Of course it Stinks: Suck it up

Robin Brownlee
September 22 2013 03:11PM

Of course it stinks that the Edmonton Oilers will start the 2013-14 season without Sam Gagner, who has a broken jaw after a stupid and dangerous play by Zack Kassian of the Vancouver Canucks Saturday. This we know.

Gagner lost several teeth and had his jaw broken in two places after Kassian missed him with an attempted hit along the boards and then whipped his stick around at head-level, catching the Oiler centre in the mouth.

Gagner could be out for a month – possibly longer if he needs surgery to have his jaw wired shut. We don’t know for sure yet because there's been no definitive word from the Oilers, who skated at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park today.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also expected to miss the start of the season while he recovers from shoulder surgery, first-year coach Dallas Eakins has next-to-no depth down the middle as the Oilers prepare to face the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener Oct. 1.

After Taylor Hall, making the switch to pivot with RNH out, the men in the middle as of now are Boyd Gordon and two more from the mix of Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and Will Acton – unless GM Craig MacTavish picks up the phone and makes a deal.

WHAT NOW?

While it's understandable if fans lament the timing of the injury or bicker about the need for more toughness in the line-up – there is merit in the argument but dressing a hammer against the Canucks wouldn’t have prevented the knucklehead play by Kassian – that isn't going to heal Gagner's busted jaw. The Oilers can moan or suck it up. Hall, for one, will go with the latter.

"I feel bad for him, but we're going to have make up for it," Hall said. "It looks like I'm going to be playing a bit more centre than I had originally planned. That's just the way it goes sometimes. I mean, not everything is going to go according to plan and this is one of those things."

"Whatever you have to do to help this team win," said Gordon, who will be pressed into duty as the second-line centre. "If I've got to move up, or whatever the case, sometimes when you lose one of your better players, I think it brings everybody together and makes everybody bear down a little bit more and focus on what they have to do to help the team win."

Until we have a more definitive time frame on Gagner, there's no way of knowing if MacTavish will come into play, as in looking outside the organization for help. Most likely, the cavalry will have to ride to the rescue from within, for better or worse – more Hall, Gordon and the rest.

Yes, it stinks. Carry on.

ROSTER CUTS

The Oilers trimmed their roster to 33 today (20 forwards, 11 defensemen and two goaltenders).

Assigned to Oklahoma City of the AHL were: Richard Bachman, Brad Hunt, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Ryan Martindale, Andrew Miller and Ty Rimmer. Jujhar Khaira was returned to Everett of the WHL.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 Hair bag
September 22 2013, 03:56PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Dangerous play leading to direct stick contact to the head. Any chance of a suspension? I know it was unintentional, but so were a handful of the suspended hits from last year.

I also know that this does little to help the Oilers, but it would go some distance to helping feel like the NHL actually cares more about safety than the optics of Shanny and his office.

Also, screw Kassian. He missed the check by 3 feet and then flailed. I do the same thing when I miss a check so that the opposing player doesn't skate away scott free... I make sure to keep my stick at waste height though. This wasn't entirely innocent, even if the head=shot part of it was.

I agree. The rules say you are responsible for your stick at all times and this was a totally reckless play - I hope that he gets suspended but I doubt it will happen. It wasn't even like he was falling or something, he just blatantly swung his stick around head high, probably like you said to try and slow Gagne down.

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#102 Hair bag
September 22 2013, 03:56PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Dangerous play leading to direct stick contact to the head. Any chance of a suspension? I know it was unintentional, but so were a handful of the suspended hits from last year.

I also know that this does little to help the Oilers, but it would go some distance to helping feel like the NHL actually cares more about safety than the optics of Shanny and his office.

Also, screw Kassian. He missed the check by 3 feet and then flailed. I do the same thing when I miss a check so that the opposing player doesn't skate away scott free... I make sure to keep my stick at waste height though. This wasn't entirely innocent, even if the head=shot part of it was.

I agree. The rules say you are responsible for your stick at all times and this was a totally reckless play - I hope that he gets suspended but I doubt it will happen. It wasn't even like he was falling or something, he just blatantly swung his stick around head high, probably like you said to try and slow Gagne down.

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#104 YFC Prez
September 22 2013, 04:37PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Of great interest,

The upcoming suspensions.

Lest this be legal.

Props for the haiku Yoda Style!

I'm also really interested in seeing how they hand out the suspensions.

Stupid and reckless stick work by Kassian putting Gagner out ....3 to 4 games, I have no idea what Shanahan will do here though, nothing will surprise me. He Hasn't been exactly consistent with his dealings on these dangerous plays.

The head shot by Weiss I imagine will get more games off and seems the more suspendable play according to what the league has done recently. That elbow should get him 5 games IMO.

Was it just me or was there some serious head hunting going on in that game by the Nucks? I really hope that was a one off and not the new norm under Torts...could be a long season.

