Oilers scratch Cody Ceci for first time ever due to poor play

Liam McCormick
June 10, 2024  (9:58)

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch
Photo credit: Edmonton Oilers YouTube

As the Oilers took the ice for practice today, it became clear that Cody Ceci will be a healthy scratch for the first time ever as an Oiler.

The second pairing of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci has struggled through the playoffs, and got exposed by the Panthers in game one. Something had to give with this pairing, and now Coach Knoblauch is making the gutsy move to insert Desharnais into the lineup. They could've scratched Nurse based on his play too, but the reality is you can't scratch a $9.25M player in the Cup Final - it's a bad look on the organization.
The rest of the defence pairings will be the same, which Knoblauch alluded to in his press conference yesterday. When asked about changing the defence pairings, Knoblauch had a careful answer that seems to indicate he loves what he's seeing from the other defence pairings, making it hard to make a change. However, directly scratching one defenceman for Desharnais is a perfect solution.
»We're always balancing on what's best for those two players, but also what's best for all 6 of our defenceman. As a coaching staff, we always have to make those decisions. Not easy. Sometimes you have to give a little to get something else.»
- Kris Knoblauch

Desharnais was taken out of the lineup when he was struggling to move the puck against the Dallas Stars, but his style of play could match up well against the Panthers. For a heavy forechecking team, the monstrous Desharnais can make it a little tougher on the Panthers to get into the offensive zone and cycle the puck.

Oilers potentially making multiple lineup changes before game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

In addition, Evander Kane was absent from practice as usual, but the usual placeholder wasn't in the lineup - indicating that he may miss tonight's game with an injury. Kane has been playing through a sports hernia all playoffs, and it would be incredibly tough to lose one of the team's best pests for such an important game.
Game two kicks off tonight in Florida at 8:00, and the Oilers need to steal at least one victory before heading back to Edmonton. With this gutsy decision to scratch the veteran Ceci, maybe a fire is lit under the team tonight and they come out blazing with their best effort.
10 JUIN   |   410 ANSWERS
Oilers scratch Cody Ceci for first time ever due to poor play

Do you think Ceci should've been scratched, or should the Oilers have played 7 defenceman?

Ceci deserves the scratch16339.8 %
Scratch Nurse instead14334.9 %
Play 7 Defenceman8220 %
Don't change anything225.4 %
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