The Oilers have been searching for answers to their slow start to the season and Dallas Eakins talked about the process involved in trying to right that ship, so to speak.
“Where we’re at with the team, it’s such a challenge to shake it. We’ve done a lot of talking. We had another long meeting this morning sorting out some things. The thing that I like, though, is we had a spirited practice. That was a positive sign. There was a lot of talk on the ice, there was lots of compete on the ice. The practice had a good pace.”
The head coach really liked what he saw from the team, particularly after a long travel day on Sunday.
“That’s the first encouraging thing for our team because where we’re at right now, it’s a depressing state. And usually that falls into your practice where now you start seeing guys fall away. But we didn’t see that today. We saw the exact opposite. I thought guys were digging their heels in during the practice. Now we’ve got to take that into the game.”
He added that it is very important to take the energy from today’s good practice and try and carry it over to tomorrow night’s game against a Panthers squad that has dropped four in a row.
“We can’t just leave it here today. We’ve got to have it tomorrow at 7:30 (eastern time).”
The Oilers have had some success in the buildings they’re visiting on this four-game road trip. They’re 5-5-2 in Florida all-time with four straight wins in South Florida. In Tampa, the Oilers are 7-4-1 all-time. In Philadelphia, Edmonton has won four of the last five and in their last six visits to the United Center in Chicago, they are 4-1-1.
“The first thing we need is a positive step. We need a good first five shifts to get us going and get away from the mistakes we’re making. I think we’re a group right now where our guys care so much that they’re trying to take on the world themselves and we end up giving the puck back to the other team. I believe today was encouraging but this is a trip that, boy, we’d like to make some hay on.”