Oilers make big changes in hopes of sparking turnaround
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12/26/12 at 3:27 AM
Times are tough for the Tulsa Oilers right now.
Having lost their last eight games, the Oilers (8-18-2) find themselves at the bottom of the Central Hockey League standings and looking for answers.
"This is my ninth year as a professional head coach and the worst record I have had is one game under .500," said Oilers coach Bruce Ramsay. "This is very tough. We are going through some trials and tribulations right now."
For some, it would be hard to be optimistic. But optimism often creates opportunity. Expecting good things to happen can lead to taking actions that will produce positive results.
The proof lies in a review of the 2010-11 Central Hockey League season. After losing eight straight and falling to the league cellar at 3-11-1, the Oilers went 32-14-5 to finish the season at 35-25-6. That was good enough for third place in the Berry conference and a spot in the playoffs.
"That is what we need to do," Ramsay said of the team's need to make a comeback. "That year we had a championship caliber team. There are a lot of similarities for sure. We started to turn it around a lot sooner than we have this year. We have to get our confidence going, and it starts with one win."
To aid in that process two new goaltenders have been brought in, along with some new defensemen. They will make their home debut at the BOK Center on Wednesday when the Oilers host the Fort Worth Brahmas.
Rookie goalie Dan Bakala has rejoined the team after being waived on Nov. 29 and new goalie Shane Madolora played his first Oilers game last weekend. Goaltender Ian Keserich, who has been with the Oilers for three years, was waived. Defensemen Ryan Barlock and Daniel Amesbury were signed, Matt Register was been sent to Arizona and veteran forward David Beauregard was released.
"We are making a lot of changes," said Ramsay. "Nobody likes to lose hockey games. We have lost more than our share this year. But I believe that there is a lot of potential with the core guys that we have. I did not have the right mix early on and I am trying to fix that.
"It has been painful and hard on me. I am not happy with any of the results we have had lately and time to make that change.
"We need consistent goaltending and hopefully one of these two will take advantage of that. That was a big spark for us a couple of years ago when we started playing better. If you don't have goaltending you won't win hockey games."
The good news is the season has yet got reach the halfway point leaving 38 games to be played.
"Time is growing shorter but we have a lot of games left and still have every opportunity to get ourselves in the situation that we need to be," said Ramsay. "I will keep tinkering till I find what I like.
"I think we are heading in the right direction. We had a lot of new players in our lineup last weekend. I thought the guys battled hard and the new players looked very good."
Original Print Headline: Oilers make big changes in hopes of turnaround
Oilers up next
Vs. Fort Worth
7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Promotion: College Night. Discount admission with student ID
Tulsa's Ben Gordon (left) and Arizona's Chad Langlais get tangled up during a game earlier this month at the BOK Center. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World