FINGERS CROSSED: GOOD NEWS ON RNH

Robin Brownlee
September 03 2013 05:01PM

It goes without saying that fans of the Edmonton Oilers deserve a little bit of good news after seven seasons of mostly misery. They got some from centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins regarding his surgically repaired shoulder after he took a twirl on the ice today.

With RNH'S return to the frozen sheet barely underway in the wake of his surgery back on April 23, Jim Matheson of The Journal tweeted: "RNH buzzing and ripping wrist shots in skate with Oil guys. Shoulder surgery looks like it worked."

While Matheson's a veteran eye around the rink to be sure, he's no doctor, and it's going to be awhile before Edmonton's staff of doctors and trainers agree, at least for public consumption, with that diagnosis.

That said, Nugent-Hopkins, although somewhat guarded, sounded optimistic about his recovery when he met with reporters after the skate. That, framed by suggestions from 630 CHED radio analyst Bob Stauffer in recent weeks that Nugent-Hopkins might be ready for Edmonton's season-opening game Oct. 1 against the Winnipeg Jets, is unquestionably good news – unofficial or not.

WHAT HE SAID

"I think I'm going to be on the ice with the guys right away. I'll probably wear a yellow (no contact) jersey to start," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It's feeling good and I'm just excited to get back here and get going.

"It feels good right now, but I know it has to heal and I have to get my strength back. There are going to be a lot of discussions with the doctor and the medical staff over the next few weeks. I've just got to make sure its 100 percent before I go out there."

Again, until Edmonton's medical staff gives the 20-year-old Nugent-Hopkins the green light, what he says and what radio and newspaper guys say doesn't put him on the ice Oct. 1. Given all the fun the Oilers have had with shoulder issues in recent seasons, patience is prudent. Still, what we heard today beats the hell out of "Well, it's still pretty sore . . ."

If Nugent-Hopkins can be anywhere near 100 per cent physically at or near the start of the season, even if there's some rust on his game, it'll could be a huge boost to a team that, as we've discussed at length, is thin down the middle even with No. 93 on the depth chart.

A SILVER LINING

Whether it's a product of the rehab process or just a matter of physical maturation, Nugent-Hopkins will also be heading into his third training camp a touch bigger than he's been in the past – he's says he's fluctuating at 180-185 pounds.

And, as Matheson noted, it looks like Nugent-Hopkins has a little more hum on his wrist shot than he's shown previously. As an aside, I'm also guessing that a little more bulk and upper body strength won't hurt him in the face-off circles, either.

"My shot feels great. It feels probably a little bit better than last season even," Nugent Hopkins said. "I'm definitely happy with that. It was something I wanted to improve, even if I didn't have the surgery."

One more time, though, let's not get carried away after one skating session.

"I think everybody is going to be a little bit cautious," he said. "It's important to make sure that it's going to be good for the rest of my career and make sure that it's 100 percent when I start back up."

You can hear some of the questions RNH answered today here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
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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#1 916oiler
September 03 2013, 05:09PM
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I hope this is the first and last time he has to go through this

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#2 Big Cap
September 03 2013, 05:10PM
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Nuge is on the right track... This is our year. Enough is Enough - Lets Do This!!!

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#3 hallsyoilerforever5
September 03 2013, 05:16PM
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Keep gaining strength, Nuuuge!

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#4 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
September 03 2013, 05:16PM
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Go Nuge! If the Oil make the playoffs, the Nuge will be a huge part of it.

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#5 Spydyr
September 03 2013, 05:20PM
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Hope the team doctors don't try to rush him back like some past players have mentioned.

Take time to heal before NHL action.Hope Nuge is here for the next decade.

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#6 OutDoorRink
September 03 2013, 05:31PM
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Heck they should have been proactive and done both shoulders at the same time.

Nuuuuuuuuuge.

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#8 916oiler
September 03 2013, 05:38PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I thought I was tweaking! Curious as to the reasoning behind this?? Did I miss something?

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#9 Bucknuck
September 03 2013, 05:42PM
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That is good news.

Horcoff and Hemsky never looked the same after their Shoulder surgeries, but Hall never looked better. So let's hope he takes after Hall and plays better this season than either of his first two.

Love to see Nuge be a threat to shoot this year.

