THE TEAM TODAY

THE TEAM TODAY: Road Ready

Oilers get one last practice at Rexall Place before jetting south to Calgary

Monday, 25.10.2010 / 3:58 PM / The Team Today
By Jen Sharpe  - edmontonoilers.com
X
Share with your Friends


THE TEAM TODAY: Road Ready
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25

ROAD READY

The Oilers held an hour-long practice Monday morning before hopping on a flight to Calgary in the afternoon.

The club is eager to stop its current four-game skid and earn its first road win of the season with a victory Tuesday night vs. the Flames.

"We don't want to get used to what's happening right now," Head Coach Tom Renney said to the media after the skate. "It's one thing to get beaten, it's another thing to lose, and what we don't want to do is get beaten. We certainly don't want to beat ourselves and we don't want to get kind of pushed around and tossed around in a game where we just can't compete.

"The bottom line is, if what you're going to do is put your best foot out there and give it your best shot, then if you lose, you lose. But if you don't compete, then it's a different ballgame."

According to defenceman Tom Gilbert, the team had trouble sticking to the game plan Saturday night vs. San Jose, resulting in a 6-1 loss.

"We want to do things that give us the best chance to win and we kind of went out of our element a little bit," he said. "It's not going to win any games in this league, so we've got to find some kind of consistency."

GUESS THE GOALIE

So far this season, one of the only places the Oilers have found consistency is in net. But that could change on this three-game road trip.

When asked about whether back-up goalies Devan Dubnyk or Jeff Deslauriers will see action on the trip, Renney answered, "I think I've made up my mind."

When asked if both young goalies would play, Renney said only "They could."

ONE-ON-ONE

In the latest edition of our fan question series, Tony of Edmonton submitted a question for Devan Dubnyk.

TONY: "After not having a start so far this season, how do you prepare physically and mentally until you're called upon to start or play in any situation it may be?"

Devan Dubnyk

DEVAN: "I just try to prepare the same way. I think the key to being consistent, whether you're a starter or a back-up, is to practice the same way every day and prepare the same way every day. You can't look too far in advance and over-prepare for a game if you know it's a week away. You just have to come to the rink the same way every day, whether you're playing every day or you're playing once every two weeks. It's not the easiest thing to do, but it's what you have to try to do.

As for whether it's harder physically or mentally, it's a little bit of both. Being in a game is a lot different than practice, so it takes a while for your body to get used to moving around in the net. Mentally also, it takes you a little bit to get back in. But if you're just confident in your ability and you don't over-think it too much, it doesn't take too long when you get back in there."

Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.


Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Jack Michaels

 
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24

SOLVING SPECIAL TEAMS

After dropping their fourth straight game on Saturday night and giving up a handful of power play goals yet again, the Oilers spent a good majority of their Sunday morning going over video as they prepare to turn things around on their upcoming three-game road swing.

"I'd like to be able to put my finger on one issue but it's more than just that. It's a combination of people, execution," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.

"We've got to really make sure we fortify that. In our own end as much as we want to pressure, we've got to make sure we do it collectively and intelligently. We can't become disconnected, which we did. That's why we do video."

The penalty kill started out great with a shorthanded goal from Jordan Eberle but then proceeded to give up three power play markers to a hungry Sharks team.

"They're a good change team so you can't let yourself get outchanged," Renney remarked.

The coach noted that another big issue last night in particular was the power play which did not accomplish a whole lot despite a myriad of chances.

"When we got pucks through, where was our battle level there? As the game went on that might have spoke to the biggest issue of all. Our willingness to battle through a tough set of circumstances."

JACQUES GETTING CLOSER

The only Oilers player who was on the ice Sunday was forward J-F Jacques. Jacques projects a mid-November return as he continues to recover from a back injury that has had him sidelined since February.

"Since the beginning, it's always been a work in progress, going week-by-week to see what's going on," Jacques said. "I still have a little bit of tightness in my lower back that we want to get rid of before it's time to play."

The rough-and-tumble forward was working with Oilers Skating & Skills Coach Steve Serdachny and looks to be skating with the Oil Kings next week while the Oilers are on the road.

"Next road trip I'd like to hopefully get on the road and get playing by mid-November or something."

Head coach Tom Renney agreed that timeline would likely fit should Jacques experience no setbacks.

