Horcoff: How bad is it?

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.

Now what?

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.

They’re swine

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.

For shame.

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

  • ^^ you know… ever since the new website, formatting has been a B!tch. WTF

    So… there was only one 'dealer' who doesn't know anything about how the Flames got this. Hmmmm…

    IMO, someone else F'd up… why was there such a shortage? Why were there 'unprecedented' line-ups? Did no one realize most people would want this shot? I didn't get it, am I done for?

    From what I've heard, the flu shot takes 2-3 weeks to kick in, so shouldn't these shots been available a month ago?

  • Zamboni Driver

    …to finish the thought…

    the "imagine if they were there, in public, with the unwashed masses"….THAT is complete BS. Want shot, get your lazy, pampered @ss in line like the rest of us.

  • Zamboni Driver

    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.

    I'm sure Deep oil will have a hay day with this.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      It's a public relations nightmare, but I bet their next home game is sold out and no one boo's unless something hockey related happened. This will go away by the weekend.

  • Librarian Mike

    H1N1 clinic for hockey players? OOOO, you mean they get special medical privileges? And this is news how? Last winter I wrecked my knee and couldn't work… it took 8 MONTHS just to get an MRI. These guys get next day service and yet somehow we are surprised about "special treatment" for hockey players?

    Anyway, if Horcoff is out long term we are in real trouble… blah, blah, something about blowing up the team, blah blah.

    Thanks for the post Brownlee, I am always happy to read your stuff.

    • Librarian Mike

      It took 8 months to get an MRI?!?

      May I ask if it had more to do with dissability insurance paperwork than actually being physically allowed to get an MRI?

      And how long does it take for a knew to heal? What did the MRI show after 8 months?

    • All you posters complaining how NHL players get in sooner than "Poor little Joey with H1N1" or "Baby Bad Knee", give me a break and give your head a shake.

      Do you actually think they have Canadian Health Care?

      Ah No.

      "Special Medical Privailages" ?

      They have Private Health Insurance you Gropers.

      Nothing Special about that.

      You pay a lot more for Private Health Insurance, but it gets you treatment right away.

      Maybe if you bucked up 1800.00 for your MRI you would understand that mate.

      I bet none of you have private insurance as most of you love your socialist country with it's socialist programs. I gather you also think taxes are fair and debt is too.

      Money talks while "Poor little Joey", who has H1N1 and "Baby bad Knee" gotta wait in line.

      Maybe now this stupid post can end because it sounds like a bunch of uneducated hick Canadians that have decided to take the topic completely off topic.

      Yes please let's announce to the world with the world wide web that Canadians are uneducated. Ignorance is not bliss.

      Lastly on Horcoff,

      Hurt = Yes
      Confidence Low = Yes
      Overpaid, always was = Yes
      Work around this = yes

      +

      Team Lacks Structure = Yes
      Too Much Individual Play = Yes
      Game is to Spread Out = Yes
      Hire team psychologist = yes
      Throw out old game plan, start new one = Yes

      Case Point

      viva Quebec and Cuba

  • Librarian Mike

    Out of all of this, the thing that scares me the most (other than the possibility that the Flames might the only survivors of Captain Trips)is the notion that Tambellini might make a bandade trade that sets back the long-term development of the team. If a trade occurs to shore up a hole in the middle involving go-nowheres or has-beens, Nilson or Big Mac for example, then so be it, but if Cogs gets traded for a short term solution, then its bad news. I'd rather see the team tank without Horcoff than lose Cogs and Gilbert to pick up another second line centerman in the fional year of his contract.

    • Hemmercules

      I doubt Tambo makes a move yet. I bet they do nothing until the deadline if anything. Management knows were not playing for a cup this year, why make a knee jerk trade unless Nilson or even Grebs are involved?? Like someone else said though, teams know were in a weak position so no one is going to do us any favors anyway.

      • I agree, but, that being said, this team having missed the playoffs three years in a row must put additional pressure on the management to get something done. Lowe said at the end of the 07-08 season that it was imperative the team make the playoffs in order for the young guys to develop. How much has it set them back to miss three years in a row? Ultimately, this kind of pressure could lead to some bad decision making–Canadian hockey fans are notorious for wanting everything now, when internal development through the draft needs to be the big-picture plan. I think this pressure to sign big-name players (like Heatley) and win the cup now is the main reason we haven't seen a Canadian team win a championship since '93.

