Following a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the last place club in the Western Conference, Todd McLellan did not mince words, saying this loss may have been the worst one yet.
“I personally feel it was more troubling,” McLellan said. “Just simple things. We fall down defending. That can happen. We win a faceoff and we shoot a puck clearly over the glass. Not even close. Where are we mentally? We address something between periods, the very first shift we go out and we do it the opposite of what we were asked to do. That’s troubling.”
McLellan was composed, but extremely direct with his observations. The work ethic is simply not what McLellan has seen the past two years.
“We’re all in it together,” McLellan said. “The disappointing thing for me is when someone shows up to work and they are not prepared to work. I can live with mistakes. I can even live with losing (with the effort). We’re in a winning business. I can’t imagine what would happen in the real world, a brain surgeon, an ambulance driver, a police officer, someone over in Afghanistan, if they weren’t prepared to exercise what they were asked to do in critical situations.”
San Jose’s bench boss said he will look at changing several things to get the club playing to their skill level.
“I’m the leader of this team. I’m the coach, and it’s my responsibility to make sure that they’re prepared to play,” McLellan. “After that, it becomes an individual’s responsibility. And, right now, I’m not doing a very good job. So, they need to step up a little bit. I need to a better job and find better buttons to push.”
The changes could come from simple routines to lineup alterations.
“What we are doing isn’t working right now,” McLellan said. “We’ve got to look at changing. Maybe combinations, maybe some guys need to watch a few games. Maybe practices need to change, perhaps the way we deliver our message as a coaching staff. But ultimately, as individuals, you have to be ready to play. It doesn’t matter how it comes across.”
McLellan’s goal is to have 20 players filling their roles each night to the best of their abilities and he’s intent on finding a solution.
“We didn’t have enough guys tonight,” McLellan said. “There are always things you can do. We’ll try and find ways. We talked about it as a group after the game and I didn’t necessarily like the response I got from a couple of people. It was very disappointing. We’ll address that tomorrow.”
McLellan experienced a losing skid with Detroit as an assistant coach, but would not allow there to be any similar comparisons Thursday evening.
“We did lose 10 of 11 [in Detroit, the year we won the Cup] and came back, but it was a little bit different, to tell you the truth,” McLellan said. “There were guys that were coming to the rink prepared, ready to sacrifice, their minds were clear and they knew what the game plan was. Tonight, we didn’t have that from enough people.”
McLellan is looking for answers and doesn’t want any players feeling sorry for what’s happening, he wants results.
“Pity is a terrible quality and if we are walking around tomorrow holding our heads and feeling pity, it’s going to be a lot longer before we win than we think,” McLellan said. “It is the drug of losers and I don’t expect to see any of it tomorrow at practice.”
OILERS HEAD COACH TOM RENNEY “We played hard again tonight. We played hard and did everything we can to play the game on our toes.”
“They came at us a few times, had us in our own end, but we did not panic. They got inside of us a couple times, but we really battled to work ourselves in the proper position.”
“Taylor is just a fearless kid that wants the puck, plays the game, knows where the net is, navigates the ice extremely well and he certainly does not look out of place.”
NEXT GAME The Sharks will host St. Louis Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.