March 30 2012 09:18AM
There is a little over a week and five games remaining this season for the Edmonton Oilers. With no playoff possibilities, it can be a chunk of games that is hard to get charged up to play in.
I know, I know...I can hear all the fans saying it is a hockey players job and they are making a good living to go hard every night. That is true, but I believe hockey is played at its highest level when the passion is flowing, and when the playoffs are out of the question, passion is harder to find.
From personal experience I remember one season where I was not just counting down the games, I actually had it down to periods!
Tonight's game will give the Oilers a chance to make the L.A. Kings run at a playoff spot a little uglier. The opportunity to submarine another teams playoff hopes is a strong motivator. It's a fun game to play when your team has nothing else to play for. It's also great to see the anxiousness coming from the other team if they get down.
Many guys on Edmonton are playing for their future. With a finish near the bottom of the league, changes in player personnel are inevitable. A strong showing for each player when the games don't count for much is important. It can show the current team (as well as the other twenty nine clubs if necessary) that a guy has the professionalism and character to battle no matter the situation.
WORDS TO REMEMBER
As a young player I was given some very good advice that I never forgot - I was told 'You never know who is watching so always play hard.' It served me well.
With two home games left, I hope this group can leave the Oiler faithful with a good feeling and the L.A Kings with a fistful of feathers.