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#105 Dennis
September 22 2013, 06:03PM
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Apparently Gagner's jaw has not been wired shut, which is promising news. He's still out for a few weeks probably but he won't be out as long as if it was wired shut.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Edmonton+Oilers+centre+Gagner/8944440/story.html

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#106 Greg the Hammer Valentine
September 22 2013, 07:17PM
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Do you think we jinxed the Oilers with all that talk about how little depth they have at center and how it would end in tragedy? Somehow I fell partly responsible...

There must be some resonably priced stop-gap centers out there. I'm thinking Pirri in Chicago or Goc in Florida.

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#107 thebiggestmanintheworld
September 22 2013, 07:33PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You would consider trading Oscar Klefbom to fill a hole for an injury that will keep Gagner out 4-8 weeks?

That hole at center was pretty big, before Gagner went down...

I'm not advocating a Klefbom trade or anything, but we've needed centers since before Klefbom was even drafted...

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#108 hags9000
September 22 2013, 07:36PM
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I think Eberle is more naturally suited to play C than Hall. He will do great.

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#109 Geoff
September 22 2013, 08:29PM
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Harry wrote:

I hate to break it to you folks who think a trade is a bad idea that that is exactly what Tamby would do.

Name one team ever that can survive without its top two centers for the first month of the season.

We needed a center before. And now.we desperately need a center.

We have assets to make a good hockey trade. Hemsky, Marincin, Klefbom and what about next years first rounder?

I woild trade Marincin. His stock is very high right now and with Nurse, Klef, Shultz and Petry we have plenty of young defencemen.

Mactavish would be making a massive mistake if he sits back like tentative Tamby and attempts to survive this. If he doea and we get off to a bad start and miss the postseason because we went 5-10 to start the year it would be the same old BS from the GM of this club.

Please do your job Mac and make a trade!!!

I agree. But I would argue that we have too many young defencemen that are NHL capable. Not that it's a bad thing because having depth is awesome. Now that gagner is injured our lack of NHL center depth could and probably should be addressed if one of Lander/Acton/Arcobello can't show right now they are capable of NHL duties.

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#110 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 09:00PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Exactly. Or I should say......common sense

What happens when the renter doesn't pay on time and the landlord says nothing.

What happens when little Johnny doesn't listen to his parents and there is no punishment given to Johnny ever?

What happens when you don't take care of weeds in the garden when there are only a handful of them?

Answer: Watch tsn tonight and see what David clarkson does when the Sabre goes after Kessel. Then watch the Oiler 'responses' to yesterday's acts on hall and gagner. And no I'm not condoning a Putin-like response but tell me if you think anyone will freely go after Kessel again

If you John Scott (The player that went after Kessel) thinks he had anything less than an incredible game you are mistaken. He goes to bed thinking he got under the skin of a teams top player and got one of there top forwards suspended for 10 games.

OMG Scott has to get into a fight......... he has been in 63 fights in the last 7 year of pro hockey. Do you really think having to drop the gloves will change his game????!!!

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#111 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 09:12PM
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Harry wrote:

I hate to break it to you folks who think a trade is a bad idea that that is exactly what Tamby would do.

Name one team ever that can survive without its top two centers for the first month of the season.

We needed a center before. And now.we desperately need a center.

We have assets to make a good hockey trade. Hemsky, Marincin, Klefbom and what about next years first rounder?

I woild trade Marincin. His stock is very high right now and with Nurse, Klef, Shultz and Petry we have plenty of young defencemen.

Mactavish would be making a massive mistake if he sits back like tentative Tamby and attempts to survive this. If he doea and we get off to a bad start and miss the postseason because we went 5-10 to start the year it would be the same old BS from the GM of this club.

Please do your job Mac and make a trade!!!

Ottawa was without their top forward and top dman last year for most of their season, not just 5-10 games.

Now what happens if Ference breaks a hand blocking a shot and Smid dislocates a shoulder after we trade away some Dmen?? Remember when we had to call up Sebastien Bisaillon?

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#112 oilerjed
September 22 2013, 09:22PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

If you John Scott (The player that went after Kessel) thinks he had anything less than an incredible game you are mistaken. He goes to bed thinking he got under the skin of a teams top player and got one of there top forwards suspended for 10 games.

OMG Scott has to get into a fight......... he has been in 63 fights in the last 7 year of pro hockey. Do you really think having to drop the gloves will change his game????!!!

I wonder about this though, if Scott pummels Kessel before anyone jumps in what does the league do? Obvious intent to injure it would have to be considered IMO. I like how kessel loaded up on the two hander once he came to his senses, he almost took a swing. Would have been night night.

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#113 madjam
September 22 2013, 09:29PM
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Colorado claimed Cliché off waivers and they are overloaded with centers . Shouldn't take much to obtain Perron's old centerman and try him here . Martindale , Lander or Pitluck by acclamation ? Season hasn't started yet , and we are already mounting up on more downgrades , which vastly undermines the few upgrades we have so far . It's doubtfull MacT. will have anymore luck than Tams in trading .