    • Chris.

      News flash: Cogliano isn't really that good. Crosby and Malkin… Kane and Toews: these are elite players that you set long term team building plans around. Cogliano is a small, soft, 40 point perimeter player with some speed. I like him. He's going to be an okay NHLer… but the Oilers will never move forward with more than two really small centers who can't win faceoffs, puck battles, or establish position in the high scoring areas of the ice against real NHL D… Cogliano has proven he can be effective on the wing… and there is no room for him at center with both Gagner and Brule on the roster. Based on his play this season: it's not hard to imagine that Cogliano's stock is falling faster than enron's… why spend another twenty games showing the other 29 GM's that he can't win a draw to save his life or contribute offensively on the wing? IMO, Cogliano should have been moved last summer.

      • Recall that the Oilers DID try to trade Cogs over the summer in the Heatley debacle. He was tied up in that prospective trade for so long that it would have been tough to move him elsewhere. Is that Tabo or K-Lowe's fault? probably.

        Of course keeping PDP and Smid has turned out pretty well for the Oil hasn't it?

        • Pot meet kettle? It has nothing to to with that. It has to do with communicating with a person on their own level to foster understanding.

          Plus, even if your little dig were true, it didn't constitute any sort of contradiction, I merely would have merely been insulting myself.

          In short, if you call someone a fool it is not a contradiction to act like a fool yourself. He couldn't grasp plain language, so I spoke to him in his own language.

          On another note…is there a more abrasive and worn phrase than "nuff said"?

  • Hemmercules

    I happened to be very lucky and missed the ACL tear. I had a partial MCL tear and some miniscous (spelling?) damage. I didn't work for a month and couldn't run/race for 5 months (I am an amateur endurance athlete). My doctor put in for the MRI appointment the day after I hurt my knee, I didn't get called back for three weeks and then they booked my MRI for late August (I injured it in late December). Needless to say with physio I was basically 100% by August, the MRI didn't show anything except a some miniscous damage and I was told that if it gets worse I might have to get scoped. Thank God that MCL's heal or I would probably still be on crutches.

    • That's public health care for you. If you wanted to pay for it privately you could have had an MRI right away. It would have cost you $1000 but you could have it done within a week at a private radiology clinic.

      Professional sports teams have millions tied up in these players so they are willing to pay the premium to get the treatment sooner. The fact of the matter is that we have somewhat of a two tiered medical system for some things.

      I don't know exactly how this works but I bet if you had gone into emergency instead of using your GP you would have been treated as an "emergent" case and you would have been higher up the list to get the radiology done. Any doctors or other medical health care professionals that can confirm this for me?

  • Zamboni Driver

    I can't believe that the Flames would skip in front of those same kids that idolize these peolpe. Just because they play a game and are "famous" they get ahead of these kids. I hope that if "one" kid dies of H1N1 in Calgary the media gets back in that dressing room and ask them how they feel that they may be the cause of this kid dying."

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    @ Ogden Brother

    I know, if you have an extra $500. The reason I comment is that pro sports teams get special treatment all the time, next day MRI, Surgery this week, etc. I don't see why this is so shocking and horrifying. Clearly money buys you privilege. in this province/country/world.

  • Money gets you places in AB. My uncle needed an MRI last year but in SK the wait is around a decade or so. He went to Calgary and paid for his own. There are private MRI clinics and my guess is that they can do whatever they want. We do have two-tier health care here.

    • They can't do whatever they want for two reasons.

      First, private clinics in Alberta/Canada are very highly regulated. There are strict controls in place and limits one what can be done.

      Second, private clinics do not have direct access to the vaccine. It would have to be given to them by the government agency. I'm not saying this doesn't happen, but they clearly cannot do whatever they want.

      I am annoyed that you seem to point at this as an Alberta issue because there are far more clinics in other parts of the country with even less regulation than the ones in Alberta. The Alberta govt has to be extra careful with what they allow private clinics to do because of the federal liberals and their demonization of Albeta over the issue, even though Ontario and Quebec have gone much farther than we have towards a two tier system.

