatment with significant swelling over the eye.

He will be assessed today and should be good to go.

Worth repeating

"I'll be the guy jumping into the glass at the far end instead of Georges, because I'll be happy for him," said MacTavish of Georges Laraque, who has gone 47 games, dating back to March 16, 2004, without scoring a goal.

AROUND THE RINK: Laraque will play right wing with Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres for a third straight game ... Radek Dvorak (strained groin) has been skating with Kelly Buchberger and the target date for his return remains Saturday against Toronto.


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