EDMONTON – It was the first session of the season that saw the Edmonton Oilers lose three games. Head coach Dave Tippett has done something his team has not seen this season. He gathered his troops and opened the day with a little open conversation before training.
So what was Tippett's message when the Toronto Maple Leafs were on tap for a hockey night in Canada that evening?
Spoiler alarm: He doesn't say that.
"Just a little bit of where we are right now, what we need to think about in practice," he said vaguely. “Usually we would meet before, but we came out a little later today. We had a short little meeting on the ice and had good training. "
OK. Really, we know what he was talking about, don't we?
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His Oilers suffered a grade A bleeding and did not score big goals from their goalkeepers to contain the flood. After two games in which Edmonton conceded six goals, the conversation is likely to be about playing with more attention to defense, a trait that the Oilers have given up recently.
"There are some problems," Tippett admitted. "We don't give up a lot of chances, but the ones we are were really good." I'm looking at the game (Minnesota Wild, 6-5 loss) and there were some that we can get out of our game by managing the game a little better. And there were those where we had missed orders. We can address both. "
Leon Draisaitl, who is second in the National Hockey League with 55 points but scored a minus 3 result this season, is a metaphor for Edmonton's game. Many gates enter – at both ends.
"We score enough goals to win hockey games," said Draisaitl. "We just gave up too much. (Today) is a good test, a qualified (Leafs) group. Should be an exciting game."
The Oilers returned in the last two games of three and two goals in the third third to equalize. However, once they returned against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Wild, they lost those leads and eventually scored six goals in two consecutive games.
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How does a head coach balance this scenario with good and bad news with his players?
"The way it balances is only to tell the truth," Tippett argued. "Tell them why you fell at two and tell them why we came back (to match). I like the way we make pressure at certain times, but I don't like some of the mistakes we make at times when you can't make these mistakes. "
In his leadership group, Tippett also spoke about the team's first real misfortune this season. He is interested to see how these leaders lead the squad through the difficult times after being at the top of the Pacific division in the first 30 games of the season.
"We are building a culture here in which we no longer want to be an inferior team," said Draisaitl. “We want to win and we want to end as soon as possible. It is the first time that we are three this year. It is something we want to reverse.
“It's all about winning hockey games. Throughout the year there are games you are not supposed to win, and there are games you are supposed to win and somehow find a way to lose. In the last two games we have had a chance to win these games. We just couldn't find a way.
"It's about concentrating on building this winning mentality," concludes Draisaitl. "It doesn't always have to be nice – the points (are all that matters) in the end."