Sunday, January 31, 2010

All Is Not Well in Oilerville

“I thought we were rock bottom a few games ago. We keep creating all time lows for ourselves. We’re pretty fragile right now. As much as you want to be positive on the bench and try to keep guys motivated, you can tell when we play we’re demoralized.”

The words of Ethan Moreau say it all.

In Calgary on Saturday, January 30, the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames were engaged in a different kind of Battle of Alberta: the battle of who gets to end an elongated losing streak.

The Oilers lost, thus pushing the streak to 13 games.

I don’t think I can even describe the room after the game. This team is more than defeated, the room is apoplectic. It’s beyond life support. The shock paddles have failed to jolt life back into the heart of this team.

And if it rains, it pours. The Oil have been riddled with injuries and another one popped up Saturday night. Sheldon Souray broke his hand in a fight with Jarome Iginla.

Right now, I don’t really think it’s coaching or personnel that’s the problem as much as the team’s attitude – or lack thereof. Motivation out of this slump is not going to come from fear, brow beating, or rah rah. It’s a total overhaul of a mindset that has permeated each stall. And that mindset slaps you in the face when you read Moreau’s post-game comments.

I don’t know. What would it hurt to bring in an expert. As a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS), I can think of many people whose job it is to revitalize corporate climates. They are really good at their jobs and for sure, the Oilers can muster up the fee – or they can borrow it from Shawn Horcoff.

If there’s any doubt as to the need for such a measure, here’s Andrew Cogliano: “When you get back to back goals…it obviously kills the confidence and kills the group. We’re trying to stay positive but that’s easier said than done. I think everyone is trying to gather themselves up and think about what our next step is.”

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