Oilers React To Latest COVID-19 Issues

Oilers React To Latest COVID-19 Issues


Oilers React To Latest COVID-19 Issues


On Monday night, the Edmonton Oilers were ready to roll for the first of three key games against the Montreal Canadiens. Less than an hour before puck drop, the game was wisely called off due to COVID-19 concerns. On Tuesday, the NHL announced that the Canadiens would be shutdown through Sunday, and that the entire three-game miniseries would be postponed.

As a result, the Oilers will go six days between games. They won’t play again until Saturday night when they open a crucial two-game series against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

On one hand, the Oilers are getting some rest that wasn’t expected. After a sprint to start the season, Edmonton is dealing with both fatigue and nagging injuries. With just two games in the next nine days, the club will get a chance to settle everything down.

Still, with so much uncertainty it can take a toll on a team.

“A little bit shocking,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said Tuesday regarding Monday’s postponement. “I’ve been around the League a long time. There have been times when games have been cancelled because of lockout or something but getting postponed 15 minutes before warmup, that one’s never happened before.

“The players were surprised. In the coaches’ room, we saw the two names come out at about 5 o’clock on the email and we wondered where things were going to go but it looked like everything was fine. Then Ken Holland phoned me about 15 minutes before warmup and told us it was postponed. Just got to wait and see what happens, I guess.”

Unfortunately for Tippett and the Oilers, they didn’t have to wait long and didn’t get the answer they had hoped for. In a season unlike any other, however, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise.

“We’ve talked about it a lot and I’m sure every team has. It’s not a normal season,” Tippett continued. “There are going to be challenges that come in and out and you just have to deal with them. The last time we were in here, we lost Puljujärvi for the day on a false-positive and then Koskinen couldn’t play because he had gone for a walk with him. There are just things that are happening that we talked about.”

As to how a team deals with them? There really is no way to prepare. In 2020-21, you simply have to be ready for absolutely everything that could come your way. That includes games getting postponed 15 minutes prior to warmup. It includes an unexpected week off in Montreal.

“You’ve got to roll with the punches a little bit,” Tippett added. “That’s exactly where it’s at. We know we’re going to have to make up the game somewhere. It’s part of what we’re dealing with this year. Hopefully, it’s not a big concern. You just continue to move on. You look at the game in front of you, that’s the one you got to prepare for and hopefully, you play well.”

After dropping each of the last three meetings and getting outscored 13-1 against the Maple Leafs at the end of February, the Oilers will have plenty of time to plot their revenge.

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