Oilers deploy Mac for max effect

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 PM ET

SAN JOSE As an enforcer Steve MacIntyre has to walk a fine line when out on the ice.

The Edmonton Oiler is required to be a physical presence, but he has to do it within certain parameters that can sometimes be blurred and are not always the same for every player.

On Tuesday against the Dallas Stars, MacIntyre took an interference penalty on his second shift of the game, battling for position in front of the net. He then spent the next 35 minutes watching from the bench.

I have to be smarter in that situation, MacIntyre said. Youd like to think those calls arent going to be made, but you have to battle through them and do the best that you can.

Eventually the Oilers were forced to put MacIntyre on the ice as the Stars began taking runs at them. First Steve Ott tattooed Kurtis Foster into the boards. Then Jamie Langenbrunner ran over Linus Omark. And finally, Mark Fistric sent Sam Gagner tumbling.

MacIntyre responded by helping set up the Oilers first goal of the contest, creating havoc in front and tipping a shot which eventually fell to J.F. Jacques.

I was trying to be timely in how I deployed him, to be honest with you, said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. I want to give Mac as much as I can, given the opponent and what we require of him. He had an impact in the game when he was out there and thats all you can ask. Everyone knows what hes completely capable of otherwise, including the opponent.

With MacIntyre back on the ice in the third period, the Stars werent as physical, until the final buzzer when a scrum broke out, ignited by Kurtis Foster and Jamie Langenbrunner.

And although he didnt have to pick a fight with anyone, MacIntyres presence was felt each time he was out on the ice.

I want Mac to be a player, to the best of his abilities, I want him to be a player, said Renney. Are there limitations there? Yes there are.

That, at the end of the day, factors in how much I play him and whether or not hes dressing.

Yet as is the case with a number of young players on the roster this season, MacIntyre is someone who needs time to develop.

The 30-year-old is only in his third NHL season and may be an important part of the squad, as many enforcers have been, when the club is mature enough to contend.

This is about building, this is about a process of becoming a team, and people like Mac are important to that, Renney said. That said, hell play as much as he possibly can. Its my responsibility to get him on the ice, so he can learn and feel and see these things and make the right decisions.

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