As the Oilers enter uncharted territory, with post-season banter ramping up and comparisons to how the team scales up to other NHL juggernauts rampant, Head Coach Todd McLellan is concerned about one thing: the growth of his team.
"We have to be improving on a daily basis," said McLellan, whose Oilers are 26-15-8 with 60 points - one tick from the top spot in the Pacific Division. "Internal measurement, I think, is more important than external."
Rather than focusing on the Anaheim Ducks or San Jose Sharks - their upcoming opponents and two clubs the Oilers are jockeying with in the Pacific Division - McLellan wants to see how his Oilers are advancing individually, collectively and as a unit.
"Look at yourself individually," he begun. "Are you growing as a player or are you making strides? Then, collectively, [as a] line or a pair. Then as a team. If we believe we're moving the needle in the right direction, everything else will take care of itself. If we start to cheat and take shortcuts, the needle goes the other way and then you're scrambling to fix it."
The Oilers have plenty of time to think about their short two-game, back-to-back swing in California. That doesn't mean it's all going to be about the Ducks and Sharks, though.
"Not too worried about Anaheim or San Jose or anybody else," stated McLellan.
"It's about us."