A higher pace of practice is what Todd McLellan wants to institute in Edmonton.
“I know I would like to have some get-up-and-go in practice,” said the head coach. “I’ll even talk to the players about moving from drill to drill and not wasting time. The old ‘at the practice and lining them up’, and we will do some of it, but lining them up to just skate them to get their conditioning level up, I think if you have to do that on a consistent basis, you haven’t had tempo in practice, you haven’t had the intensity in practice. 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.”
That pace starts in training camp. However, there is a fine line between high-tempo drills and going too fast during the teaching process.
“That’s a tricky thing,” said McLellan. “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.”
As for the installation of McLellan’s systems and philosophies, he expects that to take time as well.
“There’s only so many ways you can play the game,” he said. “Sometimes our language will be different. Sometimes we’ll confuse them because of it. It will take some time for us to get them to clearly understand what our language is. I think they’ll pick it up quick. We have to do a fairly good job of teaching it. We can’t skip over any details… But I think they’ll get it. I really believe they will.”