Are the Oilers finally going to have a play-four-minutes-a-night tough guy again? Well, it looks like coach MacTavish believes his team is in need of that player and good enough to have that role filled on their fourth line.
Today the Oilers plucked Steve MacIntyre off waivers from Florida. The 6’6”, 265 pound behemoth will play Friday in Calgary, and possibly could play five minutes a night on the fourth line in certain regular season games.
“The bottom line is we need to be able to protect our skill in a way that we haven’t done the last little while. If you’re going to be a good team you have to protect the skill on your team. A lot of our skill is attached to competitive bodies, but they’re smaller bodies, and we have to make sure that opposing teams aren’t feeling like they can take liberties with our skill,” said MacTavish.
This seems like a change in philosophy from the team tough mantra, but MacTavish admitted it is also due to more skill throughout the lineup.
“We are good enough that we can have a guy play limited minutes, it will also allow us to keep other guys involved in the game (Penner), so their minutes don’t decrease too much.”
While it isn’t a guarantee that MacIntyre will stick, it’s fitting that this decision comes on a day where the Oilers and Flames meet. It sounds like MacTavish and his staff are determined to ensure that Hemsky, Gagner, Nilsson and the other skill players don’t take too much abuse this season.
Here are the lines for tonight’s tilt against the Flames:
Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky
Nilsson – Gagner – Cogliano
Moreau – Spurgeon – Lefebvre
Corrazzini – Brule – Schremp
Souray – Vishnovsky
Gilbert – Grebeshkov
Peckham – Roy
Roloson will start.