SUN Hockey Pool

Challenging times for Oil

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

EDMONTON - Rather than dismiss the results of a recent poll that listed Edmonton the second-last place NHLers want to play, head coach Tom Renney says the Oilers should take it as a challenge.

Should?

More like they are taking it as a challenge.

They can’t change Edmonton’s climate or location, but they can address the lack of success on the ice, which Renney believes is the real reason the Oilers rank above only the New York Islanders.

“I think it’s a cop out,” he said of suggestions that the city itself is unpalatable. “People want to win, and that’s on us. At some point in time we have to take responsibility as an organization, us as a coaching staff, me as a head coach, to make this as good as it can possibly be so that people want to come here.

“In order to change your culture you have to have patience but you have to identify a need to change. And you have to work on that environment every day. Every single day. Even when it’s crappy, when your team is not doing that well and the standings suggest you’re a bottom feeder.”

The mood, and talent, has certainly improved in the last year.

“I don’t think we have a single player who does not want to come to the rink. The bottom line is this is a great environment right now, and when this thing starts winning, it’ll get that much better.”

LATE HITS: Jordan Eberle (ankle) is expected to draw back into the lineup after missing three weeks, while Ales Hemsky (concussion) has begun skating.


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