Edmonton Oilers: Dave Tippett understands frustrations of taxi squad

Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, hockey fans can relate with frustrated players when it comes to a taxi squad. Due to what is going on in the world with the current pandemic, an NHL team’s taxi squad is basically an extra group of players able to travel with the team but may or may not play anytime soon.

This was a measure the NHL took in case of players, unfortunately, caught COVID-19 and would miss time due to needing to quarantine for at least two weeks. An NHL team can have up to six players max on their taxi squad but most of the time, frustrations can set in with players anxiously waiting to finally get the green light to suit up and play.

Head coach Dave Tippett understands that even though the Oilers won their last game against the Winnipeg Jets, some starting players that are getting minutes on ice are struggling. Taxi squad players undoubtedly believe they can step right in and take care of business but of course, only Tippett knows what changes to make that make the most sense before game time.

Dave Tippett understands the frustrations of Edmonton Oilers taxi squad

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Even though the Oilers’ taxi squad has separate practices from the main roster, Tippett understands their frustrations since everyone is focused on doing what it takes to win. For now, it’s best the taxi squad players let Tippett do what he does best when it came to managing this aspect of the team.

In an article written by Mark Spector of Sportsnet, here’s what Tippett said about keeping his taxi squad players motivated and understanding the processes that go into taking the season one game at a time:

"“Normally you’ve got one or two guys who are unhappy. Now you’ve got eight guys who are unhappy,” he said, trying to manage his playing roster while keeping a spark of hope for the guys who aren’t playing."

The truth of the matter is, it’s great to see Tippett understand what these taxi squad players are going through and showing them that patience is key for success this season. Yes, their time will come if and when it makes the most sense to help win more hockey games. It’s unfortunate if taxi squad players aren’t able to get that playing time on the ice but at the end of the day, everything will hopefully fall into place in due time.

Forwards Patrick Russell and Jujhar Khaira were promoted from the taxi squad and are activated for tonight’s matchup against the Winnipeg Jets. It goes to show that yes, with what will transpire in a very short, 56-game regular season, one can imagine that lineup changes will happen faster than a New York minute on a daily basis. Taxi squad players will eventually get their time as there is still plenty of hockey left to be played.

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For now, Tippett continues to do what he can to right the ship and keep all his players from his main roster to the taxi squad believing in the fact that things will be just fine on the Oilers. The accountability is there since Tippett has no issues demoting players or placing them on the waiver wire if they’re not playing at the level needed to make the NHL Playoffs. All these players on the Oilers’ taxi squad will hopefully get their earned opportunities as the season progresses.