As a rookie head coach, Ralph Krueger is showing no hesitation when it comes to benching his veterans if the situation dictates. Take Ryan Smyth.
Krueger is sitting the Edmonton Oilers winger tonight, making room for centre Chris VandeVelde who will take over as the centre on the fourth line between Ben Eager and Lennart Petrell.
Defenceman Ryan Whitney will also spend another game in the press box when the Oilers take on the Dallas Stars at Rexall Place.
“We’re improving as a team and we’re going to be capable of moving players in and out of the lineup,” said Krueger after the morning skate. “It’s about making sure we have a lineup we feel, with the players we have and the energy we need, is the one that gives us the best chance to win.
“There’s no room for feelings in a season like this.”
Ryan Smyth declined to comment on Tuesday.
Ryan Whitney, who has now been scratched three times in his career, all with the Oilers, elected to speak.
“I thought after the last game I’d be in the lineup but I’m not,” said Whitney who said he was going to ask the coach what it was he would have to do to get back into the lineup when the two spoke later on Tuesday.
Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney scratched for Oilers game against Dallas
Edmonton Journal | Feb 12