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#10 pkam
September 03 2013, 05:43PM
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He was great before he hit that rut and hurt his shoulder.

No rush. Take your time to heal until 100%, just like Hall.

Hope you will have a great year like Hall did last year, and beat Hall's 1.1 ppg. What is even better is scores a hat trick every time we play the Canucks.

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#11 Spydyr
September 03 2013, 05:47PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

That is good news.

Horcoff and Hemsky never looked the same after their Shoulder surgeries, but Hall never looked better. So let's hope he takes after Hall and plays better this season than either of his first two.

Love to see Nuge be a threat to shoot this year.

I believe the same Doctor that did Hall's shoulder did Nuge's.Also heard that Nuge's was not as invasive.

So fingers crossed.

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#12 copperaddict
September 03 2013, 06:00PM
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what about faceoffs when he does comeback?

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#13 oilers2k10
September 03 2013, 06:18PM
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What's with this new "trash it" and "props" thing on this site? Will there be some kind of award at years end for the most idiotic comment or something?

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#14 Geoff
September 03 2013, 06:28PM
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Nuge is going to be an awesome player when he fully bulks up.

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#15 Rama Lama
September 03 2013, 06:29PM
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Great news for a class Oilers, going to be one of the greats! I suspect not being able to lift weights all summers held him back a little on the strength but the kid makes up for it using his brain.

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#16 Quicksilver ballet
September 03 2013, 06:37PM
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If Lowe forced Souray (5 mill per) into the lineup early, he surely won't hesitate to throw a 3.75 guy who hasn't yet earned his stripes in there. That Souray situation must be the new precedent, Kevin won't put up with Hopkins not being 100% BS i'm sure.

Be afraid of Lowes 6 ring act Ryan, be very afraid. Get ready for his, I played with a busted (micro fracture) arm. He apparently, may be an idiot according to the Big Sexy. Ryan, it's comforting to know you'll remain here (hopefully) a lot longer than our ego maniac President.

Management must be beaming with pride going into the season with Gagner, Gordon and 2 question marks starting the first month of the season down the middle.

GO OILERS!

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#17 Kevrock
September 03 2013, 06:55PM
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916oiler wrote:

I thought I was tweaking! Curious as to the reasoning behind this?? Did I miss something?

Cause Brownlee doesn't like the schtick and he's a moderator. .....Please, please, puhlease, don't rush Nuge back! and not just because I want to see how Hall destroys whole teams playing pivot! Okay mostly for that reason, and a couple more we all recall from recent history.

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#18 The Last Big Bear
September 03 2013, 07:02PM
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RNH's surgery was less invasive than Hall's, but its still a pretty major operation. Hence why it takes a minimum 6 months of rehab. It's done through 'key holes', but once they get inside the shoulder they really go to town, cutting pieces off of bones, drilling holes in the shoulder socket, etc.

Hall's surgery was even worse, but the finished product is a little stronger and less likely to fail (without knowing all the gritty details, I'd say their chances of recurrence are in the neighborhood of about 10-20%). If either of them blow their shoulder again it can be fixed again, but that's often an ugly slippery slope.

One negative factor for them is that (unlike most injuries) the younger you are when you blow a shoulder, the worse your outlook is.

(In case youre wondering, I'm an MD, and a hockey player, and in about 2 weeks I'm getting the same surgery as RNH. So I've been reading up on the topic.)

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
September 03 2013, 07:15PM
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@The Last Big Bear

That feeling, when the ball of your shoulder is forced out of its socket. With the stress created on the ligaments/tendons/muscles....if that's what giving birth feels like for a woman, I have tremendous sympathy for them. Haven't had the surgery on mine yet because the doctors showed me how to put it back in. Once the ball is back in the socket, you're pain free again. What regular folk have time to take 6 months off nowadays.

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#20 Slyers
September 03 2013, 07:17PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

What's with this new "trash it" and "props" thing on this site? Will there be some kind of award at years end for the most idiotic comment or something?

Ya and I had DSF as the favourite but I think Quicksilver just took the lead with his big sexy comment above. Wow!

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#21 goog
September 03 2013, 08:21PM
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Watched the clip on the oil website today...blew my mind when the nuge's voice cracked and I realised our hope for the season rests on a kid still sprouting hair in new places. If he is our best center now just wait five years when hes finally done puberty!

