Truth Bomb: NHL insider makes the case about why Edmonton Oilers can't keep around Josh Archibald


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If you’re wondering why it’s highly unlikely that Josh Archibald will be on the Edmonton Oilers this year if he remains unvaccinated, NHL insider Al May, colour analyst of the Washington Capitals, provided an explanation on Oilers Now, as May dug into the dynamics of winning teams.

Such teams must eliminate all distractions, May said to host Bob Stauffer.

With Tyler Bertuzzi unvaccinated in Detroit, and the team starving for wins, him being out of the line-up in Canada will effect the power play and top line tactics. “The players there, they don’t want to be door matts. They don’t want to continually lose season after season. It is no fun. The environment on a losing team eventually deteriorates where you have infighting. You have people losing jobs left and right. It’s just a bad environment.”

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May then talked about the vaccination and contract hold-out issue in more general terms. “The bottom line with every team in the league is you want to have all your contracts signed. You don’t want to have  hold-outs. You want to make sure everyone is there, so you’re not talking about all the other things that aren’t about winning and icing your best team and playing your best game. I said it years ago, the teams who continually have contract hold-outs, they don’t win the Stanley Cup. Teams that have players out, suspensions, they’re not winning Stanley Cups by in large. You only want to talk about the game. You don’t want to talk about all this other stuff.”

My take

  1. Maybe you think Josh Archibald is both wise and righteous for his stance on vaccinations. Maybe you think he’s selfish and utterly misguided. That’s not the issue the issue the Oilers organization faces. What they face, undeniably, is a massive distraction with Archibald’s situation. And, as May argues, such distractions run counter to the team’s only real purpose: to win.
  2. As fans of the Edmonton Oilers know well, it’s not easy to win in the NHL. You can have a crazy number of No. 1 overall picks and still lose. You can have the best player in the NHL and still lose. Winning takes everything that the organization and the players can give. It takes a singular focus and commitment. The process of becoming a winning team threshes individual players, sifts them, grinds them, kneads them, and feeds them to fire so they might come together as one. Sacrifices are asked of every player, and that includes players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. It also includes Josh Archibald. If he can’t show up and make that commit every single day of the season, I don’t see how he can be on the team.