With Steve MacIntyre back in the Edmonton Oilers line-up against the St. Louis Blues tonight, I’d be willing to wager that somebody is going to get punched in the mouth. Repeatedly, perhaps.
The only question is if it’s going to be B.J. Crombeen, Cam Janssen or big Brad Winchester, a collection of formidable ruffians who’ll make up the fourth line for the Blues tonight. It doesn’t matter who, really.
With the humongous MacIntyre back in business for the first time since Jan. 16 and likely blowing snot bubbles in anticipation of riding shotgun for Tom Renney’s runts against a very tough St. Louis outfit, we might see some, ahem, old-fashioned hockey.
With apologies to the sensitivities of those offended by my anticipation of some start-the-lawnmower action — if you use the term "knuckle-dragger," you probably fall into that group — tonight might be the perfect game to pull on my old Rudy Poeschek jersey, sit back and watch the saliva fly.
What, the final score matters?
BLACK AND BLUES
As somebody who seldom — never, even — was known for skill or offensive prowess in a decidedly mediocre run as a lacrosse and hockey player during my youth, I’ve long had an appreciation and respect for the guys who do the dirty work. The hammers. The tough guys.
Likewise, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Blues even when they’ve been lousy, which has been often, because they always made it policy to keep a beat cop around who could take care of business — the likes of Tony Twist, Kelly Chase, Basil McRae and Poeschek, who is the toughest man I’ve ever known — so the real players could do their thing. A little Poeschek action here: www.youtube.com/watch
As happy as I am Jordan Eberle will make his return to the line-up tonight — there’s nothing wrong with being small and skilled and playing the game with your gloves on or with fans enjoying the talents of players who do — it’s good to see that MacIntyre will draw in.
With Dustin Penner out of action with the flu, J.F. Jacques apparently a healthy scratch and Zack Stortini banished to Oklahoma City, the Oilers will be icing a small and young line-up against the robust Blues. Enter Macintyre. Mr. MacIntyre you, B.J.
DOWN TO BUSINESS
Given that Winchester, Crombeen and Janssen have a combined 27 fighting majors this season, which is more than Edmonton’s entire line-up — the Oilers have 23 majors if you take Stortini’s eight bouts out of the equation — it’s no surprise Renney is giving MacIntyre the tap.
I’m not saying inserting MacIntyre is necessarily going to change what happens on the scoreboard or that nobody will dare lay a glove on Taylor Hall or Eberle or Sam Gagner within the rules out on the ice. It’s hockey, not volleyball.
But I’m guessing that MacIntyre will make an impact in the 180 seconds or so that he plays tonight after being stuck in the press box with the fat guys and know-it-alls for all but 14 games this season.
Maybe MacIntyre will do it by putting out the word that nobody gets stupid with the kids or there’ll be hell to pay — those who don’t believe that happens probably have never participated in a blood sport above the bantam house league level — and it’s a quiet night.
Maybe Crombeen or Janssen or Winchester says, "Screw you, Mac," or puts a glove in somebody’s face and this game isn’t so quiet. That will not bother me a bit, either. To be honest, I’m in the mood for the latter.
Knuckle-dragger that I am.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.