Edmonton - September 23, 2013 - There is little doubt that the vast majority of Edmonton Oilers fans were thrilled with Monday morning's announcement of Steve MacIntyre being picked up off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguiins.
In the minds of others, mine included, the move came across as nothing more then an overreaction to what occurred at Rexall Place during Saturday night's matchup against the Vancouver Canucks.
That said, perhaps it was a move that was made out of necessity.
We have heard on numerous occasions, that many an Oiler player like having a so-called enforcer around.
Should that indeed be the feeling inside the Oilers dressing room, then Craig MacTavish had no choice but to address it prior to the start of the season.
The Oilers GM didn't pull any punches when it came to his decision to claim MacIntyre off waivers:
"After our game against Vancouver we decided there was a need for toughness.I think he'll make an impact. I always said that having even a cutout of Dave Brown on the bench was worth a hundred thousand dollars a year. The real downside would be not being able to get any toughness. He's a nice weapon to have.
Not sure about all of you but apparently MacT also feels a little more comfortable with having the big man around. Those who were around during MacIntyre's previous two trips through Edmonton were thrilled to hear he was back, most notably Ales Hemsky, who wasn't overly thrilled upon his departure from the Alberta capital.
Edmonton's skilled players have been pushed around for so many years, that it is hard to remember the last time they were not used as regular target practice by many an opposition player. That said, having a guy like MacIntyre won't change that but if it allows the likes of a Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Nail Yakupov feel an inch or two taller or a little braver on the ice, perhaps it was something worth doing.
One thing you can bet on, is Mike Brown and/or Ben Eager being that much harder to deal with knowing they have a super heavyweight to back them up. While many have felt a guy like Eager hasn't lived up to his billing during his time in Edmonton, he had this to say about the Canucks during today's media scum.
“We play them a lot down the stretch, and we’re going to go after their skill players also."
Those were words I have not heard from an Oilers player in some time and in my mind, long overdue. Having said that, I find it interesting that Eager spouts off on the very morning the organization announced they added Big Mac into the fold. Again, if having an enforcer around allows these guys to better do their jobs, than have at it.
However, if this ends up being nothing more than a replay of what we have seen over the previous two seasons with Darcy Hordichuk, it will be nothing more than a waste of time. If the plan is to actually use Steve MacIntyre in the role he has been brought in for, the organization and head coach had better give him the rope to do exactly that.