Did they go over excuse-making in that mini camp of theirs?
They should have, because despite the best efforts of Pat Quinn and the rest of the coaching staff, the Edmonton Oilers picked up right where they left off before their much-publicized return to square one -- struggling to explain yet another mistake-filled defeat.
Two days of film and practice were supposed to re-energize the troops. The batteries were supposed to be charged, they were supposed to be on the same page and the Xs were supposed to know exactly where the Os were going to be.
But old habits die hard, meaning the Edmonton Oilers died easily.
Needless to say, they expected a lot more out of their first game back.
“You expect to win,” said Steve Staios, after the Oilers fell behind 3-0 after 20 minutes and lost 5-3 to the Nashville Predators in front of about 15,000 and change at Rexall Place.
“You don’t go into a game expecting to lose. We put in a great effort over the weekend. It's disappointing.
“We knew what we wanted to do, we came out hard, and then turnovers led to goals. And their goaltender made some big saves. We got behind early, tried to claw our way back in but we couldn’t get it past him.”
To nobody’s great surprise, there is not going to be any quick fix here.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, you can’t just have two hard days and think everything is going to work perfectly,” said Ryan Potulny. “We did some things better tonight. We still made some mistakes, but we have to take the things we did right into the next game and keep building.
“When you’re down like this you have to get better every day, every game. It’s not just going to magically happen because we had two or three days of hard work.”
The Oilers are now 1-11-1 in their last 13 and so far behind eighth place it’s not even worth counting anymore.
“We played well. We were shooting the puck, we were getting the puck in deep, but the turnovers we make seem to end up in our net almost immediately,” said Dustin Penner. “And that’s always tough to battle back from.”
Jeff Deslauriers was not good. Five minutes in he was already fishing a puck out of his net and at 5:27 Marcel Goc put a backhand over his shoulder. How a six-foot-four netminder gets beat over the shoulder ought to be a topic of discussion at their next mini camp.
At 19:02, JP Dumont’s uncontested wraparound made it 3-0.
“They’re untimely goals, they’re momentum killers,” said Penner. “That seems to be happening to us a lot.”
Six minutes into the third period, Deslauriers sealed his own fate with a giveaway of his own, right onto the stick of Patric Hornqvist to make it 4-0 Predators.
Quinn had seen enough - four goals on 14 shots - to bring out the hook and bring in Devan Dubnyk.
Apparently it took a little while for the mini-camp lessons to sink in because Edmonton didn’t get going till midway through the third.
JF Jacques broke Pekka Rinne’s shutout at 7:22 and Potulny provided a glimmer of hope when he made it 4-2 at 14:29. but Ethan Moreau’s hooking penalty, which the Predators scored on, snuffed out the last of Edmonton’s momentum.
Penner made it 5-3 as the last of the people were filing out of the building.