THE TEAM TODAY: Bouncing Back
THE TEAM TODAY: BOUNCING BACKEDMONTON - The Oilers opted for an off-ice practice this morning as they began preparations for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.
The team looks to bounce back from their 3-0 shutout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and spent Tuesday morning watching video and analyzing their game.
“No question looking at the video this morning, it was a much better 60-minute performance. When you don’t score any goals, the bitterness or the frustration, and the lack of effective powerplay is definitely what remains as the reason not being able to get points out of the game,” said Head Coach Ralph Krueger.
“I would fool everybody out there saying it was an easy situation, it’s not an easy situation but that’s why we’re in these positions, to deal with these difficult situations. Uncomfortable and difficult can be a great opportunity and that’s what we have to try and make out of it.”
Jordan Eberle, who was pointless in Monday’s game echoed Krueger’s comments and said it’s about keeping frustrating out and trying to overcome it.
“I think it’s just a matter of keeping frustration out. I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re frustrated. Anytime you’re not in a playoff spot, it’s tough, but I think we have a good group of guys in there. We’ve been through this the last couple of years and as sad as that is, we’ve dealt with it and we know how to deal with it. It’s a matter of keeping the frustration out and we’ve done a good job of getting there. We want to finish the last three games as strong as we can, starting with Chicago, who is a good team and a win could go a long way with this team and this city.”
Chicago comes into town Wednesday night and are hoping to steal two points from the Oilers to move closer in clinching the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Blackhawks are currently holding the top spot for the Presidents’ Trophy title, but Eberle said they’ll have to fight for it.
He credits the team’s success against Chicago by saying it’s all about the hard work, especially playing against a team like them.
Wednesday night’s game is the third and final meeting between the two teams with the series tied at one game apiece. The Oilers lost the first game in overtime on Feb. 25, and won the second, 6-5 on Mar. 10, taking a possible three of four points from them.
“Anytime you’re playing one of the best team, you’ve got to bring your best game. It brings the best out of you.”
“We’ve had success against them. We beat them a couple of times last year and beat them at the start of the year and for some reason, we match up well against them. I think they have to win to clinch, it’s going to be an important game. This game can go a long way for both teams.”
The Oilers are playing their second last home game and have gone 8-10-4 at Rexall Place. The Oilers may have been eliminated from the playoffs but Krueger said they are still looking towards the future and improving their game.
“That’s why we’re looking at the future, I mean 14 days ago, you’re in the playoff hunt and now, it seems nothing can go right and everything is piled up and we’re climbing a wall that’s very, very large in front of us and we have to make sure we still stay on the job. We’re still a team with growth potential and that’s what we’re focusing on right now. The players getting something of value out of every game, something of value with these challenges that we have, the final three and continue to take experiences with us, is all we can work on.”
“The general heartbeat in there is still an optimistic one, I don’t see a spirit broken here, I see a spirit being grown, a spirit maturing, that’s what I’m feeling in the group.”
-- Wendy Mach, edmontonoilers.com