Todd McLellan laid out the future of some of his players very clearly this morning. We will find out if they are listening.
McLellan isn’t afraid to challenge his players, but he often challenges the group rather than one individual.
When asked about motivation for his players down the stretch he didn’t mince his words.
“I think there’s too many guys in that room
who have way too much to play for to decide to take a few nights off,” he began. “That starts with free agents, it starts with unrestricted free agents, it
starts with players who are coming back and battling for positional status,” said McLellan.
He then mentioned Jordan Oesterle as possibly being next year’s version of Brandon Davidson. A player who exceeded expectations and took icetime away from other players.
McLellan continued to voice his opinion.
“So to get comfortable and say ‘I’m just
going to go into my spot here in Edmonton’, I think would be a grave mistake by
many of our players, including the very upper end guys.
“I did a study the other day, went back and
looked at Edmonton’s roster from last year. If (a player is thinking),
‘If it’s not in Edmonton it’s going to be somewhere else,’ I’d go do that
homework. Because for a lot of them it wasn’t somewhere else, it was nowhere.
“We’re in the 28th to 30th place range and
those players aren’t quite as desirable as the Stanley Cup champions,” said McLellan.
A nice dose of reality from McLellan.
David Perron is the only player from last year’s Oilers roster who is on a playoff team this year. The rest are either on non-playoff teams — Jeff Petry, Martin Marincin, Marc Arcobello, Boyd Gordon, Ben Scrivens — or not in the NHL — Derek Roy, Matt Fraser, Andrew Miller, Steve Pinizzotto, Keith Aulie, Jesse Joensuu and Viktor Fasth.
If any players are “playing out the season,” they should listen to their head coach.
Here’s the now infamous Oilers Now blurb on Yak. pic.twitter.com/aq0wcXdVYx
— OilersNation (@OilersNation) March 14, 2016
Many have asked about Yakupov leaving the ice at the practice this morning. It never happened. Today was an optional skate. Some players were on the ice and others weren’t.
Something did occur at practice on Saturday morning, and I believe this is what fans are referring to, but they have their days mixed up. I wasn’t at the morning skate, but through multiple sources this is what occurred.
When the two PP groups were announced Yakupov wasn’t on either. Then while the units practised in the offensive zone all the players stood at the blueline watching, even those who weren’t on the units. Yakupov did not. He skated over to the bench and stayed away from the group for a short time. He likely was frustrated, and I can understand why. He believes he can contribute and would like to be on the PP.
Yakupov is allowed to be frustrated, but I’m sure if he could do it over he would have bit his lip and stayed in the group with his teammates. Yakupov never left the ice. That is a very different story.
Some will consider it an issue while others won’t. Players get frustrated all the time, it happens, but usually it occurs behind closed doors.
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