Oilers coach Knoblauch at a press conference
Photo credit: NHL.com

Oilers media member says coach Knoblauch is breaking the code of hockey

Published January 11, 2024 at 2:14 PM
Now 34 years old, Sam Gagner returned for a third stint with the Oilers when he turned a tryout offer into a contract this fall. In 18 games played this season, Gagner's been a great contributor both on the ice with decent scoring in limited opportunities, and also being a veteran presence and leader in the locker room. Despite all this, Gagner's been healthy scratched the last few games, and now Coach Knoblauch is taking some flak for the decision.

Gagner sustained an injury from a stick to the face that left him with concussion-like symptoms in the Oilers' game against New Jersey before Christmas. Now that he's healthy and ready to return however, Knoblauch is holding Gagner out of the lineup to not mess with the lineup while the team is hot. Oilers writer Jim Matheson is calling Knoblauch out for the decision, saying it breaks the long-honoured hockey code of not losing your spot in the lineup because of injury.

While it's understandable that a 34 year old veteran depth player wouldn't play a full season in the current NHL, it's not just for Gagner to lose his role because he was hurt. In the game that kickstarted the current eight game win streak in New Jersey, Gagner was a crucial part of the win with two primary assists. His 4 goals and 9 points through 18 games is pretty impressive scoring considering he averages around 10 minutes of ice time a game.

Even if the eight game win streak continues into the double digits, at some point, Knoblauch has to relent from his decision and put Gagner back in the lineup. After last night's game against Chicago that was much closer than it should've been, it could have been a good reason to dress Gagner again - but tonight against Detroit, he'll be up in the press box once again.
January 11   |   334 answers
Oilers media member says coach Knoblauch is breaking the code of hockey

Should Gagner get back into the lineup?

Yes, he deserves it19959.6 %
No, don't mess with the winning lineup11434.1 %
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