After the Oilers got their teeth kicked in by the Winnipeg Jets, Todd McLellan didn’t exactly mince words in his post-game press conference. The Oilers were bad and they should feel bad.
When asked about what went wrong against the Jets, McLellan came out firing and said that the biggest problem they have is likely between their ears.
“The big concern is where we are with the mental state.”
There was no stronger confirmation of this point than when the Jets opened up the scoring after the Oilers had dominated the first 10 minutes. After Winnipeg got that first goal, the Oilers fell apart defensively and gave their opponent way too much room to work in their own zone.
“We’re not near competitive enough. We’re not outworking teams.”
Last night reminded me of old Oilers teams that would have really solid stretches but not be able to put it together for a full 60 minutes. Does that count as not being competitive enough? I guess being generally sloppy could fit under that umbrella.
“Consistently from minutes one to 60 the last two games we haven’t come close to outworking teams.”
Coach McLellan mentioned the outworking angle a few times, which is definitely true, but all I could see was the inconsistency from minute to minute. At times, the Oilers looked good but there were other times when they looked god awful. How can a team that looked so good defensively against the Flames be this bad over their next two games?
“Structurally, we’re about as loose as we can be. We’re missing assignments.”
I was waiting for him to get to this. The Oilers were dogshit in their own zone and it gave the Jets all kinds of chances from primed shooting spots. It was like they had all the time in the world to do as they pleased and it looked like the Oilers weren’t all that concerned about it. From top to bottom, Edmonton has to be better in every facet of their game, but how does this happen?
“That’s our mental mindset right now that we better overcome real quick.”
Tell me about it, Todd. I don’t know how many games like that that the Oilers will be able to weather, ya know? Can you put your finger on a few things that are going wrong that need to change specifically?
“I think we generated plenty again. We generated a number of chances that didn’t go in for us. As it’s not going in, perhaps in the first 10 minutes of the game tonight, we begin to cheat.”
I did notice the guys flying the zone a little bit early, for sure. From where I blog, I saw a lot of sloppy defensive work. As the head coach, what did you see?
“(The defensive zone) opens up and the other team that’s disciplined and plays a well-structured game they take advantage of it. We’ve seen it for two nights in a row.”
Amen, brother. As frustrating as this has been for all of us fans, I assume you’re ready to throw a clipboard or something. With expectations as high as they are, I imagine that the pressure on your shoulders is high enough as it is without having the team drop turds like this one. Let’s try this, if you could pick three things that need work what would they be?
“One, feeling too comfortable. Two, getting outworked. Three, knowing what you’re supposed to do.”
Woof… those seem like three big problems that need to get sorted out right quick. Who needs to be better? Everyone?
“It starts with your star players.”
Top six getting called out after game three. Who would have seen that coming?
“Your stars have to be superstars every night on both sides of the puck. We didn’t quite get it done with our star players.”
I get why the best players have to play better, and I’m not going to argue against it, but what about everybody else? Surely, last night’s loss wasn’t only a result of the forward group. What about the defence? Are they good enough?
“My belief is that the six or seven we have are good enough but they’re not playing well enough.”
I think that goes for everybody, Todd, and I admire you for being kind here. Frankly, it looks like the guys were getting high off of their own supply a little bit, ya know? All summer we heard how the Oilers are going to be contenders and I think maybe they bought into that a little bit, no?
“I don’t think we remember how hard it is to win. I’ve experienced this in the past.”
What do you mean? Do you think they assumed that winning would be easier? That would be bad.
“You have to understand how hard it is. Our guys don’t get that yet.”
You sound like a disappointed parent, Todd. This comment reminds me of when my dad had to go for meetings with my Grade 7 teacher every Monday because I was being disruptive. He wasn’t mad, but he was certainly disappointed. At least there aren’t any games until next weekend and it will give you some time to iron out these wrinkles.
“I’m glad that we get four good work days coming up.”
Yikes. I hope the boys get some rest because these next few practices aren’t going to be fun. Stay hydrated, fellas, it’s going to be a long week.