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#22 OilClog
September 03 2013, 08:39PM
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Lets forget the fact Souray hurt his hand on his own personal vendetta against Iginla.. Costing the team dearly.. Lets forget all that.

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#24 Quintana
September 03 2013, 09:09PM
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TSNBobMcKenzie: EDM GM Craig MacTavish/Ales Hemsky meeting with media Wed. No major announcement expected, likely just pre-season "turn the page" session.

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#25 Jay Gray
September 03 2013, 09:20PM
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I ordered my 'Nuge for Mayor' last week. I hope it's here for the season opener. I hope the lil guy will be ready too. But if it takes an extra couple of weeks to get him to a true %100, I'm fine with that.

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#26 Jimmer
September 03 2013, 09:24PM
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Quintana wrote:

TSNBobMcKenzie: EDM GM Craig MacTavish/Ales Hemsky meeting with media Wed. No major announcement expected, likely just pre-season "turn the page" session.

Make him Captain! He will be traded for sure then!

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#27 DANGILITIS
September 03 2013, 09:38PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Hope the team doctors don't try to rush him back like some past players have mentioned.

Take time to heal before NHL action.Hope Nuge is here for the next decade.

Hope you have more common sense before you post next time (although with you and DSF, I know this is wishful thinking).

Did they rush Taylor Hall back? Obviously not. Why would they rush RNH back? Everyone heals differently, and Taylor had recurrent shoulder dislocations, likely with more tearing of his labrum, necessitating the need for a tighter labral repair and a longer rehab/recovery.

Misinformed fans often make it out to be an issue with the medical staff. The doctors can only give their opinions, and truth be told, Nuge was not putting his shoulder at risk for further damage by continuing to play last year, as all the damage had been done after the first dislocation. He's a big boy, he made his decision, and hopefully it was timed well (e.g. after the Oilers were legitimately out of the playoff picture last season, and back in time to start this season)

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#28 Oiler Al
September 03 2013, 09:41PM
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Canèt help but notice that Hall appears to have bulked up from last year. Checking out his neck, looking like Jr. Hulk Hogan. Good for him , proabably first summer in a couple of years, where he has had change to hit the gym. Hopefully RNH, will take the time to do the same... especially being a face off guy, cant rush into it.

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#30 Skinny Pete
September 03 2013, 09:45PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

That feeling, when the ball of your shoulder is forced out of its socket. With the stress created on the ligaments/tendons/muscles....if that's what giving birth feels like for a woman, I have tremendous sympathy for them. Haven't had the surgery on mine yet because the doctors showed me how to put it back in. Once the ball is back in the socket, you're pain free again. What regular folk have time to take 6 months off nowadays.

Cool story.

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#31 vetinari
September 03 2013, 10:27PM
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Things are looking up around Oilerville... RNH is progressing ahead of schedule... MacT and Hemsky have a news conference scheduled for tomorrow presumably to kiss and make up (or if recent history is any indication, to announce that Hemsky is the new coach/GM/starting goaltender/whatever)... NAS is nowhere near the boards (whatever happened to that guy anyway? Did the Islanders finally call him to take him up on his incomprehensible "system")... and training camps start this month!!!

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#32 Dangilitis
September 03 2013, 10:40PM
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When the shoulder dislocates enough times, its time to do it. Or if you are developing weakness (axillary nerve which controls deltoids, etc can get compressed every time it dislocates). Or if you are playing elite level hockey and your shot quality fades into oblivion...

I had mine done because it was dislocating when I put my shirt on (and also, honestly, after I cheered when the Oilers scored against the Flames a few NYE ago). Operated on by same surgeon who operated on Lubo (yes, shoulder dislocations are more common than some of us may recall. They are not just an Oiler problem, although, also see: Ethan Moreau). Very painful initially, not awful though.

