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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 Rob...
September 04 2013, 10:25AM
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@Spydyr

I think you're confusing the word history with anomaly.

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

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#55 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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#56 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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#57 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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#58 Freewheeling Freddie
September 04 2013, 11:57AM
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Had a 6cm labrum tear, took close to 2 years before it was decent . No sense rushing RNH back. A short term gain could be a long term pain for the Oilers. If he cant play till November then that's the way it is. By the way mine was done non surgically.

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#59 The_CWD_GarbageMan
September 04 2013, 03:51PM
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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?

Not a bad idea ... may a free waste bin on your driveway for the comment with the most trash it clicks?

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#60 719
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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#61 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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#62 Bring back Salo
September 04 2013, 10:33AM
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No rush to have RNH back Oct. 1. Although he may be 100% healed from surgery, that does not mean he is back at 100% strength. As Brownlee says, let's not get carried away. Different person and different healing time, but look at Hall's comments about how much he benefited from having the extra time to rebuild his strength.

Let's see what happens

#playoffs?

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#63 Spydyr
September 04 2013, 10:48AM
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Rob... wrote:

I think you're confusing the word history with anomaly.

Not from what "they" said. Where there is smoke there is fire.

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#64 Smokey
September 04 2013, 11:07AM
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I wish a center like Steckel was brought in to take some pressure of Nuge. Do what TO did, have him take faceoffs and get the hell of the ice. Limit some of the faceoffs.

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#65 Spydyr
September 04 2013, 11:27AM
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pkam wrote:

'There has been lots of rumor and innuendo floating around',

This is what you refer to as 'proven history'?

I am speechless. Even wikipedia has more credibility.

Proven history

See Souray, Sheldon. Unless he is a big fat liar.

You're welcome.

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#66 pkam
September 04 2013, 12:14PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No need to kiss backside like that. When you gave me that 50 bucks to keep quiet about the Calgary Flames sticker on your car, I said I would. I keep my word.

You do that for 50 bucks only? That is a little too cheap.

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