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Oilers Didn’t Anger Kane, Toews w/ Decision to Play G Matt Berlin

Theories the Edmonton Oilers sealed their fate with Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane because they played a backup emergency goalie is nuts.

There’s a strange theory going around social media following the Oilers’ 7-3 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks o Saturday that in the process of winning the game and putting in emergency U of A Golden Bears backup goaltender Matt Berlin, Edmonton somehow angered Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, thus potentially nixing any chance either player would consider the Oilers ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

The crazy theory is such that the Oilers were rubbing in the victory over a lousy Blackhawks team and that Kane or Toews didn’t appreciate it. Mind you, none of this is coming from the players themselves, but a fan who tweeted something to the effect of, ‘Good luck getting Kane or Toews to consider the Oilers now. They never would have done this in a one-goal game.’

Of course, they wouldn’t have. You don’t put a goalie in who has never played in a single second of NHL action when the game is on the line. You do it when everyone knows the game is out of reach, including the other team.

Oilers’ coach Jay Woodcroft was asked following the game as to who made the call to get Matt Berlin — a player who had never sniffed the NHL before and likely never will again — a chance to play. Woodcroft confirmed that it was Connor McDavid and that the Oilers’ captain brought it up for no other reason than to give the U of A Golden Bears player a memory of a lifetime. Further reports suggest the Oilers team all signed off on the decision and unanimously voted to get him into the game with a couple of minutes to play in regulation.

Somehow, a fan (likely more than one) has determined this was disrespectful to the Blackhawks and a couple of pending free agents who have full control over where they are traded to, should they elect to waive their no-trade clauses to facilitate a deal ahead of this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. It’s ridiculous, it’s shortsighted, and it’s wrong.

Think About The Message the Oilers Really Sent

First, by the time the thought to even switch goalies was even made, the Blackhawks were well aware they weren’t going to win this game. Second, one would imagine that Kane and Toews probably saw what the Oilers did for this kid and appreciated it. Imagine the concept of being on a team where the culture is so strong that the entire bench and the players on the ice are legitimately excited when the goalie actually touched the puck with his blocker, just so he could register a save in the NHL record books. Every Oiler came together and voted this kid get the chance to play and they all wanted to make sure he wasn’t scored on.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews: photo by Sara A Flickr.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews: photo by Sara A Flickr.

Tell me, is that not the type of culture you want to be a part of? Would Kane and Toews not say to themselves, ‘Look how good these guys get along over there. Look at how well they gel and treat each other. Look at what they did for this kid. I want in.” Oh ya, and the Oilers are pretty good too, making it all the more likely Kane and Toews might consider Edmonton as an option.

Make no mistake, the Oilers didn’t do this to get Kane or Toews to perk up and notice that it might be cool to be an Oiler. It’s hard to imagine either player was even crossing the minds of the Oilers bench, who likely care less what the two Blackhawks stars think anyway. But, if it happens to send a positive message, so be it. The one thing this decision didn’t do was send a negative one.

Next: Three Takeaways in Senators’ 5-0 Win Over Canadiens



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