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THE TEAM TODAY

The Team Today: 'Not acceptable'

After 6-0 loss in Colorado, Oilers endure for worst bag skate of recent memory

Tuesday, 19.01.2010 / 2:37 PM / The Team Today
By Jen Sharpe  - edmontonoilers.com
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The Team Today: \'Not acceptable\'
TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2010
SWEAT EQUITY

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The players knew it wouldn't be pretty and the team's coaches didn't disappoint. After suffering an embarassing 6-0 loss in Denver Monday night, the Oilers took to the ice Tuesday at noon to complete a gruelling hour-long practice of which a healthy portion was dedicated to sprints, laps, and other bag-skate staples.

"
Call it what you want but we had to purge a tough performance in Colorado by doing something that maybe pushed the envelope from a fitness perspective and just cleaned the pipes," Associate Coach Tom Renney said after practice.

"
You're getting rid of it all with hard work and gutting it out and sweating and getting mad and all that kind of stuff, just purge yourself of whatever happened last night in Colorado and get on with the next team which is the Vancouver Canucks and that's what we're going to focus on."

Although the experience was clearly unpleasant for the players, they understood that it was required.

"We're not playing very well so you could expect it," Ladislav Smid said. "Hopefully it's going to make us stronger and we're going to start playing as a team and start winning some games."

Despite their extra gear, goalies Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers fully participated in the skating drills and said the extra effort comes with the territory.

"
It was a tough one, definitely," Dubnyk admitted. "You just kind of grind through it. You need a little bit more extra time to get around the circles or do an extra lap is all . . . The forward crossovers are not my forte, but I just tried to get around the circles."

Smid said the skate was his second worst since his rookie season with the Oilers in 2006-07.

"I remember my first year in Chicago with MacT. It was a full-out bag skate without the pucks, so that was like four years ago. That was the worst. This would be in second place."

NOT PUNISHMENT


From a media perspective, the on-ice activities certainly looked like punishment, but Quinn said otherwise.

"That's not what you try to accomplish," Quinn said. "The message needs to be that, first of all, it's not acceptable what happened last night from us as a team, and that includes coaches. And that's a message that you give verbally anyway. I don't know that slapping them on the wrist or giving them the strap, like they used to when I was a kid at school, does anything for you.

"But I know we needed a good high-tempo skate and we got it this morning," he continued. "I can take a loss -- I don't like losses but I can take it if there's some value in your work. We didn't get a lot of value last night."

INJURY UPDATES

Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Gilbert Brule and Ryan Stone did not participate in the bag skate, and Marc Pouliot left the ice early. Here's what Quinn had to say about the absentees:

Ethan Moreau: "Ethan's neck that he hurt earlier in the season needed a day off recommended by our medical staff."

Steve Staios: "Staios had to get reviewed from his not feeling well, but I think part of it was whacking his head on the ice the other night. . . . He was being seen this morning."

Ryan Stone: "Stoner's getting his knee examined today."

Marc Pouliot: "He's still trying to condition, and so the work load caught up with him and he was getting a little fatigued and a little light-headed out there."

Pouliot may have re-aggravated his sports hernia, Quinn later added, a situation that may re-aggravate Oilers staffing for Wednesday's game vs. Vancouver.

"It looks like we'll be short. Stevie's probably not going to go, so we're trying to identify what we have to do here. Especially we have to clarify if Pouliot might have pulled something again when he left the ice because he left without talking to any of the coaches. We think he's going to be fine but we'd still need another body."

When asked if Mike Comrie may return to the line-up, Quinn said no. "He hasn't even scrimmaged. It's too much risk."

Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
OILERS at AVALANCHE:
AT THE MORNING SKATE


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GAME PHOTO GALLERY
After taking Sunday off to help some players beat a resurgence of the flu bug, the Oilers took to the ice for morning skate Monday at Pepsi Center in Denver.

After earning a goal and five assists in  a four-game conditioning assignment with the AHL's Springfield Falcons,
Marc Pouliot was recalled earlier in the day and joined the team in Denver.
Despite playing three games the past three days, the forward is eager to make it four-in-four tonight.

"I know I'm going to get sore here and there. If I play tonight it's going to be four games in four nights so it might be stiff. But overall I feel really good and I'm really happy to be back," he said.

Pouliot knows tonight's game will be faster and tougher than the AHL games he appeared in, but he's confident that he can contribute at this level.

"I haven't played (in the NHL) since pre-season so I don't know exactly how I'm going to react, but it went well in the minors. For sure it's a step forward here, a big step, but I think I'm ready for it."

The flu strikes again

With Pouliot's return, the Oilers will be able to ice a full contingent vs. the Avalanche, offsetting
Steve Staios, who will miss the game due to the flu. The defenceman is the latest of a handful of players to succumb to the bug.

"Marc's played three games in three nights so initially I was hesitant," Head Coach Pat Quinn said after the morning skate. "If Stevie had been alright I might not have played him, but let's go. Let's find out."

