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Friday, 3 February 2012

You wanna trade me, excuse me while I get 8 points!

You know something really special happened last night when Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle both have 4 point games, but weren't the top performers for the Oilers. That honour went to the Oilers Sam Gagner who became only the 11th player in NHL history to record 8 points in a single game. Gagner joins an exclusive list with names that include; Wayne Gretzky (did it twice), Paul Coffey and Mario Lemieux. He also becomes the first player to accomplish the feat since Super Mario did back in 1988. "I think this is the only situation I can ever have my name mentioned in their breath," Gagner said when asked about joining players like Gretzky and Coffey on the short list of players who've had eight points in a game. "It's really an honor to have a night like this and be mentioned in that class, even if it's only for tonight."

There are a few Oiler players you might expect an 8 point night from; Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, but Sam Gagner? Coming into the game Gagner had tallied 5 goals and 17 assists in 43 games this season. Heck in 4 NHL seasons he had never managed more than 16 goals in a season. But last night against the Blackhawks something was obviously clicking for the 22 year old Oilers defencemen. He managed 4 goals and 4 assists, and was able to get a point on every goal his team scored. Almost as an aside, the Oilers beat Blackhawks 8-4.

As if scoring 4 goals and adding 4 assists wasn't enough for Gagner, his teammates were urging him to go back on the ice and try for a 5th goal! But Gagner said he couldn't he was just too tired to try for five. But it's a night he will not soon forget, he was awarded all three stars of the game and some of the opposing teams players even came over to congratulate Gagner. “A couple of the (Hawks) skated by me and said it’s pretty incredible, congratulations,” Gagner said. “ Obviously, it’s tough to do that when you’re losing the game but it feels good to get that respect from other players in the league. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”  The Rexall place fans showed a ton of appreciation as well when the sold out crowd began chanting his name! “Hearing the ‘Gagner’ chant will stand out,” he said. “To get that kind of ovation from people who know the game was an incredible feeling. Tough to re-create that.”

After a rough 25 minutes of hockey the Oilers were down 2-0, head coach Tom Renney decided to put Eberle, Hall and Gagner together to start the second period. That decision might have been the smartest move Renney will make all season, as the trio connected for 16 points in the final 2 periods. In the new, new era in the NHL it is hard to get 3 points a night not to mention 8, so it was a pretty spectacular night for Gagner. "To get this at the NHL level is something I can't even really fathom, I don't even really know how to react to it."
The fact he was able to get 8 points on the Chicogo Blackhawks is pretty fantastic, going into that game I thought the Blackhawks would manhandle the Oilers, guess I was wrong. But fantasy hockey players that were lucky enough to have Gagner on their team last night, were quite happy. It's actually kind of ironic Gagner had more points in one game than Montreal Canadian forward Scott Gomez does all season. Something tells me Gagner's trade value just increased a ton!

It was quite possible that the Edmonton Oilers were just trying to showcase Gagner, a guy they are desperate to get rid of, after an ablismal season. But the showcase turned into the Sam Gagner show as he tied the franchise record for most points in a game. Needless to say the asking price for the 22 year old just went up a hair! Here's a possible trade scenario: Leafs 22 year old defenceman Luke Schenn for Edmonton Oilers 22 year old Sam Gagner. After all Leafs GM Brian Burke said he might trade a 22 year old defenceman for a 22 year old forward. Other possible destinations for Gagner include Chicago, to be reunited with former London Knights teammate Patrick Kane. Or Nashville who needs help up the middle, as does a certain team in Buffalo perhaps a deal that includes Cam Barker? But who knows after last nights historic game, maybe the Oilers will opt to keep Gagner and trade Ales Hemsky instead!  

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