Todd McLellan was not happy following his team’s 5-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The frustrating and “embarrassing” effort forced the staff to change tactics on Monday at practice. Instead of focusing on tweaking and teaching, the Oilers skated heavily and participated in high-intensity battle drills.
“Today is a disappointing day, in my opinion, because it was a day that we should have been using to advance our team game, polish things up in certain areas, and it turned into reestablishing a work ethic and holding players accountable for lack of work ethic in a game,” said McLellan. “The staff and the players, we get no enjoyment from that at all. That’s like sitting in front of my two boys at home and disciplining them for their inactions or poor choices. There isn’t a parent in the world who likes doing that, and that wasn’t a fun day. But we had to reestablish that there are some expectations when you put the equipment on to be honest at least.”
The Oilers opened practice with some hard laps around the ice, then participated in a drill where two players skate the length of the ice then shoot the puck. Then, the Oilers wrapped things up with a few battle drills including on where two players fight for the puck and then skate to centre ice, then turn and skate back.
“I was disappointed after reviewing the game again, and obviously the effort and the battle level, but even some of the game management situations,” said the head coach. “1:20 shifts, and then still trying to go on offence and complete disregard for back-checking. The day was spent trying to reestablish boundaries and what is acceptable and what isn’t.”