Saturday night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers had a profound effect on the Oilers.
Late in the second period, Canucks winger Zack Kassian was assessed a double-minor for high sticking Oilers centre Sam Gagner. Kassian was attempting to throw a hit on the play, but lost his footing and ended up slashing Gagner right across the face as he barreled into the boards.
Gagner left the game and has been diagnosed with a broken jaw. He will undergo surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss the next several weeks. The Oilers are already without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins until early November.
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) September 23, 2013
MacIntyre is best known for his knockout of fellow enforcer Raitis Ivanans. He is also famous for his lack of food speed and skating ability, but MacTavish didn’t seem concerned saying, “[MacIntyre] is what he is.”
MacTavish firmly believes the Kassian high stick on Gagner would not have occurred if they had a heavyweight like MacIntyre in the lineup on Saturday.
“Would (Kassian) not have done it had we had a heavyweight?,” MacTavish told Sportsnet.ca. “It was a little bit of a spontaneous act. I don’t know that he wouldn’t have done it had we had, you know, a Colton Orr in the lineup.
Kassian brushed off the MacIntyre acquisition when asked about it by the media.
Kassian on #oilers picking up MacIntyre as a deterrent, “Perfect. I don’t think he can skate, that’s the last thing on our mind.”
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) September 23, 2013
“When a guy 6-8 challenges you that can’t skate? Usually you say no and you go around him and score,” Bieksa said at the time. “That’s what usually you do.”
Ben Eager, who is also (shockingly) upset about the hits, had some fighting words—threatening to target the Canucks skilled players this upcoming season.
Ben Eager on the Canucks: “We play them a lot down the stretch, and we’re going to go after their skill players also.”
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) September 23, 2013
He is not the first Oilers player to issue a threat to the Canucks as Derek Blasutti points out on Twitter:
Yeah, the Canucks are terrified. The last time an Oiler threatened to go after their stars Darcy Hordichuk sprained his knee missing a hit.
— Derek Blasutti (@dawgbone98) September 23, 2013
The hit being referenced is this one on defenceman Keith Ballard:
Circle it on your calendars. The Canucks and Oilers meet next on October 5 at Rogers Arena for the Canucks home opener.