The long rehab is mostly to get your mobility back. The labrum (cartilage) is torn, and the surgery aims to stitch it back down to the glenoid cavity (part of your scapula). It has to be done tightly or it will unravel easily, and you need time for the repair to heal where essentially you are in a sling for a minimum of 6 weeks. When the healing period is over, scarring has occurred which further contracts the area around the repair. When I was out of the sling I was allowed to do what I wanted with the shoulder, but my range of motion was so limited at first I could barely reach above to put my seatbelt on. Every day you have to do stretching exercises to slowly increase this range. Once you are done this part, you continue to work on stretches and at the same time work on strengthening the shoulder and more importantly, the "shoulder stabilizers" - this part is most critical, as they keep the shoulder in its socket. Everyone progresses differently. My surgeon told me no contact sports on average for 6 months after the repair.

Doesn't work for everyone. I have re-dislocated, but it took me 3 years afterwards to do so, and I had one of the most complete tears my surgeon had ever seen. Even so, there are different types of options that can be offered in such a scenario.

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#33 Dangilitis
September 03 2013, 10:45PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

If Lowe forced Souray (5 mill per) into the lineup early, he surely won't hesitate to throw a 3.75 guy who hasn't yet earned his stripes in there. That Souray situation must be the new precedent, Kevin won't put up with Hopkins not being 100% BS i'm sure.

Be afraid of Lowes 6 ring act Ryan, be very afraid. Get ready for his, I played with a busted (micro fracture) arm. He apparently, may be an idiot according to the Big Sexy. Ryan, it's comforting to know you'll remain here (hopefully) a lot longer than our ego maniac President.

Management must be beaming with pride going into the season with Gagner, Gordon and 2 question marks starting the first month of the season down the middle.

GO OILERS!

I am not a fan of Lowe, but Souray's an ass and even if he was "forced" into the line up, I am pretty sure no one forced him into a feeble attempt at exacting vengeance on Iginla, fresh after coming back from an injury. In fact, I am pretty sure even an incompetent coach and management team would have thought that would be a pretty bonehead move. I can't believe people are still painting Souray as the hero. There were no winners in that arguments, only idiots and cry babies. Both Lowe and Souray got what they deserved, and unfortunately it was the fans of the team who were the only ones that suffered.

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#34 719
September 03 2013, 10:57PM
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I hope RNH starts in the AHL on a conditioning stint before they bring him up to the NHL, a week or two to test the shoulder would do him good.

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#36 Rocket
September 03 2013, 11:14PM
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vetinari wrote:

Things are looking up around Oilerville... RNH is progressing ahead of schedule... MacT and Hemsky have a news conference scheduled for tomorrow presumably to kiss and make up (or if recent history is any indication, to announce that Hemsky is the new coach/GM/starting goaltender/whatever)... NAS is nowhere near the boards (whatever happened to that guy anyway? Did the Islanders finally call him to take him up on his incomprehensible "system")... and training camps start this month!!!

NAS is over at copperandblue and has shortened his comments considerably.

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#37 Will
September 03 2013, 11:23PM
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Nuge, Breakout season, book it!

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#38 Chris.
September 03 2013, 11:42PM
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DANGILITIS wrote:

Hope you have more common sense before you post next time (although with you and DSF, I know this is wishful thinking).

Did they rush Taylor Hall back? Obviously not. Why would they rush RNH back? Everyone heals differently, and Taylor had recurrent shoulder dislocations, likely with more tearing of his labrum, necessitating the need for a tighter labral repair and a longer rehab/recovery.

Misinformed fans often make it out to be an issue with the medical staff. The doctors can only give their opinions, and truth be told, Nuge was not putting his shoulder at risk for further damage by continuing to play last year, as all the damage had been done after the first dislocation. He's a big boy, he made his decision, and hopefully it was timed well (e.g. after the Oilers were legitimately out of the playoff picture last season, and back in time to start this season)

Due to the lockout; Oiler management was under zero pressure to "rush back" Taylor Hall; Poor example my friend. This season starts October 1st... (With poor depth at center and a self imposed agenda for immediate improvement)... I don't think it is unreasonable to worry about the possibility that our young center will rush himself, and not be properly restrained by an organization with a somewhat checkered history of managing injury.

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#39 dougherty
September 04 2013, 12:11AM
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Oilers need to take care of there Stars

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#40 dougherty
September 04 2013, 12:12AM
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oilers need to take care of the stars

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#41 Kentman
September 04 2013, 12:40AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Souray was no hero in this. He showed up the organization by going public and once you do that, be it a hockey team or any other corporate entity, the clock is ticking as to when you're out the door.