      • Chill the eff out. We are talking about AB here. It was conjecture on the regulation part but I didn't say that it was better or worse than anywhere else, just the way it is.

        Nor did I mention anything about the vaccine.

          • So sorry, thank you for enlightening me on the inner workings of private medical clinics in AB. I didn't realize your enormous genius on the subject.

            Look, just don't put words in my mouth. You can't 'disagree' with something that I didn't say.

          • No but I can disgree with something you imply. Do you really think that using the word Alberta didn't imply something about Alberta?

            "Ogden Brother Jr. was talking about surgeries, that that was posted just above."

            Yep, and he mentioned them explicitly. Just to make sure you understand, that means he told us what he was talking about with his words. That way we can place his comments in context with the CONVERSATION ABOUT THE VACCINE.

            You, on the other hand, decided to talk about them doing whatever they want, IN THE CONTEXT OF A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE VACCINE.

            It doesn't matter what he said, because he clarified it, so even with context it makes sense. Yours made no sense because the overall conversation was about vaccine. Get it yet? No? That's because you lack the capacity. Nothing to be done for it I suppose, not even in those free-for-all Alberta clinics.

            Either you're stupid or a liar, take you pick.

            "Sorry I didn't follow your posts alone."

            Honestly I'd rather you didn't read my posts at all because it might spare me having to read your barely literate responses. I'm trying to decide if you sound retarded because you are, or if you are merely distracted because the recess bell is late.

          • Isn't this a bit at odds with TigerUnderGlass' previous comment which reads as follow?


            If you can't take someone mildly disagreeing with you about something without a reply like that then you really need to up your meds and consider the possibility of getting off your mothers teet.

            Pot, meet kettle. Kettle meet pot. 'Nuff said.

            Lighten up guys.

  • "forgot about the people who need the vaccine most."

    This is the primary issue. The vaccine was always meant to be given initially to high risk patients, including small children, pregnant women, and adults with underlying health conditions.

    They were supposed to limit it that way, but did not, and this is why there is now a shortage, and this is why there were such large lineups.

    As a result we now have the potential shortage, and people with underlying health problems cannot get the shot either.

    I hate the Flames as much as anybody, I fact I actually kind of want to fight Phaneuf over a couple of things, but at the time they got their shots the shots were being given to everybody, high risk or not.

    In other words, every adult Albertan who has received the shot is just as guilty of line jumping as the Flames, because they should not have received shots yet either. In my mind they didn't do anything more wrong than avoid waiting in a 4 hour lineup, because they would have been given the shot if the had waited, just like anybody.

    This is of particular interest to me, because I am considered high risk due to certain conditions, but I now cannot get the shot because too many were wasted.

    Someone also questioned why families of high risk people would get shots too.

    This is standard. If you are a family member in close contact then as a rule you are to be given any immunizations that the high risk person is to get. That was supposed to be the case here too. The vaccine was supposed to go to high risk people and their immediate families because their family is the biggest direct risk to them. For example, if you have small children you, as a family member, are expected every year to get flu shots.

    Unfortunately, family member shots are also not being given out this time because of all the shots given to perfectly healthy adults.

    The fault here lies with the policy makers distributing the shots. They mistakenly believed that Albertans would, on the honor system so to speak, would allow the high risk people to go first before getting shots for themselves. They were wrong.

  • We're lucky enough to have a two-tiered healthcare system. Imagine having to pay for vaccines, MRI's, etc., not to mention for each time you visit a clinic.

    Yeah, it seems unfair that money buys privelage, especially when it comes to people's health and well-being but it could be much worse.

    Now let's all chip in and make sure Horcoff gets the treatment he needs as soon as possible so our presidents and CEO's get the bonuses they deserve cause there's no way we'll be spending all this time b*tching about the struggling Oil without a number one center in the line up!

