Wayne Gretzky defends Edmonton Oilers: ‘You got guys in Toronto on milk cartons’
By Zach Laing11 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers will forever hold a special place in Wayne Gretzky’s heart.
How could they not? After all, this organization welcomed him in at 17 years old and helped him become the greatest hockey player of all-time. Four Stanley Cups, nine Hart Trophies every scoring record in the book and a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame later, Gretzky continues to stand up for the boys in blue.
And last night, he did it again.
Working on the TNT panel covering the marathon 4OT game between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes, Paul Bissonnette tried to take a shot at the Oilers, and Gretzky wasn’t having it.
Bissonettte: You got to roll all lines. You saw teams that maybe tried to go a little top heavy — I don’t want to hurt your feelings about the Edmonton Oilers here Wayne — but playing your top guys 25 (minues) and your fourth line guys getting maybe seven-eight minutes, it can hurt to Wayne.Gretzky: Yeah, well why are you taking a run at the Oilers? You got guys in Toronto on milk cartons, they’re missing. Don’t be taking a run at my Oilers.
Gretzky went on to talk about how teams have to have all their lines rolling at once, making note that even the fifth and sixth defencemen are important.
His defence of the Oilers was just as their big guns came out to play. Connor McDavid scored eight goals and 20 points in 12 games, while Leon Draisaitl added 13 goals and 18 points of his own.
Evan Bouchard broke out in a big way these playoffs with four goals and 17 points in 12 games. While the majority of their points came on the powerplay, Zach Hyman (three goals and 11 points) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (one goal, 11 points) still found a way to get on the scoresheet.
The big guns in Toronto did have good contributions. Mitch Marner scored three goals and 14 points in 11 games, Auston Matthews scored five goals and 11 points, William Nylander scored four goals and 10 points and John Tavares had four goals and eight points.
The problem for them, however, is the offence completely dried out in the second round against Florida as those four players scored just three goals in five games. In the first round against Tampa Bay Lightning, they had 13 goals in six games.
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 email@example.com.
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