The Oilers took yesterday off and used their practice today to refocus ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Coyotes.
“After a trip, it’s always nice to just get home, unwind for a bit and get back at it,” Mark Fayne said.
“It was good having a day yesterday to kind of regroup,” Boyd Gordon added. “We had a good skate today and to get that little bit of extra rest for the game tomorrow. We need to come out ready and have a good 60-minute game.”
After two tough overtime losses on the road, the players were happy to get some rest and a chance to reset before they play again.
“It’s tough, especially with the streak we’re on now,” Fayne said. “We thought we played two strong games and definitely could have won both of them. Right now, you can’t dwell on that. You’ve just got to keep moving forward because there is still a lot of hockey left and I think we have a lot of good hockey left too.”
The Oilers placed winger Jesse Joensuu on waivers this morning for the purpose of assignment. The decision to do so was based on the pressure coming from the minors. Players in Oklahoma City are pushing for a chance in the NHL.
“It’s a hard decision,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “The thing you can never forget is we have players here, but we have a whole bunch of players in Oklahoma City that are improving and getting better. Some of those players now are ready for another look, or their first look. Unfortunately, rightly or wrongly, Jesse gets caught in the crosshairs there. Jesse went on waivers today, it gives him the chance to be picked up by 29 other teams and if he doesn’t get picked up then we’ll decide what to do with him tomorrow, once we see what happens.”
The OKC Barons have won five games in a row, and have earned points in their last seven.
The Oilers probably played one of their best games of the season against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Despite outshooting their opponent 37-25, the Oilers fell in overtime. They played well again against St. Louis that next night, but fell again in overtime.
The Oilers watched two leads disappear in that 4-3 loss to the Blues.The team is hoping to have more consistency with the way they play moving forward.
“We’d like way more consistency,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought we had that game in Nashville. We’ve talked a lot about that game and that’s the game we want to play 5-on-5, with a little more finish. Our power play has to step up in certain games like that. Then going into St. Louis, that’s the challenge in this league to be able to bring that game every night. It’s a difficult thing to do but it’s a necessity. What you run into is you’ve played, you’ve played a hard game the night before, there’s been some guys play some heavy minutes and now you have to do it again against a team that’s been sitting there waiting for you for a few days. You can’t run into the excuse in this league that we’ve played back-to-back and we’re just going to grind out a point. You have to find a way to get both.”
The Oilers were 0-for-4 on the power play against Nashville on Thursday night, in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Predators. They weren’t awarded a power play on Friday night, in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blues. Overall, Edmonton’s man advantage is 28th in the NHL at 12%.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the lack of power play success is just a lack of execution. Despite numerous setups and an increase in shot volume, the team hasn’t been able to convert.
“It’s execution,” Eakins said. “I think we’ve tried every setup possible here now. We’ve had every entry possible. Our shot volume is good, compared to the other teams in the league. Our entries are good, compared to the other teams in the league, but we haven’t had the finish. We have to be willing to be ready for that one chance you might get to put the puck in the net. It comes down to execution. Our shot volume, our ability to enter the zone, the different setups are no different than the other teams in the league. But in the end, that power play always comes down to execution and we’ll continue to try to work on it everyday.”
The Oilers are on the ice at the Royal Glenora Club for practice.
The team has not run line rushes yet, but by sock colour the lines are:
Hendricks (leg) not skating
Trades are a part of the business of hockey. Players understand that in the media and amongst fans, trade rumours can circulate involving their name.
David Perron has been a subject of such rumours as of late. The Oilers winger brushes it off and tries to stay focused on one day at a time.
"It's just the way it goes,” Perron said. “One more day in the NHL and we keep going. There's always rumours, and obviously it's been more and more the last little while. I'm just trying to stay focused on this team and stay positive."
The Oilers acquired Perron in a trade with St. Louis on July 10, 2013.
A 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks had the Oilers players frustrated in the locker room, but they aren’t pointing fingers at anyone but themselves.
“It’s on us,” Taylor Hall said. “It’s our fault as players and we’re going to have to make up for that.”
Andrew Ference said, “I think all we ask of each other is to play to the potential of what we know each guy can bring. You set the bar at a certain level and you have to meet it. You have to get up to that level, whether they scored a goal or not. Get over it. That didn’t happen. I think the play dipped after they scored the first goal. It took way too long to recover from that. That’s just every guy having the mental ability to shake it off and get back after business.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added, “It’s all on us. Nobody can control the game except us. We go out there every night and we’re the ones competing out there. It’s all on the players in here and we’ve just got to find a way to motivate ourselves to get back on track and push forward.”
“Everyone has to take ownership,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “You can keep talking about it or you can do it.”
After a 7-1 loss, the pressure to turn things around is on full blast. Head Coach Dallas Eakins said he’s ready to take it on.
“I face it head-on,” he said. “If I wasn’t up to the task I wouldn’t be here, I would go do something else or I would have taken another line of work. For me, we’ll get out of the rink tonight, probably won’t sleep much, spend the day with my family and then it’s going to be right back to work to try and get the group past this to refocus and get a refresher for our team and get ready for Dallas. If we’re going to sit and cry over the losses then we’re never ever going to get out of it. The feeling sorry for ourselves, that doesn’t work. The pain I feel is for our organization and our city. That’s what I feel. That’s what helps you focus to get onto the next one.”
The Oilers lost their sixth-straight game tonight, their fifth straight at home. The Oilers players were notably frustrated with how they closed out their homestand.
“It was a good opportunity for us to have five games at home,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We didn’t take advantage of it. We thought tonight really ended off the way we’ve been playing the last few games. It’s unacceptable. You can’t go down 3-0 in this league. It’s impossible to come back against a team like that. We’ve done it in the past little while a few times now. It can’t happen and we have to move forward onto the road trip.”
Benoit Pouliot left the ice after taking a shot off the skate. He has been ruled out indefinitely with a broken foot.
“I don’t know how long he’ll be out for, but usually that is sidelined for awhile," Head Coach Dallas Eakins said after the game.
Benoit Pouliot (broken foot) will be sidelined indefinitely.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 22, 2014