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Oilers chose to swap rest days for progress

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / Head Writer

Todd McLellan was visibly upset with his team's performance Sunday evening against Buffalo. A 6-2 loss left the head coach announcing the team would practice on a previously scheduled off-day the next day.

This led to some media speculation on the decision and whether or not it infringed on any NHLPA rules. However, the Oilers captains and leadership group met and decided it was in the best interest of the team to swap out a day off Monday for a day off Wednesday. Sunday's game is later than Monday's was, so resting on Wednesday made more sense.

"I met with the leadership group after the game and asked them if they'd be willing to flip an off-day Monday for an off-day Wednesday, which they will get," said Coach McLellan. "I made it real clear to them we weren't bringing them in here and lining them up to skate from end to end and watch guys throw up because that doesn't happen anymore in the NHL. If you want to continue to coach and you want to have an impact with young players, you have to show them you're prepared to work with them to try and help them. That's what today was about. They were really receptive."

The players agreed amongst each other to swap off-days.

"A few things went into it," said Captain Connor McDavid. "It's definitely good to close the page on last night and come in, regroup and take a day to get better here. I think, overall, everyone is still feeling pretty good still. I think the rest may not have been as important today as it would be on Wednesday."

"I think there were a lot of things we need to clean up, but most of all it wasn't like we had a day off taken away," Lucic said. "We just moved it to another time. It was a 5 p.m. game versus a 7 p.m. game. Guys were home by 9:30 versus 11:30 so we just thought it'd be a better way for guys to get their rest and that was the decision on the day off. There's no pressure on us from the coaches or anything. It was more of a players' decision than it was a coaches' decision."

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