McLellan’s most relevant comments came when he was asked his reaction to those who thought Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton maybe were too mellow or too nice or too passive or too whatever to serve in the important role of team leaders.
“First of all,” McLellan said, “we need to separate the two because they’re not the same. Their personalities are different. But they are the leaders and they are the focal points of our organization with rest of the core.
“The team hasn’t succeeded over the past little bit with them driving the bus, if you will,” the coach added. “That doesn’t mean they can’t do it. But I think the questions grow every year that you don’t succeed.”
It was pointed out that McLellan knew San Jose’s playoff history — in fact, that’s how the job was vacant — but did he still see something change entering the playoffs that he didn’t expect.
“I don’t think we handled the pressure as well as I thought we would, individually and collectively,” he said. “We talked about external and internal pressure. The external pressure maybe impacted individuals more than the team. We weren’t as competitive as we needed to be in Games 1 and 2, and to me that was the turning point.”