Loss leaves Quinn steamed

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 4:54 AM ET

Pat Quinn was probably waiting for it, because he certainly jumped all over it.

The first question of the post-game interview session was about the old first-game-back-from-a-long-road-trip scenario.

At the end of the eruption, in which he declared it was the first time in his 33 games as head coach of the Oilers that he was so angry, Quinn finally answered it.

"If it's the first game back stuff, that's another bloody excuse as far as I'm concerned."

It was a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings coming off an encouraging five-game road trip in which the Oilers dug themselves out of the basement of the Western Conference.

But, while this hockey club has certainly played uglier, more inept games so far in their 15-win season, this one bothered the coach more.

Quinn's post-game comments have had a lot of content and criticism in the past. But last night they came with venom.

"How could you like the result?" he began.

"We were the team that was supposed to be rested and fresh.

"I don't know if there is any excuse for being dumb.

BAD CHANGES

"We don't shoot the puck. We stay out too long. We make bad changes. We do things that beat ourselves.

"It's hard not to be upset.

"Did we do some good stuff? Sure. But not enough good, smart things to win a hockey game.

"If we feel decent that we lost and did a couple of good things or that I looked nice and I stickhandled by somebody once in a while, then we are kidding ourselves because that is the result we will get more often than not," he said.

He barely took a breath.

"I don't get it.

"I haven't felt angry this year. But I am angry about how we played.

"That last goal .... We've given this team four points. They haven't been great shots that beat us. The last one was a floater from the blue-line after we lost the faceoff that we didn't respond to right.

"This one, we didn't put the puck in the right spot and tried to gamble.

"Yeah, we had a guy that got hurt on the shift and it probably should have been a penalty. All probablies.

"We have lots of goddam excuses, but the result is the same.

"We end up being tired and can't cover off and a weak shot goes in again.

"How many times do we have to go through that crap?"

The thing is that this is a team that came back to town with some swagger for the first time since a good opening stretch to start the season. And they were warning themselves about the first-game- back syndrome.

"We talked about it being like that," said Steve Staois.

And then they didn't even listen to themselves.

"There is no excuse for that. We cut corners tonight," the veteran continued.

HIGHER STANDARD

"We have to play to a higher standard. There were times when we did and times when we didn't. We can't afford to let our standards drop."

The phrase "play to a higher standard" came up again and again in post-game interviews.

"We came back from the trip telling ourselves we wanted to set a higher standard for ourselves. And then we went out and didn't do enough to win the game," said defenceman Sherdon Souray.

"We went back to making the extra play.

"On the road, we just put the puck on the net and hoped for good things to happen.

"Then we come home and tried to make the extra move to beat people at the blue-line or to try to get it out of our zone."

Even goaltender Jeff Deslaurier addressed the subject.

"We should not be satisfied with what we did on the road trip," he said.

"If you're a winning team, you don't get satisfied. We wanted to back up what we did on the road.

"And that starts with my play."

If it is the old first-game- back-from-the-long-road-trip scenario, you should know that it's usually not only the first game back from a road trip that they lose.

It's the first two.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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