Dave Tippett called out his goaltender after Monday’s loss to the New York Rangers and it did not sit well with many in the fanbase or Mikko Koskinen himself as it turns out.
The Oilers’ struggles continued this week after dropping a fourth straight loss on the road with what can only be described as an uninspired effort. That 4-1 loss to the Rangers marked Edmonton’s 10th in their last 12 games with their only two wins coming against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken.
Needless to say, things are going about as bad as they possibly could for the Oilers right now, and things didn’t get much better when the post-game pressers started. After the game, the usually mellow Dave Tippett unloaded on Mikko Koskinen a little bit after the big Finn got tagged for four goals on 28 shots, including a major gaffe in the first period that allowed New York to grab an early lead.
“Our goaltender wasn’t very good and we didn’t fire enough pucks at the net to get us back in the game.”
When asked about the first goal specifically, Tippett didn’t exactly mince his words:
“It’s a brutal mistake. It’s a brutal mistake. What are you gonna do? Call it was it is. We’re playing well. It’s a brutal mistake.”
In response to those comments, Finnish media outlet, YLE, reached out to Koskinen for his thoughts and whether or not it was fair for Tippett to call him out specifically.
“That’s how it usually goes in this business. When a team is doing badly, either the coach or the goalkeeper is sacrificed. It doesn’t feel nice to anyone when thrown under the bus, but I had no big emotions about the things coach said. You just have to go to the next game.”
As the interview continued, Koskinen readily admitted that he needs to be better in net for the Oilers, but he also wasn’t prepared to shoulder all of the blame here either.
“It must also be said that in the six games I lost, the team has scored seven goals. I can’t score goals. It’s not always up to the goalkeeper alone to win or lose. The whole team needs to play better in the future.”
I think for a lot of Oilers fans, the problem isn’t so much calling someone out when they’re not playing well but rather that it only seems to happen with certain people. I mean, Mike Smith allowed six goals against a very weak New Jersey team on New Year’s Eve — the OT winner was an absolute trash goal — but Dave Tippett didn’t say a word about it.
This morning, Dave Tippett clarified by suggesting his quote regarding Mikko Koskinen was taken out of context and pointed out that he was asked by a reporter about the start of the game specifically.
“We’re a team struggling. Those are mistakes that are made that effect the outcome of the game… Goaltenders, they’re front and centre… There’s a frustration around our team… It wasn’t the whole game. The question was the start of the game. The whole thing was taken out of context.”
He also added that Koskinen made some good saves later on against the Rangers, though, I’m not exactly sure how much this clarification will really help matters either.
“We’re talking about starting the game – the first five minutes of the game not giving up the first goal, that’s what it was. Mikko made some good saves in that game, he hung around the game, but it was the start of the game. We’re trying to get off to a good start, that’s the part you get emotional about.”
This was similar in a way to when Dmitri Samorukov was benched after two tough mistakes against the St. Louis Blues, but rather than owning his share of that decision, Tippett passed the buck off to Jim Playfair who is in charge of the defence. I don’t know about you guys, but I personally find it odd for the head coach — the supposed off-ice leader of the team — to redirect the focus away to someone else, especially when the only two wins this club has had in a month have come when he wasn’t behind the bench.
Regardless of what I think, there are a whole lot of issues with this hockey team that need to be solved and time is running out.
KOSKINEN’S SEASON SO FAR