Todd McLellan spent seven seasons in San Jose as the head coach of the Sharks. He missed the playoffs just once in that span, his final season with the club, last year.
Tomorrow night will be McLellan’s first time facing his former team as the bench boss of the Oilers.
“It’s always a different night when you go back and play against your old team,” said McLellan. “I remember going into Minnesota, going into Detroit and now playing against San Jose. San Jose was a long period for myself and my family there. We absolutely loved it. The organization, the ownership, the management, Doug Wilson and his team treated me tremendously well. They gave me an opportunity to enter the league as a young coach. They gave me a tremendous team to work with and the players, from the older ones… all the way down, I have a ton of respect for them. It will be nice to see faces but when the puck is dropped our job is to go out and win a game and that’s what we’ll try and do.”
The Oilers may get a little bit of an edge in their pre-scout with McLellan on their side, as he knows the players well.
“Individually, he’s going to be able to say a few more details about players,” said Matt Hendricks. “He understands the way they play and what they want and what they look for. Maybe we can have some cues on how to frustrate them more than the average team.”
In addition to the “inside info,” McLellan facing his former team could provide more emotional motivation for the players on the bench.
“Yeah, I think so,” said Hendricks. “I think we want to win for him, for sure.”