The Edmonton Oilers have been a circus this season, and at one point, just two games ago, they were tied for last place with the San Jose Sharks—a huge disappointment for a team which entered the season as Stanley Cup favorites.
On Sunday, head coach Jay Woodcraft got the axe despite leading the team to a win over the Seattle Kraken. Kris Knoblauch was announced as the Oilers’ new head coach, and on Monday, he was on the bench for the first time in his career as a head coach for an NHL team.
Knoblauch, who coached Connor McDavid in juniors, was an assistant coach for the Flyers some years ago, but this is his first assessment as head coach in the big league, and he couldn’t have asked for a better start.
The Oilers conceded against the Islanders just 40 seconds into the game, but with six minutes left in the opening frame, Leon Draisaitl danced around a defenseman for his sixth of the season.
Draisaitl stepped up when his team and new coach needed him the most, as he also had three assists as the Oilers got a well-needed win 4-1. They improved their record to 4-9-1, mostly because of Leon Draisaitl, who finally looked like his old self.
But Draisaitl also had a moment in the game that wasn’t as flattering. Draisaitl always plays with a temper, and some even often label him as a dirty player who often uses cheap shots against his opponents. In the second period against the Islanders, Draisaitl cross-checked Bo Horvat in the lower part of his legs.
It appeared to be intentional and with an intent to injure Horvat, who fell to the ice but who was quick to get back up on his feet.
Draisaitil was given a two-minute minor for tripping, but fans were left absolutely furious, with some even calling for the NHL to suspend him.
”Give him a game. Fines mean nothing,” one said.
”If this isn’t a suspension, the player safety department is a joke,” another said.
”Should have been a deliberate attempt to injure, 5 mins and game,” a third added.
Some even went after Draisaitl for how he often does things like this.
”Draisaitl is lowkey the dirtiest player in the league that doesn’t get any sh*t for it,” one said.
”Leon is low key one of the dirtiest in the league,” another said.
”I agree, intent to injure there‚” a third added.