Kassian drew Edmonton’s ire during the preseason, when his high stick broke Sam Gagner’s jaw. Kassian was suspended eight games for the incident and Gagner missed 13 games recovering, but the incident extended well beyond the two players.
Shortly after the high stick (which game in a game where Canucks forward Dale Weise took a healthy run at Taylor Hall), the Oilers said they needed to get tougher and started beefing up — most notably by claiming tough guy Steve MacIntyre off waivers:
Craig MacTavish on Steve MacIntyre "After our game against Vancouver we decided there was a need for toughness.I think he'll make an impact"
MacIntyre never played a game for the Oilers (he had a knee injury before getting waived) and Edmonton eventually toned down the pugilist factor, shipping fellow tough guy Mike Brown to San Jose.
Still, there’s a good chance bad feelings have lingered. The Oilers and Canucks met once already this season, on Oct. 5, but Kassian was out serving his suspension and Weise played less than 10 minutes. As such, Kassian knows Friday’s game in Vancouver could be his time to answer the bell.
“Obviously I’m not too worried about someone coming after me,” he said. “I have no problem standing up for myself.”