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Hitchcock upset with Oilers' play, mindset

Coach says team's effort 'not acceptable' after 4-0 loss to Kings

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ken Hitchcock did not hold back when assessing the Edmonton Oilers' effort following a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.

"We didn't compete," said the Oilers coach. "Their best players were their best players. We didn't compete, so this is on everybody. Everybody."

When asked if he was most upset that the Oilers fell behind 3-0 at 13:57 of the first period, Hitchcock had a sharp reply.

"The start? Come on. We had one player show up and play," he said. "Darnell Nurse was our best player by a mile. He was one of the most competitive players on the ice and that's all we had.

"When you have one player that competes at a high level in a game like this, it can't be acceptable. There's been too much of this going on in the first 41 games. We win one and then we take our foot off the gas, and that's exactly what we did."

The Oilers (19-19-3) are sixth in the Pacific Division with 41 points, four behind the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They ended a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday before the loss to the Kings.

"I think you are what you are, and right now, what has to change for us, we're a situation-motivated team," Hitchcock said. "The situation motivates us, and it has to come from in the locker room. So you or I or anybody else, we can bark and [complain] and scream and yell all we want, but it has to come from inside the locker room, and the situation is motivating us.

"I've only been here 21 games (10-9-2), and I see the situation motivates them. We lose, we get embarrassed, we get motivated, and that isn't a playoff team. That isn't a playoff attitude, and we have to change. But this can't be acceptable."

Hitchcock replaced Todd McLellan as Oilers coach on Nov. 20 and went 9-2-2 in his first 13 games before losing seven of the past eight games.

"I don't know what it is, but we'll figure it out," Hitchcock said. "I've said enough. I'm going to get myself in even further trouble. This is not acceptable."

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