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More time on special teams means games will have to be coached differently, something Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan is aware of

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - With the emphasis now being to call any malicious stick taps or cheating centremen looking for an edge on the draw, there's no doubt special teams will become much more important in 2017-18.

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Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan remarked on the looming scenario on Tuesday. 

"It's proportionate," he said. "Right now, we're spending about six to seven more minutes a night in special teams situations. Now, we've only played one game at home and one game on the road and I don't know where that's going to go, but if that's any indication, we've really got to brush up."

McLellan said how he uses his players will need to be taken into consideration. The coach fears some skaters getting cold on the bench while others stay moving.

"You have to think about getting more players involved, as penalty killers especially, because if you're not involved in that situation you may be sitting there for a while and not be into the game," McLellan said. "There's a number of things to think about but I think it's an advantage now having been here for two years and having the group together. We have a foundation for the power play and penalty kill. I go back to where we were two years ago when we started, it'd be a tough task to get it all together with the emphasis on special teams."

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