By Allan Muir
Hockey is a game of mistakes. Passes through the middle of the defensive zone, missed assignments, lazy penalties…stuff like that happens all the time.
But it’s not often you’ll see one like this.
With the Oilers and Predators locked up at one midway through the third and the puck in Edmonton’s zone, Nashville’s Sergei Kostitsyn has a pass bounce over his stick above the circles. He races Sam Gagner to the loose puck, but the Oiler beats him to it in the neutral zone.
Kostitsyn pursues for a moment…and then pulls up and goes to the bench, allowing Lennart Petrell to join and create a two-on-one rush that he finished to give Edmonton a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
There are mistakes. There are bad mistakes. And then there are, “Would you mind telling me what the hell you were thinking?” mistakes.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz, who was seen screaming and gesturing as Kostitsyn slammed on the brakes, was at a loss for words after the game. “I can’t give you a logical explanation for an illogical event,” he said.
Kostitsyn was contrite when speaking to Josh Cooper of The Tennessean. “I made a mistake. I went to change. I should have backchecked, but didn’t see the second guy was coming there. Even if it was a one-on-one, I should go back. It doesn’t matter if I was tired. I should have gone back and pressured him from behind.”
Doesn’t help that this was a game the Preds desperately needed. The Nashville loss combined with the Edmonton win moved the two teams into a tie for 10th in the Western Conference.
As Sportsnet’s Mark Spector tweeted, you can’t spell egregious without Sergei.