Edmonton

Oilers players not buying in 'should get out of the room,' McDavid says

As far as emotional NHL captains go, Connor McDavid isn't one to put out in front of the TV cameras.

‘If you don’t believe in this group and you’re in the locker room then you need to leave’

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) and Leon Draisaitl (29) have led the team in scoring this year, but it wasn't enough over the weekend as they were outscored 12-6 by the Flames and the Hurricanes. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

As far as emotional NHL captains go, Connor McDavid isn't one to put out in front of the TV cameras. He usually does his talking on the ice with the puck. 

But this past weekend, even McDavid and his flashy skating and all-world stick handling couldn't fix the mess that played out at home in two lopsided losses.

"We hear the boos and the stuff that's going on," said McDavid facing down a throng of cameras and reporters outside the Oilers dressing room Monday morning.

"It's not like a switch is going to be flicked and we're going to be a good hockey team," he said.

"It's going to take a collective work ethic, guys buying in, and it's a lot of hard work. It's not easy to win hockey games and I think we've forgotten that."

The Oilers were supposed to be on the ice at 11:30 a.m., but held a 10:30 a.m. team meeting instead, where they reviewed Sunday's game tape and talked about what went wrong in the 7-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and, more importantly, what needs to be done to fix it.   

'I don't feel that way'

When asked if there are players on the Oilers team who don't believe this squad can get it done, McDavid didn't hold back. 

"If there's guys that believe that then they should get out of the room," McDavid said. "If you don't believe in this group and you're in the locker room then you need to leave.

"I don't get that sense, I don't feel that way. I think that everyone in there believes in in each other and thinks we'll get it done."

The team's play over the weekend, particularly on Sunday night, seemed to show otherwise.

After being beaten 5-2 on national television by their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, a team that happens to be first in the west, Edmonton failed to show up for the first 10 minutes against the Hurricanes.

The 'Canes scored on their first shot 28 seconds into the game and added two more goals just past the halfway point of the first period.

'Get back to playing the way we can play'

Starting goalie Cam Talbot was chased to the bench as the Oilers scrambled to get back into the game against a team in an even worse position than them to make the postseason.

"We understand the fans are frustrated," McDavid said. "We expect better out of ourselves and they obviously expect better of us; we need to be better. 

"The only people that seem to believe in us are the guys in the locker room and we need to rally behind that."

It's a message that veteran Ryan Nugent-Hopkins knows all too well. He has seen this kind of play, and frustration from players and fans alike, but he says all is not lost.

"We've just got to get back to playing the way we can play have a good game tomorrow and then have a good break and comeback with a refreshed attitude," said Nugent-Hopkins, who has 16 goals and 30 assists this season, behind only McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

'It's on us to play better'

On social media, the blame is being directly pointed at the team's general manager.

Many fans are calling for Peter Chiarelli to be fired, but as of Monday morning he was still running the team. Chiarelli was not made available for an interview Monday.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock, who got off to a great start with Edmonton going 8-2-1 before hitting the skids, took full blame and said the team and coaching staff need to figure it out.

"It's on us to play better," Hitchcock said. "My job is getting is to get our team playing at a much better rate.

"You win in this game five-on-five, and the five-on-five is the players' and coaches' responsibility. We're just not good enough there right now.

"We're not playing consistent enough and if that changes we'll win our share of hockey games."

The Oilers get a chance to prove everyone they're all on the same page Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.   

The struggling Wings have won three of their last 10 games and are in a three-way tie for last place in the East.

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