ANAHEIM, Calif. – Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle decided to play some mind games with the Edmonton Oilers at media availability before Game 1 of their second-round series.
The Oilers had the worst faceoff percentage in the NHL at 47.0 last season while the Ducks had the league’s best at 54.7 percent – so Carlyle felt the need to point this out with cameras rolling.
“I know they’re going to make faceoffs a priority. They’re going to be whining to the officials. I know that’s coming because that’s just the way playoffs are because everybody has their crosses to bear on what the opposition is doing,” Carlyle said. “Because we’ve been a strong faceoff team, I’m sure they’re going to complain to the officials about the way we’re taking faceoffs. That’s just the process that takes place.”
Oilers coach Todd McLellan was asked about Carlyle’s comments and chuckled.
“Already? Already? I’ve been whining about or faceoffs all year because we’re in 30th place. I don’t think that’s a brilliant comment by any means. When you’re in 30th you’re not happy where your team’s at,” McLellan said. “Sometimes these games are played and sometimes some of those comments are almost an admission of guilt at times because they’re very effective in the faceoff circle and they do do some things, so that’s always nice to distract.”
Edmonton’s issues in the dot didn’t prevent them from beating the San Jose Sharks in the first-round of the playoffs. In that series, San Jose held a 52.8 faceoff percentage while the Oilers were at 47.2 percent. In fact five teams that won their first-round series were below the 50 percent mark this postseason.
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