Oilers camp about changing attitudes

Pat Quinn admits his first day of training camp as coach of the Edmonton Oilers won’t be as much about assessing players as getting to know names.

EDMONTON — Pat Quinn admits his first day of training camp as coach of the Edmonton Oilers won’t be as much about assessing players as getting to know names.

While that’s hardly unexpected, considering the 66-year-old Quinn has been out of the NHL coaching loop four years and is taking over a team guided by Craig MacTavish for eight straight seasons, he won’t waste a lot of time on introductions before getting down to business at Rexall Place on Sunday.

With the Oilers going into camp with largely the same roster that has missed the playoffs three straight seasons, Quinn, associate coach Tom Renney and assistant Kelly Buchberger can’t afford to take much time sorting things out.

“Almost like a hockey school, I’m going to ask them to put tape on their helmets, maybe,” Quinn said with a smile after the Oilers went through medicals and fitness testing Saturday.

With less than 72 hours from the first on-ice session to the drop of the puck against Calgary on Tuesday, Quinn doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out who’s who and where they fit.

That’ll make for some interesting battles for jobs, as Quinn, Renney and Buchberger assess much the same team that finished 11th in the Western Conference at 38-35-9, prompting the firing of MacTavish and assistants Charlie Huddy and Bill Moores.

“We need to change the attitude. We need to change our image,” Quinn said. “We are a bunch of players who seem to have some skill, but I know skill alone doesn’t win in this business. It never has and never will.

“You have to learn how to use that skill well. You have to be interdependent and really rely on each other to be better than just the individual skills. Then, you’ve got a chance to win.”

The only players gone from the 2008-09 team are goaltender Dwayne Roloson, deadline rental Ales Kotalik and fourth-liner Kyle Brodziak. The only new players penned into roster spots are Nikolai Khabibulin and Mike Comrie.

While most camps open with talk of clean slates, that’s seldom the case. For a core group that includes Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Steve Staios and captain Ethan Moreau, the talk holds true.

“When you have a new coach you want to impress, regardless of how long you’ve played in the league,” Moreau said.

“You always have to prove yourself. If you don’t, you’re out of a job. With a new coaching staff, that’s even more the case. You want to show him how you play. You want to earn a spot on the team.”

Edmonton’s roster is laden with small, skilled forwards. Comrie, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan are five-foot-something players in the running for roster spots.

“One thing it’ll do is it’ll make sure we’re ready to go for the start of the season,” Horcoff said.

“A lot of times when you come into camp and the years there’s not a lot of competition, guys might take it a little bit slow at the start and think, ‘I’ve got three or four weeks to get ready.’ When that’s not the case, it’s always a good thing.”

Quinn, who last coached in the NHL in 2005-06 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has 657 career wins on his resume, favours a game featuring puck possession and pressure.

“Pat’s got a commanding presence,” Sheldon Souray said. “He’s coached a number of good players. In dealings with other players around the league who’ve had an opportunity to play for him, everybody was complimentary of him and his coaching style”.

“He’s a players’ coach, but he’s also got a stern hand. Players are going to have to have to be responsible. I think guys are eager for that change and that challenge. Change can be good.”

Considering the Oilers finished just six points behind eighth-place Anaheim, dropping out of a playoff down the stretch after losing Lubomir Visnovsky to injury, an argument can be made wholesale changes weren’t needed in player personnel.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

A recent investigation by the RCMP Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit led to the arrests of 24 people. (Contributed photo)
24 people arrested following RCMP investigation in central Alberta

Twenty-four people are facing a combined 235 charges following an investigation by… Continue reading

Photo from Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page
Sylvan Lake communities band together on development plan

Sylvan Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan expected to be approved next spring

Tribe restaurant owner Paul Harris, left, consults with manager Brandon Bouchard about how to proceed under pandemic rules that make it hard for eateries to be profitable. (Contributed photo).
New pandemic rules deemed workable for Red Deer retailers

Stricter COVID-19 reduction measures introduced in lead-up to Christmas

Quentin Lee Strawberry
Man accused in 2019 Red Deer murder will stay behind bars

Quentin Strawberry going to trial next year on second-degree murder charge

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

FILE - In this March 26, 2006 file photo, former soccer player Diego Maradona smokes a cigar as he watches Argentina's first division soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, died from a heart attack on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at his home in Buenos Aires. He was 60. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

In this July 1, 2020, photo, Salt Lake Tribune data columnist and Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen poses for a photo. Larsen is a sports writer, but with much of that world sidelined during the pandemic he's been digging into coronavirus data and its sobering implications. So when he found himself with a cache of spare change, partially from his childhood piggy bank, he knew plenty of people could use it. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, a view of a 'Matterhorn-Express' gondola lift in front of Matterhorn mountain in the Zermatt ski resort, in Zermatt, Switzerland. Restrictions to slow the curve of coronavirus infections have kept ski lifts closed in Italy, France, Germany and Austria, as well as countries further east. But skiers are already heading to mountains in Switzerland, drawing an envious gaze from ski industry and local officials in mountain regions elsewhere on the continent who lost most of last season due to the virus. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP, File)
As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2015 file photo, actor John Boyega, right, pose with Star Wars characters during the Japan Premiere of their latest film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Tokyo. Boyega stars in Steve McQueen’s “Red White and Blue,” the third film in the director’s anthology of West Indian life in London from the ‘60s through the ’80s. The five-film series will debut Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

The Hockley Motel in Mono, Ont., is shown in this undated handout photo. An Ontario motel that served as a backdrop for the beloved CBC sitcom "Schitt's Creek" is up for sale. The Hockley Motel in Mono, about an hour's drive northwest of Toronto, was listed for $2 million today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Colliers International
Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Most Read