Also Zack Zarathustra


Recent Oilers call-up Zack Kassian giggles at Paul Bissonnette of the Ontario Reign.

He’s here folks. He made it.

I don’t think anything but music can communicate the gravity, the levity, the rightness, or the wrongness of this moment.



Part of me wonders why everyone is making such a big deal of Kassian’s return to the NHL. I know, I know he has a pretty checkered history. I know it’s also pretty incredible that he’s back so soon after going through rehab and being acquired by the Oilers. His progression has been eyebrow-raisingly rapid.

The other part of me understands. Oiler fans are starving for a player like him to cheer for and have been for years. Hence the yearly, “wishful thinking” trade proposals for Milan Lucic.

When you think about it, Zack Kassian brings a lot to the table that the Oilers just don’t have in their lineup and haven’t had since… Raffi Torres?

Too small to be a power forward.

Big Georges? Not enough skill.

Jason Arnott???

Have the modern era Oilers ever had a player with skill, size, and smashiness?



Time necessarily factors into any discussion of the value that Kassian can add. How good a hockey player is he today? Will he fit? Will he bury the hatchet with his new teammates? How long before he’s comfortable out there, understanding his role, and – more importantly – understanding what he has to do to help the Oilers win?

I’ll say this much: I’m not getting my hopes up too high. To expect anything more than 12-15 minutes of high tempo, aggressive play is asking for too much.

That said, because he’s an Oiler, I find it genuinely pleasing to see that Zack has made his way back to the NHL.

His post-Gagner interactions with the Oil were classless and disgusting. His agitating tactics were infuriatingly agitating. Even more infuriating was when he’d score! But there’s forgiveness even for his kind…

He’s the first villain to play in Edmonton on the side of the good guys in a long time.

And that’s alright by me.




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