AT THE HEART OF IT
Athough Rexall Place was absent of chocolate and flowers this Valentine's Day, the Oilers used the most romantic day of the year to mend a rocky relationship with the object of their affection: the win column.
Wooing the win column hasn't been easy for Edmonton this season. Although the Oilers had posted some strong performances over the past few weeks, Sunday night's 4-0 loss to Anaheim was a disappointing derailment.
"Up until the midpoint of the second period I thought we had lots of opportunity to score goals and even take the lead," head coach Tom Renney said after practice. "When they scored their second goal, I wondered where our team went. I don't know if that's mental toughness, if it's succumbing to the situation, the circumstances, and saying 'Oh well' and that's certainly what we have to avoid, if that were the case."
In anticipation of Tuesday's game vs. Dallas, General Manager Steve Tambellini held a closed-door meeting with the players prior to practice.
"There was a lot of people involved, a lot of comments going on," captain Shawn Horcoff later explained. "We've had a few of these talks this year at certain times and responded well to that so I think the challenge has been put forth.
"It's a pretty common theme that everyone's not really happy with the effort that was put forth out there, especially at home. We had a good talk about it today but we'll see how guys respond to it tomorrow. I expect it to be back to the way we know we can play, high energy and high intensity."
Renney did not attend the meeting but was confident the message was well-received.
"In terms of what [Tambellini] views from up top there and the circumstances that he sees around every team in the NHL right now, with the date and what looms on the horizon, I think it was important for Steve to come in and deliver a message, and it was a very good one," Renney said. "We're all trying to go in the same direction here and it doesn't hurt to change the voice once in a while."
Reiterating a familiar message, the coach added that positivity, development, and evolution continue to be Oilers priorities.
"We're not here to tweak this culture, we're here to change it. And it's painful. I've said it before: it's like putting a cast on an arm that's broken. You just can't do what you want to do and it's not a lot of fun, there's no latitude, but you've got to fix the break and our team's been broken. This year we're working on that and I think we've got a lot of really good things in place in terms of how we want to play, who we want to play with, the type of game that works best for us," he said.
"We have to dwell on the good things that we've done and really work hard to rectify those areas that present concern to us."
On the ice, Renney ensured practice was productive and fast-paced, something players want to carry into Tuesday's game.
"We had a hard, competitive practice, uptempo. I think that's what our game needs to be like from now out," Andrew Cogliano said. "Last night, we felt like our energy, our compete level, our battle level was non-existent for a lot of parts of the game, and I think today was a good step in getting ready and upping that for tomorrow."
The Oilers will have a slightly different look to their blueline vs. the Stars: late Monday morning, defenceman Taylor Chorney was recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons. In return, Jeff Petry was sent back down.
"[It's just to] give him a chance to get confident again -- I don't think we've seen the last of Jeff this year at all," Renney explained. "Chorns is playing very, very well down there, so it's just a quick little exchange and we'll see how long it lasts, but my guess is that Petey will be back up here."
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CATCH IT LIVE
You can watch Chorney & the rest of the Oilers battle for two points live from Rexall Place on Tuesday, Feb. 15. The game vs. the Stars starts at 7:00pm and limited tickets are available.
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|Andrew Cogliano |
In the latest edition of our fan question series, Amanda L. of Edmonton submitted a question for Andrew Cogliano.
AMANDA: "What is your best pump-up song, and what is the most emabarassing song that you listen to?"
ANDREW: "I like Eminem stuff. I really like his whole new CD. He's pretty good and a lot of the guys in here like to listen to him before a game to get pumped up, so I'll go with that.
I'm not really embarrassed about any of the songs I listen to. Everyone's got different tastes, but I generally listen to the same kind of music."
Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Ryan Dittrick