The Oilers wasted no time returning to the ice after Tuesday's shootout loss to the Flames. The club held an early practice Wednesday morning at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) before flying to Columbus in the afternoon.
Although Edmonton has now lost five straight, the club is feeling relatively optimistic. After finding themselves in a 4-1 hole late in the second period vs. Calgary, the Oilers rallied to a 4-4 tie and eventually forced a shootout.
"It shows a lot of heart coming back like that in the third against a good team in a tough building," defenceman Jason Strudwick said Wednesday. "I think we understand we want to start like that if we can and really put pressure on them. When we're aggressive and we're on our toes, we're a difficult team to play against because of our speed."
Captain Shawn Horcoff agreed the late-game effort was good but added the end result is what counts.
"We need to win a game here and we need to win one soon, but at the same time it was nice to get a point there," he said.
Edmonton's struggle to win wasn't the only hot topic with the media Wednesday: Taylor Hall's struggle to score is gaining more attention as the games go by.
The first-overall pick has one point through seven games this season. Although Hall is feeling the pressure, he is trying to keep focus on improving his overall play and helping the team get some wins.
"I'm trying the best I can, but at the same time, it's more about the team than my goal slump. I thought we played well in the third period last night. If we keep that going, everyone's going to have individual success," he said.
"I'm getting a little bit antsy but at the same time, it's a process -- my NHL career is pretty young right now and there's only been seven games," he added. "Everybody goes through tough times, but it's how you come out of it. It's what you do to get yourself out of that slump and make yourself a better player that makes you a little bit stronger in the end."
When asked if the scoring success of fellow rookies Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi is motivating him, Hall said yes.
"Everyone's fighting for ice time, everyone's fighting to do the same job and help the team, and I'm happy for those two guys because they're good friends on mine and I want to see them do well. But at the same time, I want to well myself and try to contribute."
Horcoff said Hall needs to be patient and the scoring will come.
"He's obviously been a player that at every level has been able to score, but he's 18-years-old playing in the NHL and it's going to take him a little bit of time, so he just needs to show a little more patience," the captain explained.
"In order for anyone to be successful in the NHL, you have to have confidence in yourself and your ability, and you have to have a drive to want to be a great player," Horcoff continued. "He definitely has that. He's the type of guy that you can tell every night and every game that he wants to produce and he wants to contribute and that's the attitude you'll need to have."
In the latest edition of our fan question series, Lebron of Bashaw, AB submitted a question for Shawn Horcoff.
LEBRON: "What kind of responsibilities do you have to Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi in particular as the new captain of the team?"
SHAWN: "You try to just help them become better pros, really, and help them get used to the pro game. There's so much that goes into trying to become a consistent player at this level; you know, off-ice habits, nutrition, off-ice workouts and things like that. You try to help those guys along and teach them a little bit. But it takes time, they have to go through it themselves in order for them to be successful every night.
It's not that hard. They're good kids and they all obviously have a high level of skill and talent, but they have great drive. They want to be successful. And anytime you have a player with that kind of attitude, it always make it easier to motivate."
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 Marc Ciampa, Tom Gazzola & Bob Stauffer