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BLOG: Factoring in the fans

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

With the Oilers season wrapped up and the players gone their separate ways, the coaches will sit down and re-evaluate much of the year.

While strategy, skill, positioning, player growth and player changes are all hot topics, what many fans may not realize is that the fan-base will be a big piece that’s factored into the coaches conversation.

“The knowledge-base of the fan and media here in Edmonton is exceptional,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “They understand hockey, they get it, and you guys see it like we do.”

After his first full season as Edmonton’s head coach, McLellan said they have now had the time to analyze where the room for improvement lies, what can be adjusted and what can be changed.

“[Fans] sure don’t want to hear the word ‘rebuild’ and ‘patience’ and I’m not using that,” he said. “I think they want to hear that they’re considered in the evaluation. So we have to start with them. We have to make sure that at least we’re giving them an honest effort. Most of the nights we did.

“They want to know that there’s hope. That we’re going the right direction. I think they want to know that there’s some stability, most of them would like to know what’s going to happen today.”

Though McLellan said they’re unable to answer all of these questions right away the staff are aware of what it is the fans don’t — and won’t — hear. 

“But [fans] sure don’t want to hear ‘rebuild’ or ‘patience,’ because I don’t want to hear it anymore and I’ve only been here a year.”

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