SUN Hockey Pool

Quinn gives Nilsson advice

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Robert Nilsson wanted a sit-down with Pat Quinn, which is only fair since Quinn sat Nilsson down for the entire third period Thursday against New York.

The stone-cold winger sought out his coach after practice and had a good 10-minute chat.

"He told me to think about the positive stuff and leave the negative behind," said Nilsson, who took the advice to heart. "He's been around a long time, you trust him and you have a lot of respect."

Shutting out the negative is good, but making sure there are fewer negatives to shut out by playing harder on the ice is even better. Nilsson knows he's been tepid this season, and knows it has to change.

"I knew why he did it last night," Nilsson said of the benching. "I'm not mad about it. If I was on the top of my game I wouldn't be sitting there. If I feel I'm playing well then of course I'm angry and frustrated. Last night I know I had a (bad) game, so I'm not surprised."

Day off for team's star

Quinn gave netminder Nikolai Khabibulin the day off yesterday in recognition of all the overtime he's been putting in during the games.

"We've only played 16 but he's played 25," said Quinn, whose team is being badly outshot most nights. "Time to let him stay home."

The Oilers have been leaning heavily on their starter, a trend they know can't continue.

"We have to find a way to get our shots down," said Ethan Moreau. "He's played great, he's given us a chance to win.

"He's doing his job, he's playing great. We definitely have to give him some easy nights.

"We can't have him burnt out by Christmas."

Ales Hemsky, who's being bothered by a sore shoulder, and J-F Jacques (back) didn't practice either.


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