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article imageOp-Ed: A disturbing quote from Oilers rookie NHL coach Dallas Eakins

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 25, 2013 in Sports
If Edmonton's Dallas Eakins meant what he said about Zach Kassian and the injury he caused to Oilers center Sam Gagner then Eakins has missed what NHL hockey is all about. That seems unlikely, though it is possible. More likely?
Eakins is grandstanding.
"A disturbing play by a disturbing player," he said of the play in which Kassian tried to finish a check — that's what you do in hockey, no? — and Sam Gagner managed to stop and avoid the hit. As Kassian turned his shoulder to make the hit and found no one there, gravity spun him around and pitched him into the boards, flinging his left arm, holding his stick, up and toward the Oiler's center. The stick hit Gagner, hard, in the face and broke his jaw.
Eakins goes after Kassian
Firstly, to call Kassian disturbing is based on what exactly? He's a tough player, he'll check hard but he's never been called a dirty player and has no track record of playing dirty. He's a hard-nosed guy who plays within the rules.
Eakins was talking nonsense.
And to call the play disturbing would suggest it was intentional. The inconsistent Brendan Shanahan may have nailed Kassian for five regular season games for the play but using him as a barometer is becoming no more meaningful that using Colin Campbell was. The reality is that to intentionally do what Kassian did would be a near impossibility and it would look awkward and be blatantly obvious it was purposeful.
Gary Suter on Paul Kariya? Disturbing. Chris Pronger on Dean McAmmond? Disturbing. Matt Cooke on Marc Savard and on Eric Karlsson? Disturbing both. Zach Kassian on Sam Gagner? Accidental.
Edmonton Oilers: losing hockey
It's not something to grandstand about but Mr. Eakins may be, in his own amateurish way, trying to do the "fire up your hockey team" thing. His G.M., Craig MacTavish, joined in by acquiring 6'5" Steve McIntyre, who has 4 points in 91 NHL games, to provide fists for their meeting with the Canucks on the first Saturday of the regular NHL season.
Eakins is showing his outdated motivational skills with all of this, and MacTavish is going along with it. But their team hasn't made the playoffs since Justin Bieber was in grade school and, despite having a bevy of first round draft picks in their line-up from all that ineptitude, last year they barely challenged for the postseason.
These guys should be focusing on hockey and not gamesmanship, focusing on winning with better play, not by grandstanding. If I were an Edmonton Oilers fan looking for the playoffs I'd find the silly actions of Eakins and MacTavish to be, well, disturbing.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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