EDMONTON, AB - "It's always nice to spend extra time in New York, but we were pretty burnt out," Oilers forward Milan Lucic said on Monday morning at Rogers Place.
More than two-straight weeks on the road, two trips plus change across the Atlantic Ocean, an exhibition game in Germany and three regular-season stops in Gothenburg, Boston, and New York can do that to you.
The Oilers technically continue their four-game road trip in Winnipeg against the Jets on Tuesday night, but a quick one-day pitstop in Edmonton to visit family and recharge the batteries was long overdue. The Oilers returned home Saturday night after earning their first win of the season in their matinee 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
"It's good to be home and get into a new change of clothes, get your laundry done and have a nice home-cooked meal," Lucic added. "The guys with kids got to spend the whole day with them yesterday, so it was a good day to get re-energized and refocused going into this stretch we have starting tomorrow."
The opportunity to bond as a team, alternatively, served as a positive for an Oilers team that spend the better part of half a month together on the road in Germany, Sweden, and the east coast United States.
"It was nice to be able to spend time on the road - I think we had about six team dinners which is a great thing if you ask me," Lucic said. "We were able to spend all that time together, but it was nice to have some alone time and nice to spend some time at your own home with your family."
Video: RAW | Milan Lucic 10.15.18
The decision to return home during their long road trip was a decision made after receiving the schedule earlier in the off-season.
"I think that was a smart decision on our behalf to come home and use the day to get organized and regroup," McLellan said. "We haven't skated in our building since we played Calgary two-and-a-bit weeks ago, but the road trip continues.
"The building we're going into is not an easy place to play, so we've got a tough task ahead of us. We've got that game, then we'll worry about what happens here at home."
Completing such a long travel stretch and only having three regular season games to show for it boils down to early adversity this season for the Oilers, says captain Connor McDavid.
"It's been a long, long half-month and that's a long road trip just to play three meaningful games. You're kind of waiting around and it just drags on," McDavid said. "Ultimately it was a good experience playing in Europe, but we look forward to getting back at it."