The chant rang through Rogers Place in Edmonton.
It was April 14, 2017. Zack Kassian was a wrecking ball, dishing out big hits and scoring a shorthanded goal as the Edmonton Oilers beat the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in Game 2 of their first round NHL playoff series. Two days later, Kassian scored the only goal of the game to lead the Oilers to another win.
For Oilers fans, it was one of the signatures of the 2017 post-season.
He’s moved on.
“I’m not looking back on the last playoff run we had. The past is the past. This is a new year with new challenges with a different team,” Kassian said. “I’m looking to be a small piece of the big puzzle here.”
Kassian may not want to talk about himself too much, but it can’t be denied that physicality and shifting momentum is a big part of the playoff puzzle.
“Zack is a unique player. He’s a big, hard, player. He can play a mean game. He’s also got great hands. He’s a smart player. He can contribute in a lot of different ways,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett.
“You have a heavy, hard guy like that who can have an impact on the game in grinding people down. He’s a key guy on our team, playing on that top line.”
The one thing that won’t be repeated from 2017 is the fan chant. Will the empty seats affect Kassian’s energy?
“Once you get in the zone, once you start playing the game, the game is the game. That hasn’t changed at all. I’m not going to change any way I play or what I say,” Kassian said. “Doesn’t matter if there’s fans in the stands or not. There are still important hockey games to be played here.”
Catch Game 1 between the Oilers and the Blackhawks on on Saturday with the Faceoff Show at 11 a.m. The game starts at 1 p.m.
Watch below: Some Global News videos about Zack Kassian.