Oilers Take Heat Over No Response to Weegar Hit on McDavid

The Edmonton Oilers won their final matchup of the season versus the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, walking away with a 2-1 victory and an important two points. But, someone who could have done a lot less than walk away from that game was Connor McDavid, who was on the receiving end of a nasty knee-on-knee hit by MacKenzie Weegar.

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The hit was ugly, but perhaps uglier was the lack of response by anyone on the Oilers’ roster. To a man, all the players on the ice simply watched as McDavid was slow to get up and back into the play. Furthermore, no one on the bench took aim at Weegar later in the game. Some will argue that the game was too close to risk the penalty and it wasn’t the time to retaliate, but most Oilers’ fans aren’t seeing it that way 24 hours later.

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Here are just a few samples of what was floating around on social media after the hit:

Tyler Yaremchuk of Daily Faceoff writes, “Personally, I think someone should go after Weegar there. Clean or not. As a result of McDavid jumping or not. Need to send a message that if someone touches 97, they have to answer.”

Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 wrote, “No Oiler on the ice even looks at Weegar. I don’t care what the score is. McDavid is their meal ticket and to do absolutely nothing is a joke.”

Ken Reid of Sportsnet wrote, “So you can knee Connor McDavid in a regular season game at the end of December and no one on the Oilers does a thing to Weegar. I have no idea what has happened to this sport. There was no call. The Oilers did nothing. Nothing”

The Oilers Lack of Response

It might be fair to ask who on the Oilers would step up in that situation. With Evander Kane out due to injury, the team is missing the one physical presence who might have been on the ice in that situation. There’s been talk that Darnell Nurse should step up more, but also talk that the Oilers don’t want their top-minute defenseman taking fights, and there’s been talk that names like Jesse Puljujarvi and Klim Kostin need to use their size more often and tilt the ice in a physical way that benefits Edmonton.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers

The reality is, the Oilers are missing that “truculent” ingredient. That’s not an excuse, but it is a sign that perhaps GM Ken Holland needs to find a player that will step up in that situation and take on the role of “The Punisher” when a team goes after your star. It’s not a good message to send that you’ll let your main guy and the best player in the world be a tackling dummy for the opposition. Clean or dirty, the other team needs to know they keep their hands off.

Message Needs To Be Sent In The Locker Room

Until the Oilers find that player (assuming they ever do), Jay Woodcroft and the rest of the coaching staff need to make it clear to the rest of the roster that such a lack of response won’t be tolerated. This needs to be a team that stands together and there will be no bullying unless it’s the Oilers doing the bullying.

Even if the team lacks the kind of player who can answer the bell, they need someone to step up and risk losing. At the very least, Weegar needs to know that he’s in for a fight when he makes that decision and the other stars on the Flames roster should know it will be a long night.

This is one of the reasons Kane is traveling with the team and part of what comes with being in that locker room. Just because he’s not on the ice doesn’t mean he can’t let the rest of that team know he expects more in his absence.