Game 4: Carolina and the Mandated Day Off | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Game 4: Carolina and the Mandated Day Off

Game four tonight for the Edmonton Oilers as they square off with the Carolina Hurricanes. Edmonton is coming off a disappointing game against the Sabres on Sunday, looking to rebound and shake off some of the media attention that has come as a result of a 6-2 loss.

Typically in a 6-2 loss, the team does it's best to shake it off and move on. In this instance, Edmonton moved a mandatory day off and the team came into practice on Monday. This has caught the attention of a lot of media as did Todd McLellan's presser after the game calling out some of his players — namely Benoit Pouliot.

The Oilers are looking to come out of the gates with a different effort level and show that the team fans witnessed on Sunday, is not the team they'll be cheering for all season.

Benoit Pouliot

It's likely that Pouliot is on a short leash. After a few consecutive games of bad penalties in the offensive zone, he's got the attention of his coach as a player with bad habits. He's an offensive weapon, but if the team is constantly on the penalty-kill, that weapon is difficult to utilize.

Pouliot needs to be better and more disciplined. It's clear the coaches and the rest of the team are not going to let sustained poor play slide this season.

Jesse Puljujarvi

Puljujarvi is on a nine-game showcasing (if you will), that could see him returned to the AHL if he's not contributing. The Oilers have a tendency to rush rookies and it's a mistake they don't want to make again. He's sitting his first game of the year in the press box and will watch the game from the sky as his Oilers take on a team that, like Buffalo, they should beat.

Edmonton will need to make a decision on Puljujarvi and the window to do so is limited. Before the trades of Nail Yakupov and loss of Kris Versteeg to Calgary off his professional tryout (PTO), this decision might have been a lot easier. Now Edmonton lacks right wing depth and if it isn't Puljujarvi in the lineup, they may need to find another option.

Connor McDavid

One shot on net. That's all McDavid was able to muster in the Buffalo loss on Sunday. I don't expect this is going to sit well with Edmonton's new captain. I also don't think he's going to like the fact that he's been caught in the middle of this media storm regarding this changed practice.

McDavid looked upset after that Buffalo game and I can't recall ever seeing that look on his face before. I expect he'll have a big game to put this practice nonsense behind him. Meanwhile, as all of this has been going on, McDavid was named the first star of the week in the NHL.

Cam Talbot

Congratulations to Talbot who is about to have a child. One of the reasons that people are suggesting this "mandatory day off" got moved is because Talbot is about to be a father. It's a huge thing to become a dad. I have two kids and it changes your life. But, I don't know if the NHLPA would consider this a "compelling circumstance" to change the entire teams practice schedule. Maybe, it has to do more with not having a backup since Gustavsson got hurt in Sunday's game.

Either way, Talbot needs to turn it up a bit. He's been shaky in eight of nine periods of hockey. If Edmonton stands a chance this year, he's got to be better than he's been. Perhaps this game against the Hurricanes is the game he needs to bring things back on track.

Tonight's Win Is Big

It's still early in the season, but tonight's game is huge. It's the difference between going up 3-1 on the season or becoming a .500 hockey club. Edmonton has nine favorable games in their schedule to get off to a good start and Carolina should be a team that allows the Oilers to bump up their record in a good way.

Like the Sabres, Edmonton take their opposition lightly. The Oilers now know what happens when they do. How they play tonight will be a defining moment in whether or not this team is happy, once again, to rest on their status as a non-playoff type NHL team, or if they have the wherewithall to come back from adversity and punch it in the face.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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