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#114 dougtheslug
September 22 2013, 09:41PM
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DSF wrote:

Vancouver's centre depth is sketchy but it's much better than the Oilers.

Thing is...Henrik has NEVER been injured.

He's played every game, every season since 2004 while Hopkins and Gagner have both missed significant time with injuries.

Prior to the last 2 seasons, Kesler has played 4 complete 82 game seasons so it's a pretty good bet he'll be fine.

You are, of course forgetting that Vancouver is slotting Brad Richardson as their #3C and Mike Santorelli as their #4C with any of Horvat, Gaunce or Lain being a bonus if their play warrants it.

Sedin

Kesler

Richardson

Santorelli

Gaunce

Horvat

Lain

is a much better depth chart than...

Hall

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Chuckles the Clown

...no matter how you slice it.

Brad Richardson? You mean, THE Brad Richardson. The 5foot 11 28 year old who played all of 16 games for LA Kings last year scoring 1 goal and adding 5 helpers? Who played 59 games the previous year, tallying another 5 goals. That Brad Richardson? Come on DSF, if that's depth then Chuckles the Clown is looking back at you from your shaving mirror.

Henrik is also 33 this very Tuesday. Very few NHL players escape the injury bug forever. Especially when thugs like Zach Kassian are swinging sticks at your head.

In a few weeks, Oiler center depth will look like this:

Hall

RNH

Gagner

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Give me that over Vancouver any day.

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#115 dougtheslug
September 22 2013, 10:01PM
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Harry wrote:

Has hell frozen over?

Why am i forced to defend DSF.

News flash!! If any team is the NHL lost there top two centermen to start a season for a month they would have to make a move. And what better area to pick from than that teams area of strength (Edm's defence prospects).

News flash!Just because you want to trade a dman for a centerman doesn't mean NHL GM's are going to line up to accommodate you. This isn't Playstation. Oiler d depth was acquired painfully over the past few years and suddenly you want to squander it for temporary help? Which would become redundant as soon as RNH and Gagner are ready to play. Which will be in about 4 weeks or less, from what I am hearing.

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#116 HardBoiledOil
September 23 2013, 07:49AM
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yup...you have no right to be angry....so "suck it up".

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#117 risto siltanen's shot
September 23 2013, 07:56AM
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what the kids need isn't an enforcer but a video of what happens when you try to run messier,anderson or even smyth. a strong stick presence...Anderson.a strong physical presence...smyth elbow on a flames player charging in or a strong nasty presence...anything messier ever did to macoun.these will deter other aggressive twits from being so reckless in trying to intimidate the kids. if the guy charging at you might be the one getting injured then maybe he'll think twice about being so aggressive.on a side note we'd have less concussions but more shoulder separations if we'd go back to tha 70's style shoulder and elbow pads. >chance of self injury=less reckless actions. I haven't seen anyone run smytty since he learned how to keep his stick up.

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#118 Beaverdam
September 23 2013, 10:19AM
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Right you are Rubin. If they cannot win with this adversity they shouldn't win. Ottawa did it without their leading scorer Norris trophy winner and all-star goalie. Meatheads and or new contracts in exchange for draft picks or young defence prospects does not add up. What happens when RNH and Gagner return? Clearly Oiler fans are looking for an excuse to jump off the bandwagon.

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#119 TigerUnderGlass
September 23 2013, 12:39PM
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Do people really believe that Clarkson has now stopped the Scotts of the world from messing with Kessel?

Scott got everything he wanted out of that and then some. If anything the message sent was "mess with Kessel and this team will lose their minds entirely."

Every pest in the league now knows exactly what to do against Toronto.

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#120 Wax Man Riley
September 24 2013, 12:20PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

If Sam hadn't pulled the chute on this play like he also did with Steve Ott, he may have faired better. Maybe go low and squeeze through leaving Kaasins head to slam into the glass. Sam bailed on both. Kassian should still get 8-10 games.

http://youtu.be/dsy_tyMjhyc

http://youtu.be/uMfCK0DIj4M

OMG Quicks...... Where as all the talk about Hall changing his game a bit so he could actually have a career.

Samwise can't fly head first into defenders. That would be just stupid.

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#121 Quicksilver ballet
September 24 2013, 12:36PM
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@Wax Man Riley

Taylor Hall does do this regularly. Does it real well too.

How many times have you seen Hallsy squeeze by someone looking to stand him up. Taylor's one of the best at it. Taylor should give Gags some lessons. Ebs is doing a good job as well.

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#122 Wax Man Riley
September 24 2013, 01:26PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Taylor Hall does do this regularly. Does it real well too.

How many times have you seen Hallsy squeeze by someone looking to stand him up. Taylor's one of the best at it. Taylor should give Gags some lessons. Ebs is doing a good job as well.

Taylor Hall is also one of the 10 best and fastest skaters in the league.

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