Oilers looking to regroup
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Chase Hammell (left), 12, and Jake Huculak, 12, watch the Oilers Skills Competition at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Jan. 14, 2012. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers showed up at Rexall Place Saturday still trying to wash the stench off a foul performance the night before.
But as much as the club wants to put behind a 5-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Friday, they also want to take lessons from it to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.
“It’s not like it’s been a consistent thing for us,” said captain Shawn Horcoff. “We feel like in the majority of the games, the effort has been there and we’re obviously a better team than that. I think our best bet is leaving that behind, we had a great skate and want to get ready for (Sunday).
“The good thing is that we have some guys that have been through this before. For me it’s a mentality thing, you have to come to the rink and regroup. You have to be ready to leave that behind, get ready for the next night and put a good day’s work in.”
The Oilers have not put up as many stinkers this year as they have in previous seasons. The club has actually been in more games this season than they have in the last two years.
But as head coach Tom Renney pointed out following practice Saturday, there have been a few that are starting to creep up on the club.
“We’ve had enough of them,” Renney said. “We had a couple against Phoenix, we had one against Carolina here, we had one (Friday) night. The last period on Long Island wasn’t good. So we’ve had enough to suggest that it’s problematic if we let it continue.
“It doesn’t matter what our roster looks like, we have to play hard. We need to do that and those guys know it.”
Horcoff suggested Friday’s contest spiraled out of control due to the frustration which has set into the club.
The Oilers have gone from being at the top of the Western Conference standings after the first month of the season to sitting near the bottom before the all-star break.
It’s not the way the organization envisioned the year unfolding considering the goal was to challenge for a playoff spot.
“When frustration sets in, it’s really tough to play the game,” Horcoff said. “You get caught in between trying to do too many things, and maybe not enough, and it’s really a fine line.
“You can’t become individualistic in situations like this. Unfortunately, I’ve been in situations like this and I know where it can go and we don’t want to let that happen here. In the same respect we have to think about the big picture. We’re injured. We’re banged up right now. We have a lot of our key guys out. We just need to continue to ply forward and get back to what we were doing the five or six games before the other night, where we’re competitive every game. we’re giving ourselves a chance to win. That’s the type of hockey we want to get back to playing.”
The Oilers will get that opportunity Sunday with the Los Angeles Kings in town. It’s the last of a three-game home stand for the Oilers before they head out on the road for a two-game stint in Columbus and St. Louis.
The best way to put a game like Friday behind them would be to come out and play well Sunday.
“We’re a better team than what we’re showing and after the break we’re going to be a lot healthier,” Horcoff said. “We have a lot of games left. There’s half the season and we need to keep that in focus and make sure we’re getting better moving forward.”