When the Edmonton Oilers and Peter Chiarelli dismissed Todd McLellan last year, we all knew what was happening.
It was a move done by the GM to save grace, extend his own lifeline.
*whispers* todd mclellean is coaching for his job right now and he’s not doing a very good job of it
— zach laing (@zjlaing) November 18, 2018
That, of course, didn’t really work as Chiarelli saw the door not long after McLellan. But now, we’re getting our first real look into how McLellan saw his time in Edmonton.
In a Q&A with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, McLellan said “every day there was good” until the last day, that is. While McLellan left it at that, Spector had learned the true state of Todd’s demise:
(Chiarelli, already planning to dismiss McLellan and having spoken with successor Ken Hitchcock, had McLellan fly with the team to San Jose for a road trip. There he fired McLellan the next morning, and put him on a plane back to Edmonton. It marked a sour, distrustful ending to the relationship, a story that McLellan does not tell, but one we learned elsewhere.)
That’s… brutal. If this is true, there’s few ways worse that Chiarelli could’ve handled dismissing him. Todd’s wife and youngest son had still been living in the San Jose so his boy could finish high school, so for the Oilers to dismiss McLellan and then throw him on a plane back to Edmonton only to have to return home is gutty.
No wonder Todd didn’t want to talk about it. While I’m not sure it’s worse than being fired over Skype, it’s clear that things had soured in the front office last year.
McLellan also had some other interesting things to say.
“Now, I thought it was a big win in Edmonton (in 2017), going to Game 7 in Anaheim. Those are seven playoff wins that didn’t exist for a decade in Edmonton,” he said when asked if winning is critial in his career soon. “In my opinion, I had a poor (2017-18) and 20 games in Edmonton, and I’m not sure the 20 games were that poor either.”
And lastly, McLellan sang the praise of Edmonton, the community, and its fans.
“I am so thankful I got the opportunity to coach in Canada, but particularly in Edmonton. For me, if I was ever to get adopted by a community, that’s the community I would fit best. Growing up in Saskatoon, there are so many comparisons. I would just tell the Edmonton fans, just keep being Edmonton fans. Because they are outstanding in their support of that team, and they just need to keep doing what they do.”
On Twitter: @zjlaing