CODE COVID: What the pandemic has taught us about long-term care
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
What you need to know about COVID-19 today
Continuing coverage: Mass shooting in Nova Scotia
Business Tool Kit 2021
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Daily forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
The Heroes of 2020
From a distance, it probably looks like the making of a slapstick comedy, ‘Chaos At The Cord Cottage.’
If you are joining the story in progress, goaltender Troy Grosenick had just apparently pulled in to a motel in some place like Walla Walla, Washington to await his fate.
At age 31, Grosenick, a goaltender with two games of NHL experience, had been put on waivers by the Los Angeles Kings and claimed by the Oilers with the intent of giving him a job on the newly created coronavirus pandemic taxi squad because of the crease conundrum in Edmonton.
Grosenick was said to be driving to Edmonton, apparently because the quarantine time involved in crossing the border by car for an NHL player is less than the 14 days that would be involved if he’d taken a flight.
A job in the newly created position of taxi squad goalie isn’t likely to get his picture on a Tim Hortons hockey card next year, but for Grosenick it’s employment.
But hold it, there, Tony.
Pull over to the next town and wait until 9 a.m., Pacific or 10 a.m., Mountain time.
The Toronto Maple Leafs put Aaron Dell on wavers and he has played 107 NHL games with a .908 save percentage.
So it was in Zigzag, Oregon or Humptulips, Washington or Slickpoo, Idaho or Pray, Montana that Grosenick allegedly overnighted to find out if he should continue his trek North or turn around and head to maybe Bakersfield, California to become a Condor.
It turned out that Dell was claimed by the New Jersey Devils and Grosenick could head north again with maybe a chance of catching Cam Moon call his second NHL game on 630 CHED during the final few hours of his drive.
Meanwhile Olivier Rodrigue, the Oilers organizational goaltender had probably arrived from Austria in time to hear Jack Michaels call his second NHL game on a Sportsnet telecast while he began his 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 reported that the Oilers have EBug (emergency backup) goaltenders already quarantining in Toronto and in Winnipeg hotels where the team heads next for two-game series against the Maple Leafs and Jets.
The Oilers seem to be specializing in bringing in goaltenders after telling them that they don’t really want them.
The latest was Grosenick as he just became the poster boy for the NHL’s flawed formula involved with their taxi squad waiver rule.
First the Oilers made no secret that the No. 1 off-season priority was to upgrade the netminders.
Thirty-eight year-old Mike Smith, who basically gave away Game 1 of the Qualifying Series of the Hub City Stanley Cup playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks, had left himself in a position where he might have played his last game in the NHL.
Holland had Mikko Koskinen’s $4.5 million per year contract with two years to run and had obviously come to the conclusion that he hadn’t proved himself to be a first or even second-tier starting goaltender. So, despite his salary cap situation, he went hard and heavy to acquire Vancouver Canucks’ free agent netminder Jacob Markstrom.
While the offers were believed to be almost identical, Markstrom chose the Flames.
Holland was left with Koskinen and Smith.
Maybe with the two having managed to backstop Edmonton to a climb up the standings from 25th to 12th overall last season with the hot and cold runs of the two, his moves to improve the team at other positions and development of other players, he decided to take a chance on starting the season with the two again and maybe making his move at the trade deadline.
But Smith broke down in the starting gate.
He was backup for the opener and then went on long-term disability with a mystery injury.
We don’t know if he slipped on a bar of soap in the shower, fell down the stairs going down for a middle-of-the-night snack or accidently stuck his finger in the garborator.
That moved Stuart Skinner, an Edmonton native with some upside, destined for an important developmental year in Bakersfield, up to No. 2. Skinner, is nowhere near ready for prime time.
Holland, on the worst possible year to leave himself uncovered with the compact 56-game schedule featuring 11 back-to-back games and requiring expanded NHL rosters to include a third goaltender, is the one that should be residing in Pray, Montana.
Any other year, most fans couldn’t name you the No. 3 goaltender in the Oilers organization but this isn’t any other year. Game 4 of the season wasn’t too early to panic as he proved with the changes he made going into the game last night.
And no matter how it would work out, it was pretty obvious ‘Chaos At The Cord Cottage’ was a crease conundrum to be continued.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021