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Andrew Ference & Ladislav Smid Stir Up The Dressing Room

I know I'm late to this show, but tonight after I got home from work I picked up the Edmonton Sun and read the comments from Ference and Smid.

I found these comments more interesting than anything than everything we've ever heard before. I found them so interesting because they were very different than anything we've heard before.

To start with, Ference said something we simply haven't heard before. To paraphrase, Ference indicated that as soon as he came to the team, it was painfully obvious that there was not enough team mentality and too much focus on individual success. That is blatantly opposed to the comments we're used to where new players come in and talk about the amount of history involved with the team. No player in my recent memory has ever come in and even remotely implied that players are being too focused on their personal success. This is a brand new thing in Edmonton and I find it very interesting. In my mind this could be the first step of the solution, calling out the problem and being blunt about it. Provided this isn't just more of 'saying the right thing' and the team acts on this mentality then I can only hope that this is the beginning of the end.

The other thing that blew my mind was that Ladislav Smid mentioned every players nightmares. In short what Smid said is that it CAN get worse. I've seen many times now on Twitter, people who are certain that THIS is rock bottom. I almost like this comment more than what Ference had to say. As Smid indicated, if this keeps up, guys WILL get traded, it CAN get worse than what we're seeing right now and if things don't turn around in a hurry, then MacT will have no choice but to make a trade and it may not be a trade we win. If this starts to happen, then we could wind up right back at the start of the rebuild and our only hope will be that it starts with drafting Conner McDavid and Tyler Benson in consecutive drafts. As much as I would love to have players of this caliber on my team, that's not a road I want to continue down.

Finally, I found a similar point made from both players was that the Oilers current situation is not on Dallas Eakins. Now this is my own interpretation and does not appear to be an intended ulterior motive for either player. Ference commented on how the coach has laid out a black and white plan and there are guys sticking to the gray and not buying in. Smid on the other hand appeared to make a direct reference to Yakupov sitting in the press box for two games and admitting that the most Eakins can do to get their attention is yell and scream; he cannot physically force them to do the little things on the ice, they must take it upon themselves. I may be leaning a little to far over the pond but it seems to me that all is not well in the dressing room and Yakupov may be one of the focal points of unrest.

Maybe this is just me, but I don't think we've ever heard comments like this coming out of the dressing room in Edmonton, these weren't your basic cliches. These were much more and I can only dream that it's the spark that lights something other than a tire fire.

-JR

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