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.”
Edmonton felt it was key to get tougher following a preseason game against Vancouver, during which Dale Weise took a run at Taylor Hall and Zack Kassian high-sticked Sam Gagner in the face, breaking his jaw.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. MacIntyre was a scratch (knee) for two months as the Oilers ended up getting more than enough pugilism out of Luke Gadzic (seven fights this season) and Will Acton (two).
20 out of 20 NHL players agree: Fighting shouldn’t be banned
When asked if the NHL should ban fighting, a 20-player panel was unanimous in its opinion – No.
That finding courtesy ESPN, which polled a diverse group of 20 NHLers about the role of fighting in today’s game. The panel was a varied one, comprised of enforcers, all-stars, North Americans, Europeans, players with mustaches, players without mustaches, etc.
Among the other findings:
—-Bruins forward Brad Marchand led the “players I’d like to fight” category.
—-Pittsburgh’s Steve MacIntyre was the most terrifying fighter.
—-Four of the six enforcers polled said they weren’t taught how to scrap. “You learn more through experience. When I was younger, in the WHL, I lost a lot of fights. That’s how you learn.”
Most important, though, is the fact none of the 20 players wanted fighting banned, a sentiment that’s been confirmed in previous player polls. Now let’s watch a good, old-fashioned brawl: