Oilers take stock of first half of season

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

EDMONTON — Red lights?

With eight goals in their last six games there haven’t been many of those around the Oilers these days.

Red faces?

They’re everywhere.

“It’s embarrassing,” winger Patrick O’Sullivan said of the struggling’s franchise’s ugly predicament. “You ask anybody, from coaches to management to players, I don’t think anybody would have thought we’d be in this position at the current point in the season.”

The Oilers have sucked before, but never this bad this early. Out of the playoff race before the season is half over is about as bad as it gets.

“There’s nowhere to hide and there’s no other way to put it, we’re in the worst situation you can possibly be in,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray. “We’re in 15th place, we’ve got one win in our last 10 games, it’s as embarrassing as you ever want to get as a professional athlete.

“We’ve done this to ourselves. We’ve really just not played well at all.”

They’re 15 points out of a playoff spot, 18 points behind Phoenix (seriously 18 behind Phoenix), who visit Tuesday.

“Right now it’s really hard for us to see the light at the end of the tunnel and say we’re doing pretty good right now, we’re just not getting the breaks,” said Souray. “That’s kind of a loser’s mentality. The reality is we haven’t played well enough to win games.

“When you’re lacking the fundamentals of the game, then you’re in trouble and that’s what happened to us. The snowball started to roll and it became an avalanche.

“What’s important for us is our attitude, maintaining a positive attitude. It’s not easy, I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re going to go in the back and play a game of charades because we’re not. But we have to try and find a way out of this.

“We have the ability to change it, it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s not going happen in the next five games, but it can be a good start for us.”

As far back as the Oilers are, most people believe the season is already lost and some of the veterans are about to be sold off. That’s probably true, but there are still 40 games to play and pulling the chute will only make things worse.

“It’s inevitable that people will start talking about what might happen to the team,” said O’Sullivan. “You try to block that out and stay as positive and tight as a group as possible. Try to improve. That’s all you can do.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself or think abut what could have been. We have a game coming up and we need to win it, desperately. That’s all we can worry about.”

Or it only gets worse.

“We’re halfway through and it’s been a really frustrating, embarrassing and discouraging first half for us, no question,” said Souray. “We can have a better second half. All we have really now is our reputation and how people are going to view us not only as players but as a team.”


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