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It’s Todd McLellan’s Way In Edmonton

from Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal,

Front and centre was another newcomer, head coach Todd McLellan, who was the story of the day from this perspective. He took charge of today’s proceedings right from the get go with a commanding presence that had the full attention of every player on the ice. Within moments of the first detailed drill, his whistle shrilled. “THERE IS NO GLIDE!” the coach barked. “Your feet are MOVING.” He went on to detail how he wanted players to be hitting the blue line, the red line, and the far blue line: with pistons churning. He said it loud enough that not only did every player on the ice get the message, so did every one of the interested observers who packed that opening session at Leduc Recreation Centre — including yours truly, who finally won a lottery if not the lottery.

While all eyes including mine were on McDavid for long stretches, my ears kept getting drawn back to McLellan, whose message was delivered loud, clear, and (at times) profane. “F***ing go get the puck! We’re not quitting on it!” he hollered at Nail Yakupov at one point, after the winger (who had an excellent day overall) didn’t show quite enough exuberance chasing down a puck skittering down the wall after a couple of failed cycles. It was that point of a drill that attackers usually run out of chances, but McLellan wanted the powerplay groups to pursue and pursue and pursue until the puck was either cleared, frozen, or in the net. After that outburst he urged the attacking unit to “get it back! get it back!” every time a rebound skipped into open ice without any further need to address an individual player, none of whom wanted to be the brunt of the next barrage. All pucks were diligently pursued right to the whistle.

McLellan further cleared his throat in the second half, this time during a dual purpose PP vs. PK drill. After a ragged opening drill the whistle blew hard and the coach commanded his charges to “stop where you are and listen”. He then fired off a fusillade of F-bombs as he addressed where he wanted each player to be: a PP quarterback on the puck deep in his own zone, an outlet pass receiver on each boards, two penalty killers hovering just outside the blueline. That drill magically took shape in no time flat after that.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: todd+mclellan


pautna's avatar

And thus begins a new era in Oilers hockey where they will be very good, get into the playoffs and choke at the most inopportune time because Todd lost the room. Good times ahead!

Posted by pautna on 09/19/15 at 02:52 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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