"(
Fernando Pisani) was feeling a lot better yesterday," the coach continued. "[Shawn Horcoff] had a hard game the other night because he had lots of minutes, and it'll be the same for Fernando tonight. But they're ready to play and hopefully we don't drain them too much for this."

Deslauriers or Dubnyk? Decisions, decisions ...

After giving
Devan Dubnyk the start the past two games, Quinn has tapped Jeff Deslauriers for tonight's game.

"The book has not been written on either guy yet. I think we have to find out about these young men. Are they number ones yet? I don't think so, but we need to find out if one of them can step forward and continue to improve," Quinn said.

"They will probably have an opportunity to play lots of hockey between the two of them from here to the end of the season."


AVALANCHE 6 - OILERS 0

It was a case of the Mondays that the Oilers and their fans would like to forget. Faced with a divisional opponent with offensive firepower and impenetrable defences, the Oilers were unable to keep the Avalanche from tallying two goals per period en-route to a 6-0 trouncing in Denver.

Colorado goalie Craig Anderson stopped 24 shots for his fourth perfect game of the season, while at the opposite end of the net,
Jeff Deslauriers made 28 saves on 34 shots. Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
 
SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2010
SHARKS 4 - OILERS 2

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PRE-GAME VIDEO POST-GAME VIDEO
GAME PHOTO GALLERY
The Oilers battled hard through a rare West Coast matinee, but the club could couldn't overcome the dangerous Sharks and suffered a 4-2 loss Saturday. Denis Grebeshkov scored Edmonton's first goal of the game, Patrick O'Sullivan snagged his club's first shorthanded goal of the season, and Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves in his second consecutive start.

FIRST PERIOD

The Sharks swarmed Dubnyk early in the game, and at the four-minute mark the pressure paid off. From deep in the corner, Patrick Marleau's centering pass deflected off the goalie and across the line for the first goal of the game.

San Jose fired two shots for every Edmonton attempt as the period continued, but the Oilers would be the next to make one count.
Sam Gagner skated the puck into the Sharks zone and passed it over to Grebeshkov on the left wing, and the blueliner wired it over Thomas Greiss to tie the game at one.

With just over two minutes left on the clock,
Dustin Penner took a high-sticking minor and the Sharks benefited from the game's first powerplay. Midway through the five-on-four, Devin Setoguchi caught the inside of the far post to renew his club's lead heading into the second period.

SECOND PERIOD

The Oilers had little time to settle into the middle frame before Setoguchi struck again. Only 22 seconds after puck drop, the swarming Sharks forward wristed the puck past a scrambling Dubnyk, doubling his goal total and his team's lead.

In the later half of the period, the Sharks got their fourth goal. With Dubnyk covering Doug Murray to his left, the Shark blueliner wired the puck to Joe Thornton on the opposite side, and Thornton tapped it into the open net to set the score 4-1.

THIRD PERIOD

An early slashing minor to
Sheldon Souray put the Oilers down a man for the second time, but the club killed the two minutes to stay within three. The visitors started to click after the penalty, crafting a pair of solid scoring chances, but Greiss and his defenders turned away each attempt to maintain their lead.

Edmonton's energy was briefly stalled when Gagner was called for hooking, but the club got it back even before the two minutes were complete. Although
Andrew Cogliano's shorthanded attempt was unsuccessful, O'Sullivan's shot found the back of the net 15 seconds later. The unassisted shortie, Edmonton's first of the season, got the club back within two.

But that's as close as they'd come. Despite pulling Dubnyk in the final minute, the Oilers couldn't make up the difference and suffered a 4-2 loss in San Jose.


Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010
PRACTICE IN SHARK TANK #2

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The Oilers left Edmonton mid-morning and landed in San Jose early Friday afternoon, stopping first at the Sharks practice facility for a skate.

"You always expect the unexpected," said Oilers Associate Coach Tom Renney when asked about the tough season so far and whether it was something his staff had anticipated. "The big thing for all of us is to be true to ourselves, true to our organization."

Renney continued to remain positive, looking at the larger picture and not just the results he has witnessed from this current season.

"I look at it as a great challenge and probably the first step in making sure the Edmonton Oilers are not just significant in the next little while but in years to come," Renney continued.

"We want to make sure we lay the groundwork and I think that's the trick to making sure it's a good organization is to make sure it lasts a long time."


SICK BAY

Shawn Horcoff did not skate today in San Jose, after missing Thursday's game with an illness.Ryan Stone also didn't skate and is questionable for tomorrow. Gilbert Brule remained at home in Edmonton having not made the trip as he continues to battle the flu.

As the flu starts to creep up on the team again, Renney didn't want to use any of that as an excuse.

"We've just got to play hockey. There are a lot of people in less fortunate situations than we are, we've just got to get the job done."

Author: Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
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