| LEADERSHIP GROUP CLEARS THE AIR |
The Oilers were called to a rare 9am meeting Sunday morning, and for seven players, it stretched to a 90-minute forum with Head Coach Pat Quinn. While most of the players were sent home shortly after arriving at Rexall Place, Ethan Moreau, Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Steve Staios, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, and Nikolai Khabibulin stayed on for the lengthy discussion.
Although the specifics of the meeting weren't shared, all confirmed that it was a productive, open, and honest communication between the coach and players.
"We were in there for a while, so we went over probably everything imaginable you can think of," Horcoff said shortly after leaving the meeting. "It's a good thing to do, for us to vent. He vented on us about some things that we needed to hear and we let him know what we're seeing also.
"It works back and forth, and I think it's nice to have that. It's nice to have an open philosophy. We're all professionals in here. The meeting was real positive but at the same time, it's not like you're adverse to hearing negative things. A lot of times you need to hear that in order to get things turned around."
"Communication is great -- it's very important in sports and any walk of life," Moreau added. "(Quinn is) a good communicator and it was a good morning to talk about things.
"We should do it more than we do. It's just that everyone is so busy and your schedule gets so hectic and sometimes you just don't want to do it, you don't have the energy for it, but in any successful organization, that happens."
Associate Coach Tom Renney agreed with the veterans and emphasized that such meetings are integral to successful coaching and improving the team.
"This is our team, and we have an obligation as coaches to help these guys improve, help our team improve, play better, do what we can to help them get wins, and enjoy an exciting, well-intentioned hockey season," he said.
"Every season you build, and you build it a game at a time and you build your games a period at a time, and sometimes they're pretty good and other times not . . . It takes time, and I hate to say it because it's a cliche, but your season is a process. And you sort of start with the end in mind, we know what we want to look like as a finished product, but in the meantime there's an awful lot of work to do."
KHABIBULIN: "DAY BY DAY"
After missing Saturday's game vs. his former club due to a nagging back, Nikolai Khabibulin updated the media on his progress Sunday morning.
"Two days ago, I felt really good. All of a sudden (Saturday) morning, it just felt tight and just kind of progressed a little bit," he explained. "I don't know what it is . . . I had an injury, or I don't know what to call it, a couple of years ago, but I never had anything since then so I don't know if it's ongoing or it just kind of happened."
"It's kind of day by day, I guess. We'll see tomorrow how it feels and if it doesn't get any better I'll probably get an MRI or something like that to see what it is."
TWOSOME TAKES TO THE ICE
While the rest of the team sat in the meeting or left the rink to contemplate tomorrow's game on their own terms, injured players Taylor Chorney (ankle) and Robert Nilsson (concussion) briefly skated independently at Rexall Place. After leaving the ice in his track suit, Chorney said his ankle is "feeling a lot better."
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com