"It's going to be a little while yet. Anybody that's been on the shelf for a certain number of games I've got a little protocol that I like to implement that will suggest whether he's game-ready from a metabolic point of view," Renney stated. "We're a few weeks away yet with Jocko."

GOALTENDING SITUATION

Another question surrounding the Oilers is when one of the other two goaltenders will end up seeing some action. Renney did not pinpoint a date but did say it would be soon.

"We've got to make sure we get another goaltender in here," Renney said. "The workload hasn't been too tough on Khabi but it will. We need to know which one of our guys is the more capable goaltender under those circumstances so no better time than right now."

With the large Sharks lead last night, it did cross Renney's mind to pull Khabibulin in favour of some playing time for Deslauriers.

"I did (think about it) but then I thought 'okay let him finish it out'," Renney remarked. "He's got to battle through all of it too. He's got to show this group how to stay in the game. If we were playing today, for example, I would have done something for sure. If we were playing tomorrow even, I would have done something.

"He's a good leader, an excellent leader in fact and him staying in the battle is important."

BARONS CLIP BULLDOGS IN OT

One day after the Edmonton Oilers dropped a decision on CBC, their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City pulled out a victory on the same network.

Alex Giroux scored with just over a minute to play in overtime as the Barons defated Hamilton 3-2. Jeff Petry and Colin McDonald got the other markers as the Barons improved to 4-4-1-0 on the season.

WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS

ONE-ON-ONE

In the latest edition of our fan question series, Daniel from Schweinfurt, Germany submitted a question for Jordan Eberle.

DANIEL: "What's it like to play in an offensive line with veteran Shawn Horcoff and how does that help you improve your game?"

JORDAN: "He's a great two-way player and even in practice little things you pick up like the gap control in the defencemen are stuff that he's taught me. It's really given me confidence, just that veteran presence that he has."

Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.


Author: Marc Campa | edmontonoilers.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23

OILERS vs. SHARKS:
AT THE MORNING SKATE

Follow an impressive effort but disappointing result vs. Minnesota, the Oilers were back on the ice to fine-tune their skills and strategies heading into tonight's game vs. San Jose.

Edmonton is expected to keep the lines consistent, with one notable exception: on the blue line, Jason Strudwick moves in to replace Theo Peckham. Tonight's game will be Strudwick's first of the season.

"It's a great sport and I love to play, otherwise I would be doing something else," the veteran defenceman said. "The Sharks are a good squad, so obviously we'll have to be jumping. I'm going to play with Jim (Vandermeer) and we know each other pretty well. We played together before, so it's kind of a nice fit for my first game."

HALL FOR ONE

Although the Oilers came out on the losing end of Thursday's game vs. the Wild, the club's youngest player, Taylor Hall, greatly contributed to the team's dynamic play.

The first-overall pick, who is still looking for his first NHL goal, credited chemistry with linemates Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule as well as quality offensive opportunities for his stand-out performance.

"We were really clicking," he said. "I think we just kind of dedicated ourselves to working hard and battling for the puck and just having a high compete level. We did that, and throughout the game we had a lot of time in the offensive zone and we didn't spend a whole lot of time in our own end, that's always good for a line.

"Hopefully we can keep that going tonight and also chip in for a win."

Associate Coach Ralph Krueger said Hall is a work in progress.

"We know it's coming piece by piece," the coach said. "He's taking care of a lot of things at the same time, not only off-ice and his defensive game, so we have to respect that he's putting his pro package together. But that was a great step in the right direction."

FORMIDABLE FOES

Hall and all his teammates will need to come together to pull off a win tonight. The Sharks are a talented group, but Oilers coaches and players are prepared for the attack.

"The keys are definitely going to be that we continue with the pressure that we exerted in the last two periods of the Minnesota game," Krueger explained. "We want to be in their face, we want to get our forecheck alive and go in for that, we need to be smart in the neutral zone with the puck, we want to continue to improve defensively. I thought we didn't give up a lot in the last 55 minutes of the game, and we've got to keep up that stance."

"We're excited to go at them," he added. "It's a big challenge for us, we'll get to know our strengths tonight."

SHARKS 6 - OILERS 1

The Oilers struck early with a shorthanded goal from Jordan Eberle but it was all Sharks after that as San Jose cruised to a 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night on the strength of three power play goals.

Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer


INSIDE THE OILERS