Sports Hockey

Team Canada head coach Todd McLellan confirms meeting Oilers' Chiarelli ... setting scene for Sweden ... broadcasters get a break

By Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun

Todd McLellan. (David Cerny, Reuters)

Todd McLellan. (David Cerny, Reuters)

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 

Team Canada’s coach at the IIHF World Championship admits he’s had his interview with new Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli here.

It’s believed the interview was the No. 1 reason Chiarelli made the trip over here.

McLellan would not characterize the interview but there was certainly nothing in his manner to suggest it didn’t go well.

New Oilers boss Chiarelli, who revealed to your correspondent upon his arrival that Craig MacTavish would continue on with the team as his No. 2 during his visit, also talked to Oilers Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander but didn’t have time to get to Ostrava where Matt Hendricks is captain of the U.S.A. team.

McLellan said he’s keeping his focus on Team Canada while he’s here but will find time to talk to other NHL general managers who wish to have conversations as they begin their searches for new head coaches. McLellan also said he suspects more NHL jobs may be about to come open.

McLellan and the San Jose Sharks agreed to part company at the end of the regular season.

McLellan ended up with a 311-163-66 regular season record as a coach in San Jose and missed the playoffs only once — this season.

Upon arrival in Vienna for a mini-camp and pre-tournament game, McLellan showed no reluctance to discuss the Oilers job with your correspondent.

“Edmonton has always been an interesting spot for many people, I think,” said the coach, who much like what happened to the new general manager in Boston, made the playoffs every year until he missed for the first time this year, only to find himself out the door.

“It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there. Now you add in McDavid, Bob taking over and Peter coming in. I really do think there were good people there before. What job descriptions they end up in, I’m not sure. But there will be a very strong team and group of people there.

“For any coach to consider all of that, it has to be a positive. It has to be exciting, not just for myself but for anybody. With all those good players there, it will eventually get going the right way. I think some of the changes and the No. 1 draft pick on Connor McDavid’s year make it enticing.”

Meanwhile, in Detroit, there was a report Red Wings Mike Babcock was headed here to talk to Chiarelli, which lacks credibility on two fronts. First of all, Babcock remains under contract until July 1, so that would constitute tampering. The other thing is that Chiarelli has departed for the Oilers amateur draft meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.

CZECHS GOOD PREPARATION FOR SWEDES

Sidney Crosby said it was a good setup game for the biggest game of the round-robin tournament which looms large between the only two remaining unbeaten teams in Group A.

“With the Swedes, they are always pretty disciplined in the way that they play, pretty structured. The Czech game was a good test to move forward against Sweden.”

The German game was definitely not a good setup game for the team the Canadians managed to defeat 6-3 here last night.

“The Czechs are a heavy team, they lean on you. And the game we played yesterday against Germany didn’t set us up real well for this one. Time and space was limited and protecting the puck demanded a lot more today than it did the day before, and we weren’t quite ready for that, either. So the setup game wasn’t ideal for us, but we figured it out.”

GORD MILLER GETS A DAY OFF

Not only does Team Canada get a first day off of the tournament here Tuesday, so does play-by-play man Gord Miller, who has been calling two games a day through the first four days of the tournament.

The Edmonton born and raised broadcaster will be replaced by another Edmonton born and raised TSN talent, Bryan Mudryk, who is subbing for yet another Edmonton product, Ryan Rishaug, who was supposed to get the assignment but lost his father due to a massive heart attack.

Ray Ferraro has been the colour commentator for all the games in Prague after arriving here from calling the first round of the playoffs with Miller.

He will work both games today while Miller gets the day off.

TSN is televising 58 of the 64 games of the tournament.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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