A tough pill to swallow for both Edmonton Oilers players and fans as the team continues on its losing streak.
The team faced off against the San Jose Sharks Thursday night looking for their first win in November but unfortunately fell short. The Sharks picked up a 3-2 victory.
This defeat knocks the Oilers down to the bottom of the NHL standings and is tied with the Sharks for last place.
After a pre-season that had analysts raving about the Stanley Cup potential win, fans shopping at United Sport and Cycle are wondering what went wrong.
“Being on a 2-9-1 to start the season, it feels terrible as a fan,” Eric Martin told Global News. “I feel like the Oilers really let the fans down and really need to pick it up.”
“I’m frustrated for the Oilers,” Erin Switzer explained. “I mean you can see their frustration. They’re obviously working hard doing the best they can with what they have.”
Kelly Hodgson, general manager of United Sport and Cycle, said the performance of local teams impact sales at his store.
“Our fan shop area with the Oilers and other NHL, MLB, CFL, NFL … all those leagues all rely on the popularity of the team,” Hodgson explained.
“Normally we’re a hub around the holiday season for people that want to come in and get Oilers gear but also to talk Oilers. And nobody wants to do that right now,” Hodgson added. “I mean I have been comfortably in denial stage.”
630 CHED Inside Sports and Oilers Hockey host Reid Wilkins said fans call into his show confused about their gameplay. Wilkins said they need to change their strategy.
“Everything is wrong. I’ve got asked that a lot. By callers, listeners, colleagues, friends [asking] ‘What’s wrong’? And the short answer is everything,” Wilkins explained.
“It’s a lack of execution first of all. I think they tried to implement some changes mostly defensively early in the season and I suppose you can question now if they needed to do that,” he added.
Wilkins adds the team needs to stay focused while not letting poor game play get to them.
“You can see it with the body language. It just seems if they even give up one goal or fall behind by one goal, there’s just such a sag,” he explained. “Clearly some frustration has set in here. Leon Dreseidlt said after the game last night that his confidence has waned.”
Oilers Coach Jay Woodcroft spoke to media after their practice acknowledging the confusion and disappointment the team has left on fans.
“No one likes waking up and looking at the standings and where our teams at right now. But there’s understanding that there’s work to do,” Woodcroft said.
With a team filled with promise, and a whole lot of games left to play, Oil Country is not counting their team out just yet.
“There’s too much talent for there to not be a winning streak at some point,” Wilkins said.
“Maybe not be 1st or 2nd in the league come playoff time, but I think we make the playoffs. And I mean once you’re in the playoffs nobody cares what your regular season was,” Hodgson told Global News.
For now, fans will just have to put up with their performance. Despite the disappointment, they remain loyal.
“I’ll still cheer for the Oilers no matter what but it’s always better when they’re winning,” Martin said.
“We’ll always be hockey fans. We’re a hockey family. No one can be perfect, right,” Switzer said.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.