Steve MacIntyre had a pretty good start to 2010-11. He played a little over five minutes in the season opener against Calgary, demolished Raitis Ivanans in a heavyweight battle, and with Tom Renney in charge behind the bench the promise of more minutes awaited.
Things haven’t really worked out all that well since.
MacIntyre played in just three more games during the month of October, and he was utilized less in both November and December, playing just two games during each month. He’s certainly done his best to be involved when he has been given the opportunity to play – he’s fought three times in his last three games, and got a game misconduct after tussling with Colton Orr in his last contest on December 14th.
That hasn’t been enough to keep him in the line-up, however, and I’m not sure why. Renney’s record in New York shows a coach unafraid to use a one-trick pony like MacIntyre; he regularly utilized the services of players like Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg. Likely, it isn’t an aversion to enforcers that has MacIntyre press-boxed.
Perhaps it is simply a matter of who the Oilers have been playing – although some of their opponents the last while do have legitimate fighters, a quick glance through the last few games MacIntyre has missed shows they haven’t generally been dressed.
I’m not pining for a call-up to replace MacIntyre; after all, between Jacques and O’Marra there are plenty of options for a demotion, and I’m not sold that Linus Omark deserves a longer stint in the big leagues than he got, at least at this point in time. I’d still like to see Liam Reddox get a stint on this year’s team, but that’s a minor point rather than any kind of priority.
No, I’m looking more to next season. Is MacIntyre a relevant part of the future of this team? Do the Oilers need an enforcer if they aren’t going to use the one they have in a season where winning and losing is of less relevance than it will be at any point in the foreseeable future? If there is a season when it makes sense to ice an enforcer to protect younger players, it would be this one, yet the Oilers aren’t doing it.
I don’t know if the Oilers plan to keep using a part-time fighter.