Generally speaking, there are three categories of events that people actually remember from mostly irrelevant preseason games.
1. Something terrible happens to a player, causing a lengthy injury. Obviously, these still “count” even if the games don’t.
2. A player accomplishes an astounding feat, like a highlight reel goal or a breathtaking save. One can widen this category to generally include players who have an over-their-head or beyond-expectations preseason. (Sergei Bobrovsky could be a good example of that in last year’s exhibition period.)
3. Someone gets humiliated by an especially bad gaffe.
While there were likely instances of situation two in last night’s action – some might even say that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun was climbing up the team’s charts with an “eye opening” training camp – my guess is that number 1 and 3 were in play on Friday night.
We’ve already discussed the first one last night, as a horrible accident happened between Minnesota Wild player Eric Nystrom and Fedun. Here’s video of the unfortunate incident.
From that very limited angle, it’s hard for me to accuse Nystrom of malice. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, though; does he deserve a long suspension for it? One respected outlet thinks the answer is an emphatic “Yes.” Here’s an excerpt from Derek Zona of Copper & Blue’s take.
In Mitchell’s case he had a clear path to the puck and Foster veered in front of him putting Mitchell in a precarious position. Mitchell’s instincts caused him to take the worst possible tack – he shoved Foster in the back and into the boards. It was a penalty, but it was also a sequence that occurred in a bang-bang fashion.
In Fedun’s case, he was in front of Nystrom the entire time and Nystrom made what looked to me like a premeditated attempt to board Fedun. Every hockey player knows the end result of that play, Nystrom chose to ignore it. The debate on no-touch icing is already under way, though I don’t believe this play should be used as evidence for either side of the debate. This should, however, further the debate on dirty play, suspensions and eliminating this kind of play and these types of players from hockey.
Again, my instinct is to say it was terrible mistake since Nystrom seemingly tried to play the puck, but there are many ways to look at that. Let us know how you feel.
Moving on to number 3, here’s a bit of comic relief – unless your name is Ray Emery. Matt Cooke took advantage of Emery, who was way out of his crease playing a puck that landed perfectly to him. Cooke quickly sent a shot that went past Emery and beat Brent Seabrook five-hole. (They just don’t teach defenseman a solid butterfly technique, do they?)
Yup, that’s gonna smart. Seabrook almost bailed Emery out, but it was not to be.