There are some who believe the Edmonton Oilers are in a race against time — that if they don’t fix the team, the team is going to break its best parts.

The fear is that all of the losing, all the booing and all the years of being second-class citizens in the NHL are crushing the spirit of Edmonton’s best players and slowly teaching them how to be losers.

Should fans be concerned that the elite young talent on Edmonton’s roster, most of which came from winning environments — Taylor Hall won back to back Memorial Cups, Jordan Eberle was a hero for Team Canada, Sam Gagner went 50-14-4 in his final year with the London Knights — are being ruined by the culture of failure in Edmonton?

They are. Or were.

“We’ve definitely addressed that in the lockerroom,” said Eberle, admitting the last few years have been a shock to their system. “It’s something that at the start of the year, and throughout the year, we’ve talked about.

“You can’t have an “it’s acceptable to lose” mentality. But I don’t think anyone in there really has it. As professional athletes, most of us in there are really competitive people. We want to win. I don’t think that’s really creeping into the room. And I know, as a leader of the team, it never will, we’ll never let it.

“That’s when things go south. I can’t see it happening, we’re just too competitive in here, we want to win.”

At the same time, the Oilers have won just 101 of their last 291 games and will end up in the bottom again this year.

They have to be tired of it.

“How can you not be?” said Eberle. “It’s been three years of this, it sucks, there’s no other way to put it. You feel for the guys like Horc and Smid, who’ve been through it for a while.

“Nobody wants to lose, it’s pretty obvious. This year is the most frustrating because we had a team that had been successful. We showed we can be a playoff contender and we just let it slip away.