Whether you’re a fan of the Edmonton Oilers or not, we all appreciate a good old fashioned comeback story. And it’s been a long, long time since hockey has seen one as remarkable as Zack Kassian’s.
See, once upon a time, the Oilers didn’t think too much of the scrappy forward; he not only broke the jaw of Edmonton’s Sam Gagner with a cheap high stick in pre-season, he then mocked Gagner when the Oiler returned in December sporting a face shield. But, given Kassian’s performance thus far in the first round of the playoffs against the Sharks – he notched the game winner on Friday night, tying the showdown up at one game apiece, then scored the only goal of the game last night in San Jose (see vid below) to give the Oilers the series lead – all seems to be forgiven in the City of Champions.
But it isn’t just finally achieving adoration from the fans that has been Kassian’s biggest accomplishment – the fact that he’s still in hockey is nothing short of a miracle. Kassian rolled through stints with three organizations, including the Vancouver Canucks, culminating with a late-night car wreck in Montreal (he never DID see the starting lineup with the Canadiens). It was off to rehab for the winger and, it appeared, curtains for his NHL career. But emerging from completion of a substance abuse program, the Oilers gave Kassian a shot. And just look at him go…..clean, sober and making the most OF that chance.
Kassian has made mistakes, and he’s certainly far from perfect. But what we’re witnessing is a testament to hard work and some demons can be beat. ~ Jason