Ever since the Edmonton Oilers toiled in the WHA, Marcel Desjarlais has made it his mission to support the team.
His dedication is palpable.
Wednesday morning, a day after another half-hearted effort by his team against a struggling opponent, Desjarlais was in the stands at the Leduc arena watching the players being run through drills by a scowling Todd McLellan.
McLellan's patience is so thin, it crackles like cellophane.
His last-place team turtled the same day his boss, GM Peter Chiarelli, publicly announced every one of the players — other than Connor McDavid of course — is expendable.
Desjarlais said he gets it.
"The evaluation is over and the rebuild continues and guys that want to be here will continue to work hard," he said.
But is he willing to start again from scratch, to let go of first-round draft picks so scrupulously accrued over the last half-dozen years?
"That's a tough one," he said. "I love Taylor Hall. He's always been a determined individual. He bleeds copper and blue. Nothing's impossible, but I like the young core."
But deeper in the conversation, his frustration emerges.
"If the fans want to get back to the winning ways, then maybe we got to make some trades, some hard trades."
McLellan promised reporters Wednesday that "changes are coming."
"This is the first time where everyone on the team is accessible," he said. "I don't know if that's happened in the past. There's probably been a comfort zone with five, six extra guys, but losing is unacceptable."