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Oilers coach McLellan wants up-tempo practices

by Staff

The Edmonton Oilers can expect to see a faster tempo at practice this season under new coach Todd McLellan.

"I know I would like to have some get-up-and-go in practice," McLellan told the Oilers website Thursday, the opening day of his first training camp with Edmonton. "I'll even talk to the players about moving from drill to drill and not wasting time.

"I like to be quick, precise, get on and get off, or at least allow them time at the end or before to work on their individual skills."

However, McLellan wants to make sure he's not going so fast that the teaching process isn't effective.

"That's a tricky thing," he said. "Our language, our approach to the game, isn't a lot different than most teams', but players are used to certain ways and certain habits. Some are really good and some we have to break. We need to take the time to slow things down to make sure that happens.

"With that being said, we want a high level of pace in our practices. We want some intensity that's high. I don't like standing around and waiting. But there is a fine line right now between going too fast and skipping over the details. I think we'll try and avoid that."

McLellan spent the past seven seasons coaching the San Jose Sharks before he and the Sharks agreed to part ways after the 2014-15 season. He was hired by the Oilers on May 19.

McLellan said getting used to a new team with a lot of new players will take some time.

"It's different," he said. "There's no doubt about it, it's different. The environment is different, the players are different. The hockey principles we want to put in place are the same. That part I'm comfortable with. Everything else is a new experience for the players and the coaches. The pace of moving forward with your program won't happen as quick as having an established team.

"For lack of a better analogy, if we're in first grade now, we can't skip second and get to third. We've got to take our time and make sure we've got the fundamentals of first grade down and go from there. It will be a little bit slower than maybe what we're used to, but needed."

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