Question period

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The seven filed out of their meeting looking anything but magnificent.

The morning after a lacklustre 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, seven of the Edmonton Oilers core veterans met with head coach Pat Quinn to talk, air some grievances and try and find a solution to their problems.

There was plenty to be said as the Oilers are currently in a tailspin, which could put them in a hole too deep to climb out of.

"It was a good day to sort out some issues and address some problems that we're having on the ice," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau. "Communication is very important in any walk of life. He (Quinn) is a good communicator and it was a good morning to talk about some things.

"It's a pretty common practice and we should do it more than we do. It's just that everybody gets so busy and your schedule is so hectic that sometimes you don't want to do it, you just don't have the energy for it. But I think any successful organization that happens."

Yesterday's meeting of the minds involved Moreau, Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Steve Staios, Nikolai Khabibulin and Dustin Penner.

The Oilers have won just three of their last 14 games heading into tonight's encounter against the Phoenix Coyotes. They are slowly slipping back of the pack and are desperate to turn things around.

"We went over a lot of team stuff in there, there was nothing personal," said Horcoff. "We went over everything imaginable that we could think of, which is good. It's good for us to vent, he (Quinn) told us some things that we needed to hear and he wanted to know what we were seeing also.

"It went back and forth and I think it's nice to have that. It's nice to have an open philosophy."

The Blackhawks exposed many of the weaknesses that have plagued the Oilers during their current slump.

They capitalized on turnovers, had wide-open looks at the net from in close and hemmed the Oilers in their own zone for extended periods of time.

"The meeting was real positive, but at the same time, it's not like we're averse to hearing negative things," Horcoff said.

"A lot of times you need to hear that in order to get things turned around."

The Oilers are currently in the middle of a five-game homestand. They opened with an impressive 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche where they battled back from a two-goal deficit.

Against the Blackhawks, they fell behind early and were never able to get back in the contest.

"It was a good communicational talk," said Khabibulin. "Pat said what he thought and we said what we thought and we tried to find a solution basically to have a better team.

"It's not a distance thing between the two sides, it was basically him wanting to know what we see from our side and then try to find the answers."

The Oilers still believe the answers can be found in their own room.

This is the same group of players that went into the year optimistic a new message from a new coaching staff was what was needed to get back into the playoff picture.

But the honeymoon is seemingly over, and the team appears to be spinning its wheels after getting off to a 6-2-1 start.

"We feel we're a better team than our record indicates," Khabibulin said.

"We feel we can definitely play better. That's why we're trying to find answers. It's not fun to have the record that we have now and we want to be in the mix of things and not have to be looking up at other teams."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos