Oilers release training camp roster; looking for enforcer

Jonathan Willis
September 11 2013 09:31AM

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The Oilers main camp starts today, and the team released its roster via Twitter this morning. There aren’t any major shocks, but there are a few names Oilers fans might not recognize.

Changes Coming?

The list the Oilers put out today is likely missing an ingredient if Bob McKenzie can be believed (and can't he always be believed?). The list above doesn't include an obvious candidate for the heavyweight role outside of maybe Ty Bilcke; ergo he will likely need to come from outside the organization via signing, trade or waivers (which is how the Oilers landed Steve MacIntyre a few years back). 

Under The Radar

Ty Bilcke. The 19-year-old is a little young for his chosen role at the professional level, but his OHL stats line from last season leaves no doubt as to what it will be. In 46 games with Windsor, the right wing recorded zero goals, one assist and 76 penalty minutes (down significantly from his five-point, 221-penalty minute season the year before). 

Matt Ford. A 28-year-old right wing, Ford signed an AHL deal with Oklahoma City over the summer. He has decent size and has mostly been a secondary scorer in the high minors the last few years.

Austin Fyten. Fyten is a second-year professional who spent last season playing mostly with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL, where he came in just under the point-per-game mark. He has decent size, plays a gritty game and can score a bit and might be a candidate for a minor-league job.

Joey Leach. An unsigned Calgary Flames draft pick (73rd overall, 2010), Leach is graduating to the professional ranks after a decent WHL career. He brings size and some scoring ability on the blue line.

Derek Nesbitt. Another minor-league journeyman. Nesbitt turned 31 in April and has signed on to play with the Barons. In the last three seasons he’s posted between 42 and 55 points, and he’ll add some experience and auxiliary scoring to a Barons roster light on serious forward prospects.

Reid Petryk. An undrafted Edmontonian who played with Everett (WHL) last year, Petryk’s offensive numbers in junior have been underwhelming (he topped out at 40 points). By most accounts Petryk’s a defensive forward who plays with a bit of grit; he’s hoping to land a pro contract after playing two games in the AHL last year when his junior career season ended. (As pointed out in our comments section, Petryk still has another year of junior eligibility.)

Ty Rimmer. Another undrafted Edmonton native, Rimmer posted a 0.912 save percentage in 65 games with Lethbridge (WHL) last season, and ran up a 0.922 save percentage with the Tri-City Americans the year before. He looked good in half an hour in the game between the Oilers’ rookies and the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and might round out a minor-league depth chart that includes Richard Bachman, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz in net.

C.J. Stretch. The 24-year-old centre worked his way up from the ECHL and on to the Barons last season, and adds a bit of internal competition for players like Ryan Martindale and Travis Ewanyk.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Dan the Man
September 11 2013, 01:10PM
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etownman wrote:

Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

If McGratton is on the ice with our skill guys then:

a.) His coach is really dumb

or

b.) He's out there because he got caught on a bad line change

or

c.) He will soon be fishing the puck out of his own net

or

d.All of the above

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#2 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
September 11 2013, 10:20AM
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How long till Yak celebrates a goal by tearing off 64 with 10 underneath? #YakCity10

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#3 borisnikov
September 11 2013, 12:43PM
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Spencer wrote:

I get the fact that this isn't the eighties however small, friendly, polite team don't win Stanley Cups. A decent heavy weight that will stand up for team mates is a must.

A little remedial evidence to cure what ails you...

Chicago, 2013 season. 3rd last in Majors. Last in PIM Taken. Only 3 misconducts. Zero game misconducts. Presidents Trophy. Stanely Cup.

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#4 Hayek
September 11 2013, 10:11AM
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This is hockey, not boxing or MMA. A heavyweight is not required.

Having our goon fight your goon solves nothing, and proves nothing. Stop living in the 1980's Mackenzie.

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#5 Reg Dunlop
September 11 2013, 10:43AM
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Hayek wrote:

This is hockey, not boxing or MMA. A heavyweight is not required.

Having our goon fight your goon solves nothing, and proves nothing. Stop living in the 1980's Mackenzie.

Typical response of someone who never played the game. Maybe the players should talk out their problems with Oprah mediating.

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#6 YESS!!!
September 11 2013, 09:36AM
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Good to see Yak listed as RW. Training camp is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#7 Rama Lama
September 11 2013, 10:01AM
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Why are we talking about taking Sam's job away from him?

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#8 Bishai in the Benches
September 11 2013, 09:36AM
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If the oilers bring in a serious heavyweight, is there any room for Brown on the roster? And eager just gets buried to the point of having no chance whatsoever of playing with the big club.

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#9 GriffCity
September 11 2013, 10:47AM
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Hayek wrote:

This is hockey, not boxing or MMA. A heavyweight is not required.

Having our goon fight your goon solves nothing, and proves nothing. Stop living in the 1980's Mackenzie.

Obvioulsy you don't play hockey and beer league where you run around and fall down with skates on doesn't count either. I shall try and enlighten you. The reason many teams apply the use of an enforcer is to help safeguard the players who otherwise cannot do it alone. You wouldnt want Yak and Hall having to fight all the time would you? It also helps to referee the game so that other teams dont take liberty after liberty with younger or weaker players. Enforcers keep players honest and make them accountable for their actions on the ice. You better believe that a player who thrives on being dirty will think twice before laying an elbow or punching the face of one of our young guys when there is a fighter who will make them answer the bell. Not to mention its great entertainment for the fans and a fight can be used as a huge momentum swing for a team when implemented at the right time. So, in closing, you dont know what you are talking about.

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#10 Ed in Edmonton
September 11 2013, 12:42PM
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It's been well proven that to be successful in the NHL you need a goon.

Just look at the Red Wings.

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#11 master of my domain
September 11 2013, 12:53PM
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one of the only advantages I see of having a facepuncher on the 4th line is that one of the gifted forwards will get double shifted while said facepuncher is sitting on the bench giving the other team the stink eye.

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#12 Concur
September 11 2013, 10:18AM
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I think that no heavy weight is required but you do need your players to be willing to stand up for each other. No one should take liberties with your teammates. I was always the smallest when I played hockey and my teammates regularly stood up for me and when the need arose I stood up for them too. That is what makes a team, having each others back. Hockey does not have that same brotherhood that it used to.

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#13 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 11:20AM
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The Oilers have to give the heavyweight free reign. Screw the instigator rule. The Oilers rule should be if someone takes a liberty with one of the kids they will bleed. Kill of the extra two minutes. Word travels fast in the NHL a few beat downs and the cheap shots slow down.

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#14 Ducey
September 11 2013, 10:01AM
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I hope Bobby Mac is wrong. This team needs a 4th line center, not some lugnut 3 minute a night heavyweight.

Bilcke is only maginally better than Abney - who should be long gone by now. No thanks.

Fyten and Leach looked ok in the Youngstars tourney. They have ok numbers. Maybe they might earn minor league deals.

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#15 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 10:56AM
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@griffcity Id hate to tell you but a 250 pound iron block who only gets on the ice for 2 minutes agame is going to do nothing to stop anyone from taking liberties. First he has to be on the ice at the same time in order to have the chance to call a guy out, then the guy has to agree or its moot. Then when he sits in the box for the next 17 minutes the other guy starts running around again anyway. The best way to deal with dirty little sh1ts is to target the other teams best players. A thug fest isnt going to solve squat.

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#16 WhattaMike
September 11 2013, 10:49AM
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First, I wish to express condolences to families of those who lost lives this very date with the terrorist attacks of 9-11....May all your families have healed as best as can be... even though this horror will never be forgotten....

Next, Yahoo!!! It's official training camp time for hockey....may this be the year we get into the playoffs and then really have some fun...

I looked at the TC roster and while I agree the Oilers need to get grittier/tougher with an added enforcer, I don't want a statue of one sitting on the bench so much like in the recent past of MacIntyre, Hortichuk, etc.

Without an enforcer type player who can play decent enough for 7 to 9 minutes a game...what I do expect to see is some of the other guys absolutely standing up for our star kids.

There is no such reason that any one of Eager, Brown, Smid, Ference, Potter, etc, cannot stand up for their teammates...when necessary.

I like Mike Brown as a tenacious mid-heavyweight enforcer. He may not have great offensive skills but he can skate very well at the least....where as others could not (MacIntyre)

Do the Oilers need a big mean tough guy??? Definitely...but one who can skate well enough to not hurt the scoring of the game itself.

On the other hand, i have been a hockey fan for many years and one of the most stupid rules put in.... is the instigator rule...it allows those such as Avery, Cooke, Burrows, etc, to have gotten away with far too much. TAKE THIS RULE AWAY!!!!!

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#17 northof51
September 11 2013, 10:53AM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Typical response of someone who never played the game. Maybe the players should talk out their problems with Oprah mediating.

Playing hockey and playing in the NHL are not the same thing. In the NHL, there is video replay and an adjudicating body who is willing to throw out random suspensions on a whim. Not to mention national media coverage dissecting every single play.

In other "hockey" (I'm thinking specifically of Senior), random psychos take over the game with all out brutality and that is best combated with your own random psycho.

In the NHL there is a middle ground between having a face puncher and a lack of masculinity. There are tougher players who can play more minutes. I am in favour of that coming from the 6th dman, not from a 2.5 min per game "tough guy".

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#18 Kent Wilson
September 11 2013, 02:49PM
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@etownman

If McGrattan is on the ice against Hall and Eberle, the Flames are throwing the game and you should stop playing the stars anyways.

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#19 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 10:49AM
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With the league making a definitive effort towards removing staged fighting, heavywieght goons are going to become dinosaurs. Besides, staged fights are never as exciting as a fight that is a result of good hard hockey plays and emotion. We dont need a goon, a good solid butt end or slash would suffice to remove these apes from opposing teams lineups for the night. That's what 4th liners are for after all.

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#20 pkam
September 11 2013, 11:09AM
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GriffCity wrote:

Obvioulsy you don't play hockey and beer league where you run around and fall down with skates on doesn't count either. I shall try and enlighten you. The reason many teams apply the use of an enforcer is to help safeguard the players who otherwise cannot do it alone. You wouldnt want Yak and Hall having to fight all the time would you? It also helps to referee the game so that other teams dont take liberty after liberty with younger or weaker players. Enforcers keep players honest and make them accountable for their actions on the ice. You better believe that a player who thrives on being dirty will think twice before laying an elbow or punching the face of one of our young guys when there is a fighter who will make them answer the bell. Not to mention its great entertainment for the fans and a fight can be used as a huge momentum swing for a team when implemented at the right time. So, in closing, you dont know what you are talking about.

If I remember correctly, Steve Macintyre was an Oilers in 2010-11. The question is why we only played him 34 games that year and less than 2 minutes a game when we dress him?

Also, why did Hall have to fight Derek Dorsett and finished his season early with an injury? I thought there should be no one dare to touch our young players, right?

With the instigating rule, the heavyweight is as effective as a scarecrow, but it takes up one of your 23 roster spot. How do you stop the other team from taking liberty with our young players and refusing to fight our heavyweight?

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#21 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 10:56AM
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** wrote:

Why would an opposing team send their fighter against a scoring line?.

If you watch the games some teams even change on the fly. Getting a scoring line out against the fourth line is known as an astute coaching move. I know it has been a while since we saw an astute coaching move in these parts but it does happen.

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#22 The Beaker
September 11 2013, 11:23AM
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@pkam

Why did we only play Macintyre 2 min a game? Why do you need to ask that question?

BECAUSE HE COULDN'T PLAY HOCKEY!

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#23 oilers2k10
September 11 2013, 10:45AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

How long till Yak celebrates a goal by tearing off 64 with 10 underneath? #YakCity10

Velcro Baby, his Jersey needs more Velcro!

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#24 **
September 11 2013, 10:52AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sure Gagner will beat down a 6'4" 240 lbs fighter.

The team needs someone to keep the other teams honest with the kids.The powerplay will help some in that regard but nothing beats a punch to the head.

Why would an opposing team send their fighter against a scoring line?.

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#25 pkam
September 11 2013, 12:47PM
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I'll reword my question.

If the toughest guy McIntyre cannot stop the other team from taking liberty at our young players, why do you think a tough player who can play some hockey but nowhere near as tough as McIntyre can stop the other team from taking liberty at our young players?

Are you telling me that he can play some hockey will make the difference?

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#26 oilbaron
September 11 2013, 01:24PM
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It doesn't seem like Bob Mackenzie is that credible these days. Seems like he tweets just so people have something to talk about (and so they say they found out through him). Maybe he's in the know out east, but something tells me he's out of the loop when it comes to Edmonton

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#27 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 10:22AM
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Dave Semenko...that is all.

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#28 madjam
September 11 2013, 10:24AM
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Get local boy John Scott as an addition .

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#29 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 10:24AM
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Concur wrote:

I think that no heavy weight is required but you do need your players to be willing to stand up for each other. No one should take liberties with your teammates. I was always the smallest when I played hockey and my teammates regularly stood up for me and when the need arose I stood up for them too. That is what makes a team, having each others back. Hockey does not have that same brotherhood that it used to.

Sure Gagner will beat down a 6'4" 240 lbs fighter.

The team needs someone to keep the other teams honest with the kids.The powerplay will help some in that regard but nothing beats a punch to the head.

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#30 HardBoiledOil
September 11 2013, 11:02AM
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maybe *IF* Ben Eager can make it back on to the Oilers roster, and *IF* the Oilers choose to keep Mike Brown as well, they may not need to find one...at least this year.

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
September 11 2013, 11:19AM
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Here it is, September 11/the opening of training camp, and still so many holes throughout this lineup. Bobby Mac tweets the Oilers are looking for an enforcer, lets face it, the Oilers are in need of many bodies who'll sufficiently fill a hole on this roster. This isn't just limited to that enforcer Mac feels they're trolling for. Something's wrong if they haven't thought of this before now.

Have to give the Oilers off season accomplishments a D grade. Lowe brings in a rookie GM and another rookie coach, yeah, that will sure fix things....35% of that tc roster is fodder. Bodies that will surely just be in the way of the few players that matter. A non playoff team with no cap space left, if they even found someone who is willing to come here, they still couldn't do anything.

Hunker down hockey fans....another season of hockey that doesn't matter.

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#32 etownman
September 11 2013, 12:44PM
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Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

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#33 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 01:52PM
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etownman wrote:

Envision McGrattan running around taking runs at our skill guys, who is going to answer?? Yes, it still happens in the NHL! Boogard beat the living sh*t out of Hemmer doing that very thing, want to see that happen again?

When did Boogard fight hemsky?? And how did that ever happen? other players( yes including the goalie) should have been laying lumber across the back of his head until he fell like a mighty oak. The question in situations like this is why would the goon not be suspended for 15-30 games with intent to injure?! Im not buying any of this crap, you need the team to stick up for each other period. You cant rely on one guy to make your reputation and protect your stars. It has to be a combined team effort or an epic failure is coming in short order.

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#34 Greg S
September 11 2013, 10:03AM
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"Petryk's" junior career has not ended. He has 20 year old WHL eligibility. If he is back in Everett and Khaira ends up with the Tips they are slated to billet together.

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#35 2004Z06
September 11 2013, 11:05AM
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With the new rules implemented over the last 2 yrs to curb fighting and reduce concussions, the incident rates of concussions actually went up. Most concussions are a result of cheap shots/dirty plays. Bringing back the enforcer and eliminating the instigator rule deters the cheap shots because it promotes on ice accountability and lets the players police themselves. He doesn't have to fight, but the deterrent is there just having him on the bench. If he can play too...that's a bonus.

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#37 Reg Dunlop
September 11 2013, 11:10AM
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@oilerjed and northof51

If it is true that Mac and Eakins see a need for an enforcer I think, unless either of you are actually Scotty Bowman, you might want to re-think your stance. Bring on the thuggery, it will make Ebs and Nuge play bigger knowing a face puncher has their back.

