Former Oiler, Iiro Pakarinen, didn’t mince words when speaking to the Finnish website MTV Uutiset over the weekend about what it was like to play for the Edmonton Oilers during his four years here and it was the coaching staff that seemed to draw his ire. In the interview, Pakarinen claims that the Oilers have a serious lack of communication between the coaching staff and players and that it’s a problem that was very “irritating” during his time here. Could it be true? Let’s find out together.
Pakarinen, who spent parts of four seasons in Edmonton before signing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk this past summer, was asked about his time with the organization and what he thought of Jesse Puljujarvi’s recent demotion to the Bakersfield Condors.
As it turns out, Pakarinen didn’t seem all that surprised based on his own experiences with the current regime. From his standpoint, there was very little communication between the coaching staff and players which was frustrating to deal with and kept them guessing as to why they were in the doghouse.
Keep in mind, I translated the quotes in Google so there is a real possibility that something got lost in translation, but you get the idea:
They don’t say anything or talk to you about why you’re not playing. At least the Oilers never did. That’s what annoyed me the most.
Wait a minute… you’re telling me that McLellan would pull you from the lineup without so much as a conversation? No reason or anything? Did you ask why you weren’t playing? Telephones work both ways, bro. Regardless, this all seems weird to me. Go on.
Coach never gives you a reason or reasons. You have to figure it out why you’re sitting in the press box by yourself. Also, in general, the coach and GM talked to us very little. It’s almost like they have some top secret information. I think it’s unfathomable.
I mean, I understand why you guys wouldn’t talk to Chiarelli all that often, he’s the GM and has to oversee more than just day-to-day operations, but not speaking to coach does seem very odd to me. Shouldn’t these guys have some kind of open door policy in place to make sure that everyone is on the same page?
Communication should be more open like it is in Europe. Here it goes like it should. In the NHL, it feels like the coach is one great ego. Of course the coach will talk to the players about random things, but never about anything personal or things related to your own game.
Ahhhhh, so in Pakarinen’s eyes, Coach Todd isn’t one of those buddy-buddy type of coaches that wants to know what you got up to on the weekend. He’s more of a ‘nuts and bolts’ kinda guy that only cares about the job at hand. You know what? I can see that. Todd McLellan doesn’t seem like the kind of coach that will get up on the tables with you to belt out Closing Time at the end of the night, ya know? But I also don’t think it’s only the “hey how are ya” conversations that were missing, he makes it seem like there’s something more there.
At NHL it feels like the head coach is a great ego. Of course, the head coach is going to talk to some of the players about something else, but never really personally, about any jokes. There’s never to say anything about it if it does not play. It remained the most irritating thing in the mind.
Okay, so this just took a turn now. So Iiro thinks that McLellan cares more about his own ego than giving the players some of his time on a personal level? That would be a problem, if true. I know Coach Todd doesn’t like when us mouth-breathing bloggers give him advice or feedback but to withhold information or dialogue with his own players?
On the flip side, I was just looking at Pakarinen’s stat line from his time here and maybe, just maybe he should have had a better idea of why he wasn’t in the lineup? I mean, if you shit in your pants, do we really have to have a conversation for you to realize that you stink? Maybe? Anybody? I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going on here.
At the end of the day, it sucks to hear former players take shots at the organization after they’ve left no matter who it is or for what reason. Part of me feels like maybe Pakarinen is a little bit salty about how things worked out here, but he’s also not the first one to complain about a lack of communication with Todd McLellan. Back in April of 2015, Joe Thornton also hinted at McLellan’s lack of communication with his players which makes it seem like there could be something there that needs to be addressed.
Then again, how many of us normies have personal relationships with our own bosses, though very few of us would ever spend as much time together that these guys do. All I know for sure is that it’s never a great look when a former player takes shots at an organization after they’ve left, and that, if true, the lack of communication between coach, management, and players is something that should definitely be addressed. How? I don’t have the answer. Fixing this problem would take a conversation which is something that isn’t allegedly happening in the first place.
What do you guys think?