The Edmonton Oilers are off to a 2-0 start to the season, but that hasn't distracted captain Shawn Horcoff from his role as mentor to rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Horcoff provided some constructive criticism of last year's first overall selection Hall on Tuesday.
"His shifts are too long," Horcoff told the Journal. "And he has to come back deeper for the puck to open up more ice. You have to overwork to get more ice. He's taking off (too quickly) and the defencemen are right there, but that's the NHL. These things will come. He wants it so badly, he stays out there because he wants it (to make something happen)."
Through two games, Hall is averaging 50 seconds per shift, most among Oilers' forwards. Sam Gagner and Horcoff are second on the club at 47 seconds per shift. Horcoff is leading the way for the Oilers offence with two goals, while Eberle has added a goal and an assist and Hall has one helper on the year.
Horcoff has fully accepted his role as a leader on and off the ice for his freshman teammates.
"It is what it is. I'm not the first player in this situation," Horcoff explained to the newspaper. "The good thing is they make it easy on me because you only have to tell them once or twice and they're really responsive.
"The big thing is to still let them be creative and use their strengths, but the biggest thing I have to show them is positional play. The best players, like the Sedins (Daniel and Henrik, of the Vancouver Canucks), are always so supportive of one another. They play the game the right way, give-and-gos, breaking for open ice. They're always open for a reason. It's the Sedins' best skill. We have to learn to feed off one another."
The next test for the Oilers comes tonight, when they head to Minnesota to face the Wild, who are still looking for their first win of the season.