The Canucks were already voted as being the biggest rival to the Edmonton Oilers and following this weekend’s exhibition game, things are heating up between the two clubs.
As if meeting a couple of times during the pre-season wasn’t enough to spark the intense rivalry that has come to the forefront, the injury sustained by Sam Gagner at the hands of Canucks’ forward Zack Kassian helped breathe life into the hatred. Kassian awaits word on whether or not he’ll be suspended by the league for his careless act but that hasn’t stopped the players from getting into a war of words that has heightened the bitterness between the two teams.
Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish pointed out to Gene Principe of Sportsnet that the need to bring in some toughness was evident after playing the Canucks on the weekend.
Craig MacTavish on Steve MacIntyre “After our game against Vancouver we decided there was a need for toughness.I think he’ll make an impact”
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) September 23, 2013
Kassian gave his honest and arrogant opinion when asked about the Oilers recent acquisition of MacIntyre, courtesy of Dan Murphy via Twitter.
Kassian on #oilers picking up MacIntyre as a deterrent, “Perfect. I don’t think he can skate, that’s the last thing on our mind.”
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) September 23, 2013
Ben Eager of the Oilers then decided to chime in on the situation and offered up some dressing room material for the Canucks, a major no-no in professional sports.
Ben Eager on the Canucks: “We play them a lot down the stretch, and we’re going to go after their skill players also.”
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) September 23, 2013
Talk about fanning the flames and taking this rivalry to the next level. The gauntlet has been laid down, the heated words exchanged and now all that’s left is to let these two teams battle it out on the ice (or the streets to some degree). The Oilers and Canucks rivalry didn’t need any additional motivation to not only beat each other but to further hate the other anymore than they already do. This past weekend’s events followed by today’s public rant has just increased that.
Circle the date October 5th on your calendar. It’s the next time the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks face off in what will surely be a highly entertaining hockey game.