Top Stories of 2023 – No. 12: Jay Woodcroft gets ejected from penultimate game with Edmonton Oilers

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Now that we’re into the Christmas break, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at the year that was. Over the next few days, we’ll be counting down the most-viewed stories at Oilersnation of 2023.
Coming in at No. 12, we have Jay Woodcroft getting ejected from his second-last game behind the Edmonton Oilers bench.
Jay Woodcroft joined Oilers lore Monday night as his club fell 6-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in another misery-riddled loss.
It wasn’t for a valiant coaching effort or from a single decision that turned everything around — no matter how good Dylan Holloway looked playing with Leon Draisaitl in a new-look lineup. It was for getting ejected from the game.
Woodcroft, in his own words, “asked about the play on Holloway,” wherein the Oilers forward was knocked down to the ice in a similar fashion to how Connor McDavid knocked down Pius Suter six minutes prior in the third period, one that earned the Oilers captain two minutes in the box.
The lore Woodcroft enters into is thanks to that ejection, making him the first — and as far as I can tell — only other coach in the history of the Edmonton Oilers to get ejected alongside Glen Sather, the latter of whom tossed from a Feb. 3, 1983 game. In Woodcroft’s case, it was the cumulative of an all-around frustrating game for his squad.
Yeah… things weren’t going great for the Oilers. They had dropped their prior two games to Dallas and Nashville, getting outscored 9-5, and things didn’t go much better against Vancouver. They took an early 1-0 lead in thanks to a Mattias Ekholm power play goal, then coughed up three straight in under four minutes.
Things boiled over for Woodcroft, knowing he was on his dying legs as the head coach of the Oilers, and in a rare outburst, got into it with the referees.
Woodcroft lasted just one more game behind the Oilers bench, a Thursday night game against the San Jose Sharks, in which his club lost 3-2. It was undoubtedly the lowest point of his tenure with the Oilers, costing him his job. At that point, the Oilers had already begun reaching out to Kris Knoblauch, his replacement, who has taken the Oilers to a 12-6 record, and back up to .500 on the season as the Christmas break has hit.
But for Woodcroft, it would be no surprise to see him land back on his feet by the time next season rolls around. Just last week, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli speculated that Woodcroft would make sense as a fit for the Ottawa Senators.

The full top 15

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

Check out these posts...