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BLOG: McLellan on Ference

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

At the start of each new season, the question of who will maintain or assume the status of captain can sometimes be a touchy subject.

Some feel as though that with the dawn of restructure, changes should be made, while others believe loyalty trumps all else.

According to Oilers head coach Todd McLellan, the subject of who can fill, or continue to fill the role, as captain is tricky, especially when you haven’t had the chance to really see how a player acts both on and off the ice.

“It’s virtually impossible for me as an individual to make a call on the leadership group and tactics that are in play here right now because I haven’t experienced the team as a whole,” said McLellan.

In speaking with Oilers radio analyst and host, Bob Stauffer, McLellan tried to shed some light on the incredibly challenging task that will be at hand.

“I haven’t experienced a lot of the individuals and the way they carry themselves, the way they react to certain situations,” said McLellan.

“Are they verbal leaders? Physical leaders? Are they both? How do they react in successful situations? How do they react to failure? How do they interact with their teammates — I can’t answer any of those questions as a coach right now. I’ve been privy to a lot of conversations where we talked about individuals and their ability to do those things but I know myself and the staff wants to see how it evolves.”

Edmonton Oilers current team captain, Andrew Ference, has bolstered a much-loved reputation among his teammates and community, something that McLellan is very aware of.

Andrew Ference is our captain right now and he’s done a tremendous job of it,” he said. “He is a quality individual, he stands for everything you need to have as a professional. He’s well conditioned, he’s well prepared, he’s got a strong belief system — so those are pretty good qualities right now in that individual.”

Whether a change is made or not, McLellan respects the relationships that are already in place and isn’t looking to make any hasty decisions.

“We need to take it day by day. I sat and talked to Andrew about that situation, I felt that my relationship with him at that time was really strong and you have to have that as a coach-captain situation.”

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