Gimme a break

Robin Brownlee
January 10 2009 04:31PM

If there's such thing as good news with how the Edmonton Oilers are staggering toward the halfway mark of their schedule like pie-eyed tourists toting a cupful of quarters at 2 a.m. in Las Vegas, it came this morning.

All-star defenceman Sheldon Souray, who left the game with an unspecified injury during the second period of Friday's 4-1 loss to San Jose and didn't return, was back on the ice at Rexall Place for practice today. It turns out Souray tweaked his left shoulder in a collision with Tomas Plihal, but aside from some numbness and tingling, he's fine and will be good to go against the St. Louis Blues Sunday.

And tough guy Zack Stortini, who fell awkwardly during a scrap with Brad Staubitz -- many feared he'd suffered a badly broken leg -- has escaped what looked like a season-ending injury with a sprained knee. With the Oilers going nowhere fast in Western Conference standings as they hit the 41-game mark against St. Louis, a silver lining is better than a swift size 13 in the groin.

GETTING LUCKY

"I just gave my shoulder a little tweak. It was a pretty innocent play," Souray said. "It was more of a precautionary thing at that point. I wanted to make sure I was ready for the next game." When Souray, limited to 26 games last season, left the ice shaking his left arm, there was reason to fear the worst. He's had surgery on both his left shoulder and wrist, so it didn't look good. Souray expects he'll be good to go against the Blues and doesn't see any long-term effects. He said today he'll keep his date in Montreal for the all-star game. "It's not going to be an issue," he said.

Stortini didn't get off as easily and will be out for an unspecified length of time, but he's not nearly as badly off as he could have been. The play with Staubitz had spiral fracture written all over it. "He's got rubber legs, obviously," MacTavish said of Stortini. "When we looked at the replay, it looks like something's got to break, but it didn't. That's good news. "It still strained a bunch of (ligaments). I'm shocked, absolutely shocked that it wasn't so much worse. It's going to be awhile, but . . ."

AND . . .

-- Sam Gagner has been battling a nagging ankle injury and it forced him to leave practice early today. He's been playing through a fair bit of discomfort, and it flared up again against the Sharks. "It's just precautionary," Gagner said. "My skating is fine. Going into battles, I'm not really worry about it. "During a hard battle, I'll tweak it and the pain will last for five or 10 seconds and go away. It's nagging and something I have to stay on top of."

-- Robert Nilsson, who sustained one mild concussion already this season, got buzzed Friday when he fell into the end boards. He skated today but is less than 100 per cent. With Stortini out and Gagner and Nilsson hurting, expect the Oilers to call-up a player from Springfield of the AHL.

-- MacTavish had Gilbert Brule skating with Kyle Brodziak and Steve MacIntryre in Stortini's absence. Liam Reddox was on right wing with Dustin Penner and Shawn Horcoff.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 RobinB
January 11 2009, 12:44PM
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@ CurtisS: You're sounding a bit "entitled" here. Wanye doesn't fall out of the rack or climb out of the gutter until after noon.

Ask nicely and maybe there'll be a GDB and even an update. As for confirmation, the Nilsson tidbit comes from Rishaug at the morning skate. Any reason to doubt it?

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#52 Zamboni Driver
January 11 2009, 12:46PM
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The saddest thing next to the fact that the 'brain trust' played both Stortini (not an NHL player) and Macintyre (seems like a nice guy, but c'mon)....to solve the injury dilemma, the best guy to call up is someone named Potulny.

Deep organization, eh?

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#53 RobinB
January 11 2009, 01:05PM
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@ Zamboni Driver: Just feel like bitching? Have some class and don't take swipes at a player like Stortini, who just suffered a bad knee injury doing the best he can. Same with MacIntyre. He's fine as a five minute a night player in selected games. He works his bag off and how he gets used isn't up to him.

As for Potulny, he's done everything the Oilers could expect of him on lousy AHL team and deserves a look under the circumstances.

Step back and separate your frustration with the way this team has underachieved from your assessments of players who can't be blamed for how disappointing this season has been. Otherwise, this becomes HF, and that just isn't happening.

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#54 Jay
January 11 2009, 01:38PM
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r59 wrote:

Jay wrote: You get no arguement from me… except that you think Horcoff and Penner are being dragged down? Neither are quality top 6 forwards I’ll save you the reading of a detailed explanation and can assure you that both Penner and Horcoff are on pace for seasons that would put them in the top 6 of the vast majority of the league.

Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn't make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team.

Now to avoid a stat laiden explaination of top 6 versus top 3, both are playing top 3 here, neither are producion top 3. Only Horcoff is producing anything resembling a 2nd line total, and that's only with Hemsky around and he getting excessive ice time.

I mean Horcoff is 9th in avg. TOI among forwards. 9th! 40th in PP time, 39th in points - thanks Hemmer (Penner 190th). 54th in ES time, 132nd for points in the league (Penner 144th).

Yeah, they are really top 6 forwards in the league...

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#55 Jack Bauer
January 11 2009, 03:56PM
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RobinB wrote:

@ Jack Bauer: I’ve got no indication he’s fallen out of favour, but the immediate call-up would be for a guy to replace Stortini. Schremp doesn’t fit with that. Unless Nilsson can’t play or Gagner’s ankle gets bad enough to keep him out, I don’t see Schremp being the guy who gets the chance.

Well after listening to Mactavish's presser today, I think its 100% RS has fallen well out of favor with Mactavish and the coaching staff. So there is your indication RB.

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#56 Zamboni Driver
January 11 2009, 06:54PM
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@ RobinB: It wasn't intended a swipe at these guys, rather at the org for coming up with the idea that these two guys should play in the same game, and frustration with the fact that the only solution is to bring up a guy no one has ever heard of.

Well put, though on making the comment post-Stortini injury. Poor timing on my part.

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#57 Hockey Gods
January 11 2009, 10:36PM
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Jay wrote:

Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn’t make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team.

Hey Jay, I am no Willis but here is some math for you.

30 Teams X 6 Top Forwards = 180 Top 6 Forwards in the league.

That puts Horc middle of the pack as being a top six and Penner a little out of the mix. Don't forget people outside teams top 6 forwards score too. Careful how you manpulate numbers...

I think you are trying to say Horc and Penner aren't world beaters, ya, you're right; but there are only so many Ovy's, Hossa's, Heatly's, Crosby's etc to go around.

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#58 Jay
January 12 2009, 06:41AM
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Hockey Gods wrote:

Jay wrote: Horcoff is 84th in overall scoring carried by Hemsky. Penner is 196th, and that is sadly an aided total. Wishing they are top 6 on any team in the league doesn’t make it so, the fact is they are only top 6 on our team. Hey Jay, I am no Willis but here is some math for you. 30 Teams X 6 Top Forwards = 180 Top 6 Forwards in the league. That puts Horc middle of the pack as being a top six and Penner a little out of the mix. Don’t forget people outside teams top 6 forwards score too. Careful how you manpulate numbers… I think you are trying to say Horc and Penner aren’t world beaters, ya, you’re right; but there are only so many Ovy’s, Hossa’s, Heatly’s, Crosby’s etc to go around.

Yep, Horcoff and Penner play on the second line here? Or first? Now look at the top 90 scorers and tell me how many centers are in there a head of Horcoff.

Yeah there aren't many Ov's or Sid's around. Typical cool aid drinker, we're good enough then. A non contending team looking for a 7-10 finish. Yeah that's good enough. Don't lower you standards, clearly they are low enough.

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