  • BarryS

    MRI & CT scans. Part of the problem is it depends on your doctor how your access is. If you have a Doctor who can be an a**hole at need then you get quicker service. Then again, having Doctors with the best seniority works pretty good as well. Did you know surgeons get operating days and testing days each week at the hospitals? You can bet the more senior the doctor the more priviledges to OR's and MRI machines they get. Who do you think Sports Teams have on call, some Doctor or surgeon a year or two out of Med School or a one with twenty five – thirty years of seniority??

    Also, if you go through emergency you can get access within a couple hours for serious injury. All those kid soccer players with broken legs needing setting seem to get pretty good servive. People smashed up in Car wrecks get good servide as well. Heart attacks and lots of blood work the best, standing around with a frown from the pain the worst. Silent sobbing can be an advantage, as can being nice to the triauge nurse.

    You want a 2 if possible, an hour or two wait at most, 1 means you should be contemplating your life and what you would do better next time if only the Lord will let you life, i.e. you might not see tomorrow morning and 4 means hopefully you'll go away and take the aspirin which is all the Doctor will perscribe after you wait 5 – 6 hours to see him.In the case of emergency rooms, high pain tolerance is a distinct disadvantage.

  • BarryS

    Learned (not confirmed)today here in Moncton that the Wildcats (QMJHL) all received vaccines last week thru an MD's office. Not sure if they received them before or after vaccine shortage declared. I'll bet many sports teams have had this shot. What the flames should do IMO(they don't control vaccine supply)is maybe have their medical team do some type of community clinic to help local doctors assess/mangage possible H1N1 cases. Or maybe set up an H1N1 vaccine clinic in areas where they are lacking (rural Alberta?) for a day or two. And of course this should not be billed by them.

  • The only reason anyone Horcoff bashes is his contract. Is it out of touch with ability to score goals? Absolutely. Is it out of touch with his role on the team? Not so much. If he was making 4 million/year we'd be talking about how he's the full package and how badly the team will miss him. The question now is, other than Penner, who else on the team can take draws, score (sometimes), kill penalties, provide leadership, and fill countless other roles on the team? We would not miss any other player on the team as much as we'll miss Horcoff. If this is long-term a la Souray or Visnovsky (last year), time will tell.

  • Offthebandwagon

    And no, I don't want to suggest that Penner provides a great deal of leadership, just that he is the only one that seems to play numerous roles, including special teams.

  • Hemmercules

    Keep in mind that we have absolutely no cap room. The Oilers more than likely aren't going to just sign someone like Peca without a decent salary dump first.

    • Librarian Mike

      If Horc is on LTIR (which is were the need for a vetran center would really come from) their is plenty of cap room.

      Also, waive Nilsson and *poof* the cap space problem disapears.

  • I finally figured out the Oilers Nation law of inevitability:

    "All blog posts will inevitably result in a comments section that can only arrive at one of three possible outcomes."

    a) Shawn Horcoff's contract sucks
    b) Ridiculous trade ponderings that ignore the realities of the cap world
    c) A sword fight

    So then, all I have to do is get "I'm a scientist" to do the appropriate experiments on his super computer to confirm this theory. There's gotta be some kind of journal we could publish our findings in.

    Fame and fortune are only the next comments section away b!tches!

    • Chris.

      Just another quick observation: many of the same posters who are celebrating Horcoff's injury wanted to see Schremp get a chance; and were glad to see a much more skilled Nilsson replace Stone…

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I never really understood the whole "vaccinations for families of at-risk people". If the at-risk people are vaccinated, why does it matter whether their families are?

    Could one of you who know something about the medical system hazard a guess?

    • Zamboni Driver

      you can a be carrier (on your hands especially) without ever getting sick – whether you're vaccinated or not.

      S'why they say to wash your hands. It's equally for everyone else as it is for you.

      I'm not a doctor, but I do play one on tv, well okay "amateur homevideo", but I don't want to talk about it.

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        That's true, and one of many reasons I wash my hands on a regular basis.

        What I'm wondering, though, is how I can be an H1N1 threat to a prone family member if they've already been vaccinated. If I'm not a threat, why would they recommend I go for the vaccination?

        • Because vaccines like the one developed for various flu outbreaks are not a certain defense. Though uncommon is still possible to get the flu after being vaccinated. Immunized family members provide another layer of protection for the very vulnerable.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    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.

    I guess this was targeting to hatecoff