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#38 Spydyr
September 11 2013, 12:28PM
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pkam wrote:

If the guy refuse to fight and you punch him even once, it will be 7 minutes, not 2.

Did you see Avery fight any tough guy? Did he ever stop taking liberty at the weaker players?

Even in that worst case scenario where the guy is such a coward he won't fight. What is better a seven minute penalty or seven months without a kid because of injury.

Protect this house and the kids that live here. Enough of being the softest team in the NHL.

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#39 pkam
September 11 2013, 11:26AM
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Spydyr wrote:

The Oilers have to give the heavyweight free reign. Screw the instigator rule. The Oilers rule should be if someone takes a liberty with one of the kids they will bleed. Kill of the extra two minutes. Word travels fast in the NHL a few beat downs and the cheap shots slow down.

If the guy refuse to fight and you punch him even once, it will be 7 minutes, not 2.

Did you see Avery fight any tough guy? Did he ever stop taking liberty at the weaker players?

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#40 oilerjed
September 11 2013, 11:32AM
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GriffCity wrote:

Again an ignorant comment...So you're saying remove fighters and start playing dirtier with butt ends and slashes? Are you insane? Not to mention whoever you have in your mind as the person giving said butt end or vicious slash will result in a 5+ game suspension. How again is that better? Not to mention it better be a pretty good slash to "remove them from the game" or what would end up ahppening is the "goon" would pick up the little pussy who uses his stick as a weapon and beat him senseless...Again, big help. But thank you for your ignorant opinion on fighting in hockey

Wow, how do you really feel. Seems to be a pretty sensitive item for you. Ignorant is something I am definetly not, just differ from your opinion is all. No one said play dirtier, all I am saying is that if the other team starts floating a goon around the ice on patrol, I say put the dog down. And lets be honest what is the difference between using the mitts of a 250 lb gorilla to "beat him senseless" as you said and using your stick as a weapon. Speaking of ignorant, have you missed the last 3 years where these enforcers have started commiting suicide and finally talking openly about having to live with concussion difficulties on a daily basis. As long as you are entertained though right. If there is someone running around, there are numerous ways of handling it. We have skilled players, they have skilled players. Anyone one the team can fight, some better then others, we dont need a heavyweight to put a pest in his place.

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#41 Geoff
September 11 2013, 11:48AM
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If we can find a face puncher who happens to be a legit 4rth line center I think that'd be perfect!

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
September 11 2013, 12:02PM
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I'm sure former rage rider, and Oilersnations own Brian Sutherby would have a few stories from his days in Dallas as to why the Oilers are still of the Lambs to the slaughter variety. His Stars ate the Oilers for lunch on numerous occasions during his stay there.....didn't you Brian..

Go after Zac Rinaldo, he's one violent mother pucker. Combatants are much less likely to retaliate after the wind is knocked out of them.

Violence is always the answer when it comes to matters of the heart like this.

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#43 russ99
September 11 2013, 12:28PM
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Why do we need another fighter to sit on the press box with Brown?

I'd think another NHL center and a better checking line winger are way higher up the shopping list.

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#44 Carlos Danger
September 11 2013, 10:18AM
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Does #59 have a brother Mike? I think i might know him we used to fight all the time.

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#45 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
September 11 2013, 10:23AM
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Hayek wrote:

This is hockey, not boxing or MMA. A heavyweight is not required.

Having our goon fight your goon solves nothing, and proves nothing. Stop living in the 1980's Mackenzie.

Why do goons have to fight each other? They can jump players and fight everyone!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_104ZMtse3g&feature=youtu.be&t=46s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGAdHcuJOkQ&feature=youtu.be

Looks like Mac still got it!

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#46 GriffCity
September 11 2013, 11:06AM
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oilerjed wrote:

With the league making a definitive effort towards removing staged fighting, heavywieght goons are going to become dinosaurs. Besides, staged fights are never as exciting as a fight that is a result of good hard hockey plays and emotion. We dont need a goon, a good solid butt end or slash would suffice to remove these apes from opposing teams lineups for the night. That's what 4th liners are for after all.

