Edmonton Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock may have hit his threshold for how much he can take of the current situation in Edmonton where the Oilers have lost seven of their last eight games, according to the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples. Hitchcock, who took over in November for former head coach Todd McLellan, lashed out to the media about his team’s 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
“At this time of year, the coaches can’t want it more than the players,” Hitchcock said. “That is number one. At the end of the day, it’s going to be decided whether we want to play the right way cause it’s successful, or whether we just want to do our thing. And to me today was a game we just wanted to do our thing and paid dearly for it.”
One player Hitchcock was targeting was star Leon Draisaitl, whose weak backcheck was responsible for one of the goals scored against the team. Despite the fact that Draisaitl is having a career year offensively, more is expected of him.
“(It’s) symptom of something of much bigger,” said Hitchcock. “To me, it’s priorities and it’s what’s important. I mean, look at the fifth goal, it was a change goal, we just dribbling went to the bench (again this was Draisaitl), turned it over in the neutral zone and just walked to the bench and changed. It just can’t be acceptable.”
- Sticking with the Oilers, the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that defenseman Andrej Sekera, who has been out all season after undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon, in August, played in his second game conditioning stint with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL and could have to make move to bring him back by Wednesday after his conditioning stint ends. Sekera fared well, but whether he’s quick enough to play at the NHL level again, is another question, according to Leavins. The team, which has Sekera on LTIR, will have to make a move to be able to activate Sekera.
- Since missing 10 games before the All-Star break with what is believed to be a shoulder injury, San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic has seen a major improvement in his game, according to The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz (subscription required). His play is one of the reason, the Sharks have won four straight without Erik Karlsson. He’s had one assist and a plus-three rating, while showing that he’s rejuvenated. “I think he’s playing with a little more jump, a little more urgency in his game,” head coach Peter DeBoer said. “That’s probably the two things. A little more decisiveness, which has kind of been a hallmark of what his game is about, especially ending plays and defending. He’s looked really good.”