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BLOG: McLellan clarifies Draisaitl comments

by Chris Wescott / Head Writer

EDMONTON, AB - After the Oilers beat the Bruins in Boston 4-2 to close out their five-game road trip, Head Coach Todd McLellan commented on the play of Leon Draisaitl.

He said, "He skated tonight… Leon skates, a lot of the time he just skates for Leon. Tonight, he skated for his teammates and created open ice and did some things that were beneficial to his linemates, using his size and creating space. So that was nice to see. And we need him to continue."

Video: EDM@BOS: Strome nets wicked bar-down wrister

That was somehow taken out of context, seen as a slight on one of the team's star players. Simply not the case, said McLellan - who set out to clarify those comments on Tuesday.

"It was interesting, because… we had a conversation with about 12 reporters around and nobody took that as a negative based on their view of how well he played that night," he said. "I was offering him, what I would consider, a very strong compliment. We get back yesterday, and I got a text from one of my friends in the reporting world about how it was perceived as such a negative and Leon being selfish. There was no intent that way. I was actually rewarding him with a very positive comment.

"What I meant by my comments is Leon skates for Leon. He backchecks, he strips players of pucks, he works into position, and that's for Leon and working in the system. When he skates for his teammates, he has players draped all over him, guys are trying to take him down and pull him out and that opens up ice for other players. In my opinion, you look at the goal he set up for the winner for Strome in Boston, he had that. He went to the boards, he had guys draped all over him, he skated through that, he skated up the wall and was challenged, and as a result of that there was open ice created for his teammates. We used to talk in Detroit with Pavel Datsyuk, and this is why it's an ultimate compliment, about how he used to skate for his teammates with people draped all over him. I think that Leon does, and can do that, and when he does he's awfully effective. It was much more a compliment than anyone who wasn't at the game or maybe watching the Grey Cup instead of the game would take."

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