Though there was some hope that Connor McDavid’s positive COVID-19 test would not be confirmed today, Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett announced that the superstar center has now entered the protocol and will be unavailable for the team tonight when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even worse, Tippett announced that Derek Ryan and Tyson Barrie have also entered the protocol. Zack Kassian has been activated, while. Ilya Konovalov has been moved to the taxi squad.
Losing McDavid at any point of the season is bad news, but especially so for the reeling Oilers right now. The team has lost four in a row, eight of their last ten, and are in danger of slipping even further down the Pacific Division standings. At 18-13-2 on the year, they are in fourth place but just a few points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and surging Vancouver Canucks.
With losing often comes controversy, and the question of a coaching change has been brought up by the media in recent days. That was the focus on social media again this morning after Mikko Koskinen’s response to being criticized by Tippett. The coach was asked directly about the situation between him and his goaltender, explaining to reporters including Ryan Rishaug of TSN that his comments were taken out of context. Mike Smith will start in goal tonight for the undermanned Oilers.
Not only is McDavid missing though, but also Ryan and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, meaning the team will be very short on capable centers this evening. Leon Draisaitl will be asked to carry an even heavier load, while Ryan McLeod likely becomes the team’s default second-line option. Nugent-Hopkins was moved to injured reserve today.
Luckily, the team only has tonight and one more game currently scheduled before January 18, meaning McDavid and the others shouldn’t miss much actual action.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Meaning the fans only have to boycot 2 games in 2 weeks in order to hopefully get management’s attention that they want Tippett and Holland gone.
Koskinen complains about “being thrown under the bus” and then immediately throws his teammates under the bus for not scoring. Yikes. I’d hate to be in that room right now.
Well he’s not exactly wrong, his team scores something like 2 more gpg when Smith is in net, Koskinen can’t score goals.
Also shout out to you, my fellow Cito, lol.
Coach should be fired , too much talent on this team to be mediocre
Covid protocol is going to be fun come playoff time. Not that Edmonton has to worry about that.
Lol and the game being canceled announcement is coming in 3……..2………1………..
The only shutdown defenseman they had left for Seattle. Holland didn’t replace him. They were not in a financial situation to bring in past his prime Duncan Keith. Just poor roster construction, a long running theme.