Sam Gagner staying ready for Oilers in NHL playoff run

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As the Edmonton Oilers start their run to a possible sixth Stanley Cup, Sam Gagner continues to have his nose pressed up against the playoff glass.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but if the Oilers were to beat the Florida Panthers, Gagner, who is the only player in the last 35 years to have an eight-point night, would not get his name on the silver mug. He won’t get Gagner engraved unless he gets into a game in the finals, which would take some injuries because Derek Ryan and Sam Carrick are also healthy scratches for Game 1. On the depth chart, they’re ahead of the 34-year-old, who was Oilers first-round pick in 2007.

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The other criteria to being one of the 52 maximum names (players, the coaches, trainers, management) on the Cup is playing half the Oilers league games (41) but Gagner only dressed for 28 with 15 games on the farm in Bakersfield. So Gagner, one of only three Oilers (Wayne Gretzky and current Oilers assistant coach Paul Coffey) with eight points in a single game, falls short of the games played criteria.

Yes, a team can petition the NHL to get a player’s name added. And they sometimes make a successful appeal after extenuating circumstances. Maybe there’s a scenario where Oilers captain Connor McDavid stumps with coach Kris Knoblauch to put the veteran into a game, should the Oilers be up 3-1 in the series

But, for now, the fan favourite Gagner, who has only played in 11 playoff games in his career (six in Philly, five in Columbus) sits and waits. He practised on a fifth line with Ryan and Carrick at Friday’s full skate.

Here’s two examples of petitions that worked.

*When he was Detroit Red Wings’ GM, Ken Holland and ownership petitioned the league to have Vladimir Konstantinov’s name engraved in 1998 even though he hadn’t played a single game that season after his career ended after a limo accident right after the Wings’ 97 Cup victory. He was added.

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*The 2015 Blackhawks successfully petitioned to get Daniel Carcillo’s name on the Cup even though he hadn’t played the required 41 league games, with none in the playoffs. They won the appeal, likely because Carcillo was close, dressing for 39 in regular-season.

Of course, we remember the flip side of the coin when former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington put father Basil’s on the Holy Grail in 1984. Basil had no role with the first Cup winning team except being Peter Puck’s dad. The league frowned on Pocklington’s ploy. They put XXXX over the name on the Cup.

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