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Oilers use prosperity to work on game

Todd McLellan talks about how the Oilers have been able to use their recent winning stretch to improve facts of their game

by Marc Ciampa /

Having now won four consecutive games, the Oilers are on a roll rarely seen in recent times. Head Coach Todd McLellan was asked about making adjustments to the team's game at a time when things appear to be going so well. 

"I think there's different phases of coaching. When you're having success, you want to continue to hold them accountable. It's a good time to do it because they feel comfortable. They feel good about themselves and their game so you can go after them sometimes a little bit harder when you're winning. But there's a fine line you don't want to cross," McLellan began. 

"You can also take your game and add to it. If you're doing some things well, you think you've got that in the bank. You polish it up a little bit but now you add some things to it. Successful teams, good teams are always kind of getting ahead of it. Teams that struggle are always trying to catch up. Where are we right now? We're still trying to figure it out. We're slowly adding a little bit to our game, but we're also trying to polish up some things."

The Oilers have an interesting test on Friday night on the road against Vancouver. It's a team that, like the Oilers, is off to a surprisingly good start, tied for second in the conference behind Edmonton with nine points (4-2-1). McLellan was asked if he thinks his players will be checking the standings tomorrow morning before the game. 

"I hope they do. Vancouver's right behind us. If they picked up the standings and looked and saw that Vancouver had (nine) points, they've won a lot of games early in the season. You've heard the word 'test' a lot around our team. Every game's a test for us. It doesn't matter if we're on a four-game losing streak or a four-game winning streak, it's a test. We sometimes get so focused on the outcome of a game and what it means to the standings that you don't look at what happened during the night."

Much like games against League powerhouses St. Louis and Washington served as measuring sticks for his squad, McLellan sees the Canucks in much the same light in terms of evaulating where his team is at. 

"There's some nights where we've played well and lost and there's some nights where we've played poorly and won over the last year and a half. The most important thing we can do is look at the input into the game. How did we play in certain situations? Where do we have to get better? The start, the preparation for the game in Vancouver is very important. We're looking at that as part of the process."

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