One can understand if a coach might take a “let them play” mentality with the Edmonton Oilers, at least when Connor McDavid is zooming around the ice like a modern evolution of Pavel Bure.
Todd McLellan wants more than that.
After hilariously comparing the Oilers to the “Bad News Bears” after a humbling 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, McLellan seemed happy after a “teaching practice” on Monday.
“We’ve tried to out-score our mistakes and that’s not happening,” McLellan said. “We haven’t been very good defensively. I expect more.”
Considering this decade of incompetence and the high draft picks that come with such failures, Edmonton seems to be perpetually stocked with youth, and thus almost eternally in a position to “learn.”
Even by those standards, this is a group for McLellan to mold. There are a lot of new faces, and whether you like how Peter Chiarelli went about it or not, the Oilers emphasized improving their defense.
As much as it is about the players performing well, McLellan must mold that lump of clay into something competitive sooner rather than player. Like a frustrated teacher with a class full of less-than-motivated students, there will probably be more than a few nights where he might just want to toss up his hands and let the inmates run the asylum.
Gustavsson was reportedly pulled by a concussion spotter shortly after Larsson accidentally bumped him.