NEW YORK -- Heading into their game Thursday against the New York Rangers with a 19-33-6 record that is the worst in the Western Conference, the Edmonton Oilers obviously are disappointed about what was supposed to be a bounce-back season. With some veteran acquisitions during the summer and a new coach in Dallas Eakins, the hope was Edmonton could make it back to the postseason for the first time since their run to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
That hasn't happened, but with a crop of dynamic young talent and a 4-1-0 stretch heading into the Olympic break, the Oilers still believe the best is yet to come.
"I think we need more wins, just for everybody to get a monkey off their back," said Oilers captain Andrew Ference, who signed as a free agent in the summer. “In a short time frame, when you string together three wins, you just see how much different those young guys carry themselves and how they practice.
"Stringing together a good section of the season I think will go miles for the young guys. Finish strong so you're going into the summer saying, 'The year wasn't a waste. It was a frustrating year, we lost, we hate it, but it wasn't a waste because now we're going into next year with a foundation.' Even in the short winning streaks we've had we've seen flashes of that. That's what we need."