The Edmonton Oilers had put the hopes of their team this year in star forward Sam Gagner, but during a preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks, things took a turn for the worst in the second period. Watching the highlight, the play came out terrible. Many describe it as reckless, and I’m going to tell you why. First, follow this link to the incident.
First off, Zack Kassian is somewhat of a big hitter for the Canucks. So he skates in towards Gagner to make a hit. Of course a seasoned player such as Gagner will see this play coming, and dodges it by stopping a few feet behind the projected hitting spot. What happened next is called reckless. As Kassian hits the boards, anticipating it be Gagner, he flops around and swings his stick back, nailing (no Nail Yakupov pun intended, I swear!) Gagner right in the jaw. He then dropped to the ice from the hit.
I don’t like to use the word reckless here, but instead the word careless. As a professional hockey player who has been in the league for a few years, and even more in the AHL, you should know not to swing your stick backwards like a baseball bat. You should also never swing your stick high. He had to have known that Gagner was still there. He isn’t a magician who disappeared from the three feet distance behind Kassian. I think Kassian knew what he did, and was just frustrated that he didn’t get the hit.
DO NOT GET ME WRONG!!!!!!! I do not think Kassian meant to injury Gagner, or even make contact. He might have just wanted to hit the boards in front of Gagner to scare him a little, but he never meant to hurt him. But since he did, they are bringing him to an in-person meeting about disciplinary actions. If you thought it was over, this is only half of the story. Here is part two of the night Oilers’ had it rough.
Fourth-line center Dale Weise (Vancouver) raised some eyebrows after he connected his shoulder to star winger Taylor Hall’s head. Immediately following the hit, Mike Brown skated over and fought Weise, winning the short-lived scrap. Hall said in an interview that he was partially to blame for having his head down. Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal said “Hall escaped injury in the rough-house exhibition game, but the league’s head office now frowns on attempts to knock somebody’s head off.” There is no video of the hit, but there is a screenshot of the contact point, which looks pretty bad. Hall had no idea he was even there, and therefore wasn’t aware that he was going to have a hit coming.
You can find both the video of Kassians’ hit and the screenshot of Weise’s hit in this link to the Edmonton Journal. So what do you think will happen to these two players? Vote below on the poll and comment in the box. Personally, I think both players are going to receive, at the minimum, a 3-game suspension. But, if we know Brendan Shanahan, he will surprise once again. Follow us on Twitter as more news from this comes into light @TMMotS and @NardoneDylan.