Knoblauch directing players on the Oilers' bench.
Photo credit: Deadspin

Oilers' coach Knoblauch makes a gutsy decision with the team

Published December 31, 2023 at 10:12
Last night, the Oilers visitors the Los Angeles Kings, who have quickly become one of the team's biggest rivals in recent years. Every game between the two teams feels like a grudge match to the very end, likely because of their playoff history. Last night's game was no different, and even after regulation time and overtime, the game was still tied at 2 heading to the shootout.

In the shootout, while the Oilers had already used Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, coach Knoblauch had a critical decision in their next shooter, who could win the game if they scored a goal. Knoblauch made a gutsy move and selected Derek Ryan, who made good on his attempt and sent the Oilers on their way with a win.

Selecting the gritty fourth line Center with only four shootout attempts in his career of 533 games was a bold move by the Oilers, and shows Knoblauch clearly has a read into the feel of the team. Not only did Ryan score to win the game, but seeing the 37 year old veteran come through gave a visible boost to the team, including Connor McDavid who spoke highly of Ryan after the win.

After the game, Knoblauch commented on the decision to select Ryan at the point in the shootout, and credited help from his assistant coaches with the pick.

Seeing the veteran Derek Ryan ice the game against their rival Los Angeles Kings seemed like a much needed boost to the team as they look to continue their four-game winning streak and make their way back into a playoff spot. A lot of the credit for this win goes to Knoblauch however, for expertly deploying his team in the shootout.
December 31   |   593 answers
Oilers' coach Knoblauch makes a gutsy decision with the team

Who else should've gone next in the shootout after the first three?

Derek Ryan was the right choice17429.3 %
Connor Brown518.6 %
Zach Hyman28447.9 %
Other8414.2 %
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