The Edmonton Oilers’ 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was so difficult for the group that the players canceled a CBA scheduled off day Monday to practice instead.
This was reportedly done at the urging of coach Todd McLellan, who was fuming after the game.
“We looked like the ‘Bad News Bears.’ We didn’t execute. Our passing was poor. Our positioning from the goaltender to the blue-line to the forwards, nobody was ready to play,” he told reporters. “From each and every game you learn lessons. We learned the lesson that we can’t handle prosperity yet. We just got kicked right between the legs and we deserved it.”
The decision came from the group’s leadership and they seemed to believe that another practice would do them some good.
“We have to learn from this and move forward. We can’t let this weigh on us for the next four, five days and bring us down as a group,” alternate captain Milan Lucic said according to Sportsnet. “Battle of Alberta, Carolina Hurricanes… It doesn’t sound exciting heading into Tuesday night, but we’ve got to make it exciting.”
Here is the NHL’s CBA on monthly schedules and restricted days.
Clubs shall provide each Player with a monthly travel/practice schedule prior to each full month of the Regular Season indicating the days that have been designated as days off for each Player. Clubs shall endeavor to schedule no less than four (4) days off for Players per month (up to two of which may be scheduled on the road) during each full calendar month of the NHL Regular Season. A day off shall be a day off for all purposes, except that if a Club travels following the conclusion of a game, the next day may be considered a day off if the Club is scheduled to arrive at its destination city by no later than 2:00 a.m. local time. If a Club travels on the day following a game (i.e., stays at a hotel overnight and departs the following morning), such day may not be considered a day off. The parties recognize that events may unfold such that the monthly schedule may need to be altered or modified to adjust for unforeseen and compelling circumstances. League scheduled off-days or breaks (e.g., All-Star break, Holidays, Olympics) shall count as a day off for purposes of this subsection (a).
Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted, “What’s to stop every coach from pulling this? Oiler management intentionally inducing a violation of CBA.”
Sportsnet’s Colby Armstrong advised the Oilers to get some rest.
If Colby Armstrong is going to make a nose reference, I'm going to laugh … because I'm immature. pic.twitter.com/Fm9FA7y6y7
— Erin Nicks (@erinmnicks) October 17, 2016
Along with Lucic, the Oilers’ leadership includes Connor McDavid as captain and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle as alternates.
The Oilers are 2-1-0 with both of their victories coming against the Calgary Flames, but the loss to the Sabres seemed especially painful. This included a soft goal from center ice allowed by Cam Talbot. Overall, the Oilers have allowed 13 goals this season.
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