Among the things the Edmonton Oilers didn’t need to see this or any other season the photo at the end of this post. In last night’s loss to Chicago, Martin Lapointe went knee-on-knee with the Oilers’ offensive catalyst and suddenly the game and a win were no longer front and center for Oilers fans.
Quoting Joanne Ireland’s story in the Edmonton Journal, Craig MacTavish said “It was a dirty hit.” In terms of impact on the current regular season, it’s a massive hit. Losing Shawn Horcoff may have had a bigger impact, but it’s a good bet Horcoff’s offense will suffer and the fact is that those two are bookends on the Oilers best line (lately with Dustin Penner).
HF and other fanboards are alive with the sound of blame today, but I think it’s a somewhat simplistic argument to say that if Georges Laraque or another enforcer was on the team this wouldn’t have happened. It DID happen with BG on the team (everyone forget the Weight vs. Marchment episode?) and it WILL happen again.
Bottom line: dirty hit, should be a suspension. It may have a major impact on the Oilers’ season and beyond if Hemsky has a knee injury that becomes an issue season over season. We can blame Stortini or we can blame the Oilers one-trick pony offense but I think it’s one of those things that happens in a speed game on skates.
Sucks. Sucks big time, and from an Oilers pov it might obscure another disturbing issue: they can’t win hockey games.