As if it wasn’t bad enough the Edmonton Oilers continued their tailspin into oblivion by taking a 5-0 spanking from the 29th-place Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place Friday, they compounded the embarrassment by turning the other cheek after Francois Beauchemin slapped Sam Gagner around.
In a mismatch that saw the Oilers lose for the 12th time in the last 14 games, Tom Renney’s team not only looked like it has quit on what’s left of the season, but like an outfit that has quit on each other. Apparently, there’s no piss, vinegar or fight left in them.
How else can you explain what happened — what didn’t happen, to put it more accurately – after Beauchemin took a run at Taylor Hall, then punched out Gagner after he took exception to the hit and tried to step in?
Gagner wanted a piece of the action, so Beauchemin had no choice but to fill him in, and did so somewhat reluctantly. That, apparently, was just fine with Gagner’s teammates, who didn’t lay a glove on Beauchemin the rest of the night. Not Ben Eager. Not Andy Sutton. Not Theo Peckham. Not Colten Teubert. Darcy Hordichuk was in the press box. Nobody.
And there was precious little fight shown by Gagner’s teammates with the gloves on, either. The Ducks waltzed around almost uncontested and moved within one point of the Oilers, who went so quietly you could have heard a pin drop at the final buzzer – if it wasn’t for the booing of disgruntled fans.
They laid down and took it.
PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE ANOTHER?
"I felt like the opportunity was there, obviously," Gagner said of deciding to drop the gloves after the hit on Hall. "He throws lefts. That’s not something I was aware of, but I don’t think I’d change what I did.
"I’m not really a guy who studies fights or anything, so I don’t know which ways guys throw or how tough they are, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Like I said, I’m worse for the wear, so . . ."
Perhaps Eager, who is supposed to know which way guys throw yet has one less fight than Gagner this season, thought a stern talking-to would do the trick. Maybe the Sutton thought casting a hairy eyeball Beauchemin’s way was good enough.
I don’t how else to explain it. All I know is that was pretty much the extent of the reaction after Gagner ate four or five left hands in a beat down after he jumped in for Hall and stepped way up in weight class. Full marks to Gagner. A complete and utter fail for the rest of the Oilers.
With nobody willing to step in and take Beauchemin to task, you’d think the Oilers would at least show some resolve by playing a hard-nosed game the rest of the night, by contesting every puck, by taking the body at absolutely every opportunity. Yes, you’d think. It didn’t happen. Perhaps they were saving themselves for Saturday’s skills competition, no jam required.
What a heartless display.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.