November 03 2009 09:14PM
I never got near medical school, but I don't need a doctorate in medicine to know the news fans will get about Shawn Horcoff tomorrow will be bad. The only question is the degree.
While Edmonton Oilers PR man J.J. Hebert wasn't offering up any information Horcoff's status on an off-day for the team when I called him this afternoon, the way Horcoff looked as he filed into the dressing room after a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders Monday has me convinced that he likely suffered either a separated or dislocated left shoulder on a check late in the game by Andy Sutton.
Like I said, my qualification for speculating on such matters is nothing more than I've seen that injury with players countless times before as a reporter, and I also had the bad fortune of suffering the same injury more than once in another life.
When somebody walks off with their arm folded at a 90-degree angle, like Horcoff did Monday, it's more often than not a shoulder injury. Add to that athletic therapist Ken Lowe was clearly seen working on the shoulder on the bench late in the game, and it doesn't take a vast intellect to figure it out.
The Oilers, Hebert tells me, are expected to let us know tomorrow what Horcoff's status is. While Horcoff's critics will tell you different, it's going to be a significant blow if he's out for any length of time.
Forget the horrid start to the season Horcoff's had -- there's no getting around that -- a team already operating without their best defenceman in Sheldon Souray can ill-afford to lose its top centre.
Take Horcoff out of the middle, and you're left with Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule, Andrew Cogliano and sometimes-pivot Patrick O'Sullivan as the Oilers centres. Oh, and there's Mike Comrie, except he's having trouble breathing right now thanks to a combination of the flu and asthma.
That's not exactly a Murderer's Row that will have the New York Rangers losing sleep going into Thursday's tilt at Rexall Place.
On a team that can't score goals to save its life, that leaves coach Pat Quinn with a team weaker down the middle than any I can remember dating back to the best-forgotten teams of the mid-1990s.
That may or may not bring GM Steve Tambellini into play in the next day or two, or at the very least necessitate a call-up from Springfield of the AHL, but we'll find out soon enough.
If it's nothing or little more than a bruised shoulder, I'll take a scolding from Lowe -- he hates amateur diagnosis, especially by reporters -- and happily be wrong. But I think not.
I'm guessing it'll be a public relations nightmare, and rightfully so, for the Calgary Flames now that news has leaked out they jumped to the front of the line for H1N1 vaccinations.
While elderly people, children and those at greatest risk waited hours in line for the H1N1 vaccine last week, Jarome Iginla, Robyn Regehr, as well as their teammates, spouses and family members, skipped the drudgery and got their shots last Friday. Move aside, schmucks. Get out of the way, old man. Coming through.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.