“I got your back!”

Team-5

Everyone has said the phrase above to a family member or friend at some point in their lives.

Who hasn’t had a buddy that needed some cash for lunch and you stepped up to help out?

Who hasn’t been out with a buddy for a night on the town and you meet up with a couple of girls? One is attractive and the other is a little bit rougher around the edges. Your bro is really into the hot one. As a good friend you step into the breach and are a good wing man.

Who hasn’t had to help out a family member with a big or small helping hand? Maybe you don’t really have the time or desire to do it but you are there for your family.

I believe a hockey team needs to be a close knit group. There should be a respect for each other’s abilities and skill sets. There needs to be an understanding of what every player contributes to the group, some more than others, but each one contributes to success.

I don’t think everyone needs to be best friends. There is no need to share your life with each and every teammate. At times a blow up is healthy. It clears the air. If two guys decide they need to come to blows, get after it. It is healthy on a team.

I don’t think everyone has to enjoy each other’s company. I have been on teams where linemates didn’t hang out away from the ice. That is fine as long as there is respect.

But….once you leave the room to play a game everyone becomes united. Each individual unites under one banner or better yet team logo. You play for each other, stick together and support one another.

The Oilers have had a hell of a rough season. For many fans, expectations were set too high and a slow start has brought them to the point of giving up. Another lottery pick is a long way from the playoffs…..again.

I did not expect this team to make the playoffs nor did I expect a lottery pick. I would never have expected to see the lack of team unity I have seen too often this season.

4-Hall-16

Twice against the Blues on Thursday night, Taylor Hall was a part of scrums. Both times it started with Blues goalie Ryan Miller. I want to focus on the second incident.

Hall was called for off side. After the whistle, he took a very light backhand shot on Miller. The Blues took exception. I have no problem with their reaction. Most teams would react the same.

The first Blues player to confront Hall was Vladimir Tarasenko. He was quickly joined by Jay Bouwmeester. They were pushing Hall around. A third player Blues player jumped in before one Oiler arrived.

Bouwmeester and Tarasenko are big players but I can’t imagine anyone is fearful of them. With thirty two penalty minutes between the two of them we can safely assume they are not aggressive even if you have never watched them play a second.

19-Schultz-7

Hall was left to his own with the players. No one rushed over to even out the numbers. Mark Fraser was intercepted but that left Hall’s linemates and Justin Schultz.

There is no excuse for not coming to his aid. He is a teammate, one of the team’s best players, he deserves the support.

When a scrum arose four if not five Blues players were always in the picture. The Oilers were lucky to have two. Where was the support? Did the other guys pull the old “What happened? I didn’t see it!”

Imagine if the situation were reversed. If Jaden Schwartz had got involved with Scrivens. Is there anyone who believes there would not have been all his buddies right there with him? For sure! Front and center!

Why were the Oilers not there you ask? Two reasons I hope…. One reason I don’t hope.

1 – I hope it is the youth in the higher minute players. They are unsure how to handle these situations.

2 – I hope it is the lack of the feeling of ability to handle those situations. They feel they lack size or that skill set. The good news is it can be taught. It is very easy to go into a pile and hold on to a guy from behind.

The one reason I hope they don’t go to help teammates is they don’t care to. This is very scary if it is actually true. This would mean they feel it is every man for himself. There is not a sense of team inside the dressing room. How can you ask guys to hold each other accountable when there is no sense of team?

I don’t think and don’t want to believe there is not enough care in that room for each other.

The next time there is a scrum where a player is isolated I will be interested to see the group’s reaction.

If I were the coach, after tonight’s game I would have blown the roof off yelling at my team for this.  

We have seen the group come together in the past. I am reminded of Yakupov and the Jets situation with Ladd and company. I loved that! Showed that the guys were together.

After last night’s display I wonder where that has gone or if that was an anomaly. Do they really have each other’s back in that dressing room?

  • Sevenseven

    Hall should call out Eakins publicly on his attitude towards no payback, not getting into scrums. Stick his neck out and show how much that clown has lost the room. I think Eakins is to blame for the lack of cohesion in the locker room, Especially with the toughness Mac T brought in this year.