Remember back in May when Todd McLellan was introduced as the Oilers’ new head coach and he basically called them mentally weak?
His exact words were, “They haven’t had a lot of success as far as wins and losses go, so you have to find other ways to build that mental strength. That comes before the games are even played. That comes in practice. That comes in meetings. That comes in being good teammates. So we have some things to work on.”
Now consider what McLellan said after last night’s loss to St. Louis, a result that pushed the Oilers’ record to 0-4-0: “We have a little bit of a roller coaster thing going on right now where we get a little bit of momentum and then the other team will come back and score and we sag a bit. Emotionally, we are up and down quite a bit and that comes from not winning.”
So McLellan’s message hasn’t changed. Nor has his diagnosis: this is a mentally fragile team that’s been beaten down by losing.
On top of all that, as we noted yesterday, the Oilers’ schedule isn’t about to get any easier. Here’s what they’re looking at over the next month:
Maybe they’ll be slight favorites in one or two of those games at Rexall Place. Otherwise, they’re on the road or playing tough teams at home.
“I think the whole fan base is impatient right now and we are feeling that right now,” Taylor Hall said. “When you looked at it mid-summer, this is probably the worst you could have imagined. We have to find a way.”
If they don’t, it’s going to get even worse.