SUN Hockey Pool

Patience pays off for Horcoff

Taylor Hall celebrates his overtime goal with teammates Shawn Horcoff, left, and Ales Hemsky. Amber...

Taylor Hall celebrates his overtime goal with teammates Shawn Horcoff, left, and Ales Hemsky. Amber Bracken, Edmonton Sun

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 AM ET

Shawn Horcoff’s offensive issues have seemingly dogged him all season.

But with a dazzling no-look assist on Tayor Hall’s overtime winner against the L.A. Kings last night, the Oilers captain is hoping to get back on track.

“I’ve been through tough stretches before, but that’s because I was playing like (crap) and felt like (crap),” said Horcoff.

Horcoff has eight goals on the year, but only one since Nov. 25. He has just three points in his last 17 games.

“I’ve never gone through a stretch like this,” he said. “But it’s just a matter of being patient. There’s not much you can do. You come to the rink, you put in the time and you try to work hard every day.

“The hardest thing is battling the frustration. When you get out there and you get the chances, but they aren’t going in, that can be frustrating.”

In the past, Horcoff may have looked to change his routine in order to alter his luck. But the veteran says he’s beyond that now.

“I’m too old for that,” he said. “I would have changed everything before, but I realize that doesn’t change anything.

“Slumps are going to happen, and most of the time, if you’re feeling good, it’s a mindset and not being calm in the scoring areas.

“When guys change a stick or something, it’s an ease of mind and it calms them a little bit. But there are other ways to do that.”

Wake-up call

Devan Dubnyk got an early wake-up call against the Kings, taking a Jarret Stoll shot off his mask in the first period.

The Oilers goaltender needed a moment to gather himself after the shot.

“It was a knucklebal — but it was still heavy,” Dubnyk said.

“It hit me on the side and knocked off every buckle on my mask. It gets you going pretty quickly.”

Modern masks are designed to have pucks ricochet off them instead of absorbing the impact.

“The only shots that will really hurt are the ones that you get on the chin or on the side, anything direct,” Dubnyk said. “If you get one straight in the mouth or the forehead, those are the only ones that will hurt. It stings a little bit, but it’s not bad. It’s like getting slapped in the face.”

After the puck bounced off his head and into the stands, Dubnyk took a couple of minutes to snap the buckles back into place.

“There were four buckles that had popped off,” he said. “They’re designed to do that.”

Shootin’ gallery

Ales Hemsky had five shots on net and six others that just missed the target.

It was Hemsky’s shot in overtime that led to Taylor Hall’s winning goal.

“We’ve been working on that,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We’d like him to shoot — and he’s got a bomb for a slap shot.”

Belanger hobbled

Eric Belanger was unable to play aftering injuring his leg in Friday’s loss to Anaheim.

The centre’s status for Tuesday’s game in Columbus is still unknown.

“I’m not sure exactly, his leg is bothering him a little bit,” Renney said.

“We’ll see how he’s doing when we get on the road.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

Twitter@SUNdvandiest 


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