The injuries continue for the Oilers, and the latest victim is Shawn Horcoff.

We will get the exact extent of his injury after the skate today, but like I said on my show yesterday and Brownlee wrote yesterday, the Oilers will be without their highest paid forward for the next while.

Some will argue that they won’t miss his five points, -5 rating and his 25 shots. Clearly Horcoff has struggled this season, but no other centre has been solid offensively.

Sam Gagner has had a few good games, Gilbert Brule was good until he got sick and Cogliano has had three good games, but otherwise he has been invisible. One, if not two of them has to step up.

Filling Horcoff’s offensive contributions won’t be hard right now, but one of them needs to be better in the draws, and be ready to consistently face the opposition’s best defencemen. Gagner will have the best chance because he’ll be playing with Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. It isn’t a surprise that Gagner and Horcoff’s most productive game this year came playing with those two.

Gagner will be the guy to slide back on to the top line, but if this team is going to start winning again Cogliano or Brule need to chip in. They can’t win with just one line scoring, and that has been the case for the past six games.

Players need to grab the opportunity when it presents itself, so which centre will step up?

More injury trouble?

Horcoff is out, but he isn’t the only one hurting. Ales Hemsky didn’t skate this morning and he has an undisclosed injury. He won’t say what it is, but when the rest of the team was getting on the ice Hemsky was coming back to the rink after getting some sort of test done. He says he will play tomorrow, but he isn’t 100 per cent healthy.

Ladislav Smid didn’t practice either and I will fill you in on his status after practice.

Theo Peckham was re-assigned to Springfield after the game in Long Island, because Steve Staios looks ready to play. He practiced today and took part in some contact drills and it looks like he will return tomorrow night.

Mike Comrie was also on the ice, and should be ready against the Rangers as well.

New centre?

Based on practice, it looks like Patrick O’Sullivan will be the other centre now that Horcoff is out. He skated with Robert Nilsson and JF Jacques. Zack Stortini skated in Hemsky’s spot with Penner and Gagner. Cogliano was with Ethan Morean and Fernando Pisani, while Brule centred Comrie and MacIntyre. You have to think if Hemsky plays then Stortini will move down and play with Brule and Comrie.

The defence pairings saw Tom Gilbert with Denis Grebeshkov, Taylor Chorney and Lubomir Visnovsky and Jason Strudwick with Steve Staios.

More on Horcoff…

I spoke with Horcoff, and he says that though his injury will put him out of play anywhere from just the next game to two weeks out, he won’t require surgery.

Horcoff was pretty mum on the extent of his injury and wouldn’t say exactly what the issue was, but he didn’t have a brace or sling on or anything, so it’s not super severe… but bad enough that he needs to rest.

Coach Pat Quinn said that Horcoff would be out for 7 to 10 days, "Page two from the trainers’ manual."

Kid Gorgeous

Sheldon Souray was scheduled to do a solo skate today, and Quinn has given him the go-ahead to resume light workouts as well.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Ugh, those line combitations in the update above are looking a bit sickly. I do not like Pouliot (damn goat!), but what is his status? I think i would rather have him play than Macintyre.

  • Funny enough, Stortini and a healthy Comrie might do something positive. Zack digs it out and Comrie pots it as he's the sneaky type to pounce on opportunities. Brule can skate around for photo ops and second assists like he does right now.

  • I guess on the bright side we don't have a salary cap problem anymore when Horcoff is put on LTIR.

    *admires the half full glass of coca cola on desk*

    I think we will really get to see the gonads some of these suspects have if he is out for awhile. Not that he was contributing that much offensively, but he was a NHL quality player in our line-up at least.

    *admires the empty glass of coca cola on desk*

  • Hemmercules

    LOL. Its pretty funny that for the past year and a half there have been many postings and articles written about the Oilers needing another centre. Management has done nothing…. so now their only true veteran centre is hurt…hmmm….. geez, didn't anyone in this 'great' organization realize the possibility? I know the Leafs and their whole organization are laughable but our beloved Oilers are not far off from the Leafs. YIKES!!! Salary Cap issues, small soft forwards, lacking in true checking veteran nhl players, depth at centre…. Yep, hate to say it but this team is in huge trouble.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      You can go back to about week one where I wasn't worried about our centers as we had Horcoff doing well, but I asked what happens when he goes down? I also questioned whether we should've signed Comrie and not someone else to help our center situation out and Mr.Gregor ripped me a new one. Something about you have to sign Comrie for that price if you can. Well I agree he was a bargain, but if you have depth issues elsewhere you should fix them first then sign Comrie if you have room.

  • Hemmercules

    "Ales Hemsky didn’t skate this morning and he has an undisclosed injury."

    "Ladislav Smid didn’t practice either…"

