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The Edmonton Oilers played it down. During the battle of Alberta on Tuesday night, captain Connor McDavid could have suffered a serious injury when Calgary Flames’ MacKenzie Weegar collided knee-on-knee with their star player. Though the hit was not penalized, many insiders, reporters and fans believe the Oilers should have responded and defended the captain.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft thought that the hit should have sent his team on the power-play, but he doesn’t believe that there was any malice or intent from Weegar, as the bench boss stated in a press conference on Wednesday. This explains, for the Oilers anyway, why no one went after the Flames’ defenseman.
However, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and radio host Bob Stauffer both disagree. Rishaug believes the Oilers may need more “functional sandpaper” in the lineup when these situations arise, while Stauffer reports that Edmonton is looking to add more physicality up front and on the blue line as the season progresses.
There is a blatant lack of physicality ever since the Oilers lost forward Evander Kane to a gruesome wrist injury in November. While he is expected to be back in time for the last stretch of the season and the playoffs, it might be necessary for the Oilers to get more grit to make sure McDavid is the one that remains healthy for the postseason. McDavid’s league-leading 31st goal to extend his point streak to 16 games was the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Flames and Edmonton does not need more arguments than that to get whomever they can to protect their best player.