Mike McKenna speaks on Matt Berlin’s NHL debut with Oilers

Mike McKenna speaks on Matt Berlin’s NHL debut with Oilers

On Monday’s episode of Daily Faceoff Live, Mike McKenna and Tyler Yaremchuk discussed the weekend’s feel-good story: Matt Berlin making his NHL debut for the Edmonton Oilers.

Signed by the Oilers to an ATO after Stuart Skinner fell ill, Berlin – who plays for the University of Alberta Golden Bears – started Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on the bench as a substitute by Jack Campbell.

But with the Oilers up 7-3 in the final moments of the third period, head coach Jay Woodcroft opted to give Berlin their NHL moment. The 25-year-old goaltender entered the game for the final two minutes, making a save on a shot by Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones.

McKenna, who played 35 NHL games with seven different teams during his own professional career, shared his take on the situation during a chat with Yaremchuk on Monday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live.

Tyler Yaremchuk: Saturday night in Edmonton, the Oilers, leading the Chicago Blackhawks, decide their EBUG between the posts, and it’s University of Alberta Golden Bear and former Sherwood Park Crusader Matt Berlin who enter in the game. It was an amazing scene as you can see here he is wearing the Oilers Player of the Game motorcycle vest. An Edmonton product who, in fact, Mike, was on the same bantam team as Stuart Skinner as well as Tyler Benson and James Hamblin. So he’s been a teammate with some of those Oilers before, he can live his dream and make an appearance in an NHL game.

Mike McKenna: You would see that sometimes in college hockey, at the NCAA level, where your third goaltender, who may never play a game in college, gets boarded for the last four or five minutes, simply because of the hard work I put in. This one is a little different because, as Jay Woodcroft said, it’s an experiment. Berlin was doing his homework four hours before the game, Tyler. It’s a wild thing. But it’s just really cool, and I loved it, in the after line you can see Jack Campbell coming in and being so excited for Matt Berlin. Like you said, some of the parallels — being Stuart Skinner’s minor hockey teammate. It’s really cool. He’s from Edmonton, he plays for U Alberta, it couldn’t have been better.

Watch the full episode here:

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