Consecutive losses to their arch rivals likely didn't have the Oilers in a great mood to start Monday morning, and for eight players, it only got worse.
Oilers coaches and management made some difficult decisions and trimmed their roster by six forwards and two defencemen, bringing the total number of players in camp to 24 The club must be down to 23 by Wednesday.
Linus Omark and Chris Vande Velde were assigned to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons, while Shawn Belle, Alexandre Giroux, Ryan O'Marra, Ben Ondrus, Richard Petiot and Liam Reddox were placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the Barons.
It was a "tough day," Head Coach Tom Renney said, but he hopes players are motivated by the experience.
"I think that all of these people today need to recognize that this is still very much the front end of a work in progress and it doesn't let anybody off the hook, myself especially," Renney explained. "What they have to remember is that this will be a body of work over time that I think they should want to be a part of because this is a pretty exceptional organization, in my mind, with a great landscape."
Some of the more veteran players, like Ondrus and Belle, have been through final camp cuts before and had a positive perspective on the experience.
"It's never easy being reassigned but they've got numbers to get down too and unfortunately I was not in the mix right now," Ondrus said. "It's what they feel they need to go ahead and have a good season, and hopefully down the road I can still be a part of it."
"It's a pretty disappointing time right now," Belle added. "There's obviously some positives I've got to take out of it, that I still stuck around here for a little bit.
"I just had my meeting -- it was positive. They just told me to continue to work hard down in Oklahoma City and show that I belong in the NHL and just go from there."
Rookie O'Marra said his first reaction to the 8:30am phone call was shock, then disappointment.
"I was already awake -- I haven't been sleeping much the past few days. I knew it was coming between eight and nine so I was up at about eight, just sitting around and hoping it didn't come," he reflected.
"It was just kind of paralyzing when he (Patrick Garland, Oilers Team Services Manager) called. When I picked up the phone, I didn't say much at first -- I didn't say anything actually -- I just heard Patty say what he had to say. And just said thank you. I couldn't really speak."
Fellow rookie Omark was also tight-lipped.
"Of course I'm disappointed, but I'm going to go to Oklahoma and do my best there and hopefully come back," he said to the media.
When asked if he felt he was given an opportunity to succeed, Omark replied,"I don't want to discuss that. I want to play, so that's all I can say."
Renney understood Omark's reaction.
"Everybody aspires to the NHL, at least I hope they do, so he can comment however he chooses. I have no trouble with that whatsoever. It's an emotional time -- he believes he's an NHL player. Good for him."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer