Even the most professional of professional sports organizations can make errors every now and then. Who could forget the debacle with the Chicago Blackhawks and their qualifying offer mix-up? No one is immune to the occasion front office miscue, but it sure doesn’t seem to reflect well on the competency of the men running the show. This week, the Edmonton Oilers found themselves in the midst of an embarrassing situation involving a player on their farm team.
There’s a rule, in the current CBA, which states that a team is only allowed four AHL translations after the trade deadline has passed. They intended to recall Magnus Paajarvi from Oklahoma City, but found out the hard way that he wasn’t eligible to come up to the Oilers. Unfortunately for Paajarvi, he was already in Edmonton when the team discovered the problem. According to Yahoo Sports, the Oilers had used up all their transactions, a fact they evidently weren’t aware of:
The Oilers burned one [transaction] in a “paper recall,” technically shuttling Paajarvi to the Oklahoma Barons and back in order to ensure that he was on the clear day roster for the Barons’ playoff push. He never actually went anywhere, but according to the paperwork, he did. Then they burned two more calling up Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen. With one left, they called up Chris Vande Velde under emergency circumstances when injuries to Shawn Horcoff and Lennart Petrell left them with fewer than 12 healthy forwards. That preserved the final transaction, but when Horcoff and Petrell got better and Vande Velde went to the press box as a healthy scratch, he also went from emergency recall to the final regular recall. (Yahoo)
GM Steve Tambellini was diplomatic about the matter: “We believed we had confirmation to recall Magnus as one of our four call-ups after the trade deadline. The league informed us today the only way he could be recalled was under an emergency recall basis.” (Oilers.com) Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, however, was none too pleased with the situation.
“It’s ludicrous,” said Kevin Lowe. “The intent of the rule is to protect the AHL a bit from teams sending down six or eight players at the end of the season. All the general managers feel the same way — it’s a rule that needs to be changed.” (Yahoo)
Perhaps the rule should be reconsidered. But in any case, the Oilers will be without the services of Paajarvi, even though his presence may not have made a difference for an Oilers team struggling with consistency. Edmonton recently enjoyed big wins against the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers, but dropped their last two against Dallas and Los Angeles. The players and coaching staff seemed to be on the same page regarding the teams struggles.
”Everyone was a step behind and once you go down to four defencemen with two periods left, it’s tough. We just weren’t ready.” – Ryan Whitney. ”We didn’t start very well and they were all over us pretty much all night.” -Nick Schultz. ”We were flat, we didn’t respond like we needed to. (We needed to) play hard, get in their grill.” -Coach Renney. (Edmonton Oilers)
The Oilers have four more games this season, and although they don’t mean anything, the team is simply hoping to close out the year on somewhat of a high note.