SUN Hockey Pool

Stortini shoulda been in lineup

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

So, another Oiler is seriously injured, this time by Niklas Kronwall, a full-face-shield guy with no reputation for aggression.

To me, it seems unlikely that Kronwall would have been aiming a hard check at Joff Lupul or any other rival if there was some possibility that he might be called to account for it. Which he wasn't.

So why was Zach Stortini out of the Oilers lineup?

It's long past time for NHL bosses to understand the truth that deterrence is a great way to prevent cheap shots, which cause injury, which costs money, which could be used for things other than medical bills.

Good for the GMs who have asked for a review of the instigator rule, which does nothing but provide security for pests. Bad for the Oilers to think they can be secure, ever, without some sort of protector in their arsenal.

ALMOST UN-BEAR-ABLE

The Alberta Golden Bears' shooting showed little confidence in their game with the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday. It looked as if they were trying to stuff a basketball through the eye of a needle. It can't be done, as Scott Gordon and Richard Bates and the others showed time after time.

An 0-for-11 mark from three-point country and a 25% shooting average in a 16-point first half is only part of the story.

Worse than Alberta's dismal performance was their team's body language. Saskatchewan got off to a good start and, within seconds, several Bears started to look for a place to lay down in their one-sided defeat.

These players are not robots. It's understandable that they stink out the joint sometimes.

But this may have been the worst home-floor performance by any Bears team in Don Horwood's excellent 25-year run as their head coach.

The Bears redeemed themselves yesterday, sending the series to sudden death today.

THAT HAMILTON MAN

Add Steve Hamilton's name to the long list of impressive young coaches in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The son of former Oilers defenceman Al Hamilton has done an exceptional job behind the bench for the Spruce Grove Saints this season.

A perfect example came last week when the visiting Lloydminster Bobcats staged a fierce late rally as they attempted to keep their slim (now dead) playoff hopes alive.

In the third period, with weary players struggling to protect a third-period lead after every possible penalty had been called against the Saints, Hamilton matched lines like a veteran.

His tactics went a long way in a 5-4 victory.

Later, he spoke of the intelligent performance by his players.

No wonder Hamilton gets a big effort from them.


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