That said, if Tambellini and Lowe were going to stick to their guns, they owed it to the team and the fans to make sure they did everything possible to get some kind of return for him and, just as important, take steps to ensure the hole he left on the roster was filled with a real NHL player. They did a lousy job of both.

Do you think there's anything to the story about Souray being made to play injured?

I really think there is. I didn't used to, but I ran into some people who claimed to be friends of his at Mr. Mike's in Cold Lake earlier this year. They had nothing kind to say about KLowe and in fact our entire conversation started when they saw me in my Oilers hat and talked about it and they explained why they were ex-fans. Souray's hand wasn't fully healed and he'd had some other problems.

And then you look at the chronic injuries on the team and you really just wonder... Lowe's an emotional guy, a guy who lived life hard, worked hard, left everything on the ice. Not exactly the most empathetic or intellectual type, so it strikes me as reasonable to think that he'd also be the kind of GM/President who had no tolerance for injured players.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
September 04 2013, 12:42AM
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@Robin Brownlee

If you live long enough, we all eventually get shown the door, in all walks of life. Even more fortunate would be able to tell two bosses to take a hike. Most of the time a change is as good as a rest. Not many air what they felt was the truth and go out with their head held high like Sheldon.

Seeing the Oilers endure their darkest era ever since this incident. It only seems fitting this management group wear this yoke until/if the current group of kids bail them out of this reality. How long can Lowe keep feeding the fans chuck steak, at tenderloin prices.

Is it too late to fire up the BBQ this late at night? Hope the neighbours don't mind Frank Sinatra/Johnny Cash.

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#43 wheelerjets
September 04 2013, 01:57AM
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Does every oiler forward require shoulder surgeries? Seems to be a trend on that team from what I read.. I guess that's what happens when you get a bunch of 19 year old boys, put them on skates and call it a men's hockey team. Only small forwards. Can't wait to see the damage (on the scoreboard) Big Buff and the rest of the jets will inflict come Oct first. Better keep Hemsky and the Nuge off the ice for this one.

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#44 Reg Dunlop
September 04 2013, 02:18AM
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@wheelerjets

You got that right brother. Can you imagine the damage a drunk 300 pound Big Buff would do if he fell on little Nuge celebrating his 3rd goal of the first period?

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#46 Spydyr
September 04 2013, 07:43AM
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DANGILITIS wrote:

Hope you have more common sense before you post next time (although with you and DSF, I know this is wishful thinking).

Did they rush Taylor Hall back? Obviously not. Why would they rush RNH back? Everyone heals differently, and Taylor had recurrent shoulder dislocations, likely with more tearing of his labrum, necessitating the need for a tighter labral repair and a longer rehab/recovery.

Misinformed fans often make it out to be an issue with the medical staff. The doctors can only give their opinions, and truth be told, Nuge was not putting his shoulder at risk for further damage by continuing to play last year, as all the damage had been done after the first dislocation. He's a big boy, he made his decision, and hopefully it was timed well (e.g. after the Oilers were legitimately out of the playoff picture last season, and back in time to start this season)

The team has a proven history of rushing players back. It is a fact. Just because they did not do it with Hall does not mean they won't again.

Saying someone lacks common sense because they have a different opinion then yours is immature.

The best part of the comments section is the different viewpoints and opinions.If everyone agreed it would be pretty boring.

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#48 Spydyr
September 04 2013, 08:28AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Could you outline this "proven" history you speak of beyond the complaints Souray made?

Souray was the player I was referring to. Either he is a liar or they tried to rush him back. There has been lots of rumor and innuendo floating around about players being rushed back but that all it is.

Don't get me wrong in the playoffs if you're not going to permanently injure yourself you better be suiting up. That being said rushing a kid like the Nuge back to start a season and perhaps threatening his career just makes no sense.

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#49 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 04 2013, 08:31AM
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If Nuge's shot improves, I'll be over the moon. He has a seriously underrated wrist shot.

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#50 Harry
September 04 2013, 09:10AM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

What's with this new "trash it" and "props" thing on this site? Will there be some kind of award at years end for the most idiotic comment or something?

I think DSF's comment of Grabovski turning the Flames into a playoff team was the stupidest thing ive ever read on this site hands down.

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