As the team regroups from the Oilers loss, one player in particular is focused on making some changes.
“I’m just pretty inconsistent right now,” said Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz. “I’ll be having a good game then make a bad play and it costs the game.”
It’s hard to admit, but it’s also considered the first step before turning it around.
When a team isn’t producing the results they know they’re capable of, you can’t just abandon ship. There’s a process involved, where piece-by-piece, the system is broken down and reviewed to see where there is room for improvement and how coaches can help players progress.
“Schultzy didn’t have a good game last night. He’d be the first one to admit it, I’m sure that he did,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
“His input into the game was negative, it hurt the team, but he’s also a player that we have to get up and running, or try to get more out of. We have to challenge him and that’s what we’re doing over the next little bit here.”
McLellan and the coaches look to challenge Schultz and the team in many different aspects, aside from what is taught on the ice. It involves more than just correcting a player’s position but building their self-assurance.
“I see an individual right now who is not very confident,” said McLellan. “He’s feeling the heat, the pressure from a lot of different areas — whether it’s media, whether it’s the fans, whether it’s the coaching staff, teammates, whatever it might be…. Some individuals respond differently to that, some can excel and push their way through it and others struggle with it.”
In the meantime, Schultz is working hard to help the team find a successful footing once again.
“Just being focussed every shift and try and help the team win.”