The coaches dressed them down after class on Sunday and the general manager called them together for another scolding before practice on Monday.
Clearly, Oilers brass feels the same way about its hockey team that you do. Not pleased.
“It’s a pretty common theme that nobody is happy with the effort we put forth out there, especially at home,” captain Shawn Horcoff said of the weekend debacles against Ottawa and Anaheim. “We had a good a talk about it today and we’ll see how we respond. The challenge has been put forth. Tuesday is going to be a real gut check.”
The Oilers usually take well to a newspaper across the nose. Head coach Tom Renney criticized their lack of heart after a mid-season sleeper in Phoenix and the club went 7-3-1 in its next 11.
After Horcoff called a team meeting in Nashville, Edmonton won 4-0, its only win in the last eight starts.
“We’ve responded well to it other times,” said Horcoff. “And I expect Tuesday will be no different.”
Horcoff, who sat out the weekend losses with bronchitis, expects to be back. He’s still sniffling like a six-year-old, but feels good enough to go.
“I had a tough time breathing,” he said. “I tried skating Sunday and couldn’t get much air in. It was a lot better today.”
He’d only been back nine games after missing six weeks with a knee injury.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “Some injuries have been difficult to deal with but there’s a lot of hockey left and we have some improving to do as a team, coming off these last couple of games.”
KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Taylor Hall, coming off back-to-back Memorial Cups, has done more losing in the last five months than he’s done in his whole life.
Being in the NHL is still pretty cool, though.
“People said there were going to be growing pains here, but I’m still having a lot of fun,” said the 19-year-old, who’s two goals away from shooting his age. “The last three games haven’t been what we’ve wanted, but at the same time I think we’ve accomplished a lot as a team.”
It’s going to take a lot to rub the shine off his first season in the bigs.
“As players we don’t really listen to the (sports talk) radio or anything like that,” he said. “I think about (the Oilers slump) at the rink, but I made a promise to myself that as soon as I get in the car I’m done thinking about it. I go home, rest, relax and forget about it.”
Are the young players in the lineup learning how to lose?
“That’s not how it happens,” he said. “Everyone wants to win in here. We never come here expecting to lose. We think we’re going to win and we prepare like we’re going to win.
“We want to win pretty bad. We’re going to be winners.”