Again an ignorant comment...So you're saying remove fighters and start playing dirtier with butt ends and slashes? Are you insane? Not to mention whoever you have in your mind as the person giving said butt end or vicious slash will result in a 5+ game suspension. How again is that better? Not to mention it better be a pretty good slash to "remove them from the game" or what would end up ahppening is the "goon" would pick up the little pussy who uses his stick as a weapon and beat him senseless...Again, big help. But thank you for your ignorant opinion on fighting in hockey

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#47 GriffCity
September 11 2013, 11:17AM
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pkam wrote:

If I remember correctly, Steve Macintyre was an Oilers in 2010-11. The question is why we only played him 34 games that year and less than 2 minutes a game when we dress him?

Also, why did Hall have to fight Derek Dorsett and finished his season early with an injury? I thought there should be no one dare to touch our young players, right?

With the instigating rule, the heavyweight is as effective as a scarecrow, but it takes up one of your 23 roster spot. How do you stop the other team from taking liberty with our young players and refusing to fight our heavyweight?

make a good point about a one dimensional oversized goon, but thats not what im referring to. I would like a body that can play the game at a decent level but his main attribute is that he beats the snot out of people. Doesn't have to be a Macentyre.

When Hall fought Dorsett he did so out of his own fruition and im sure was told afterwards to never do that again. Plus Dorsett is an agitator not a heavyweight.

Last I checked, Scarecrows still work at keeping the crows away. Also, simply because the Oilers misused a player like Macintyre doesnt mean they are of no use. Big Steve found himself a home in the NHL...With the Penguins! Safe to say a few of their players are incapable of doing the fighting. If PIT can use a guy like that, how can the Oilers not? Plus he wouldnt need to dress every game, only against those teams which play a game suited to having a guy like that around.

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#48 pkam
September 11 2013, 11:39AM
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GriffCity wrote:

make a good point about a one dimensional oversized goon, but thats not what im referring to. I would like a body that can play the game at a decent level but his main attribute is that he beats the snot out of people. Doesn't have to be a Macentyre.

When Hall fought Dorsett he did so out of his own fruition and im sure was told afterwards to never do that again. Plus Dorsett is an agitator not a heavyweight.

Last I checked, Scarecrows still work at keeping the crows away. Also, simply because the Oilers misused a player like Macintyre doesnt mean they are of no use. Big Steve found himself a home in the NHL...With the Penguins! Safe to say a few of their players are incapable of doing the fighting. If PIT can use a guy like that, how can the Oilers not? Plus he wouldnt need to dress every game, only against those teams which play a game suited to having a guy like that around.

Your argument that nobody is dare to take liberty at our young stars if we have a tough guy to hold them accountable. The fact is Derek Dorsett was still taking Liberty at our young stars even though McIntyre was an Oilers.

So what happen if I continue to take liberty at your small players and refuse to fight your tough guy, are you going to sucker punch me and take 7 minute of penalty and risk getting a suspension?

Scarecrow can only scare the idiots. Do Avery and Clutterbuck ever stop taking liberty of smaller players?

And by the way, McIntyre only played 24 game in 2011-12 and 1 game 2012-13 with the Penguins. Wonder why? Nobody is willing to fight him but continue to take liberty at your smaller players.

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#49 pkam
September 11 2013, 11:41AM
Trash it!
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The Beaker wrote:

Why did we only play Macintyre 2 min a game? Why do you need to ask that question?

BECAUSE HE COULDN'T PLAY HOCKEY!

If he couldn't play hockey, and he can't stop the other team from taking liberty at our young and smaller players, what is the purpose of signing him or dressing him?

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#50 Oilerz4life
September 11 2013, 11:56AM
Trash it!
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@Hayek

It's not about having "our goon fight your goon", its about protecting your goal scorers. Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yaks. Can you see any of them standing up for themselves against a team like Boston? Get it right. It keeps the game honest. This is the Canadian game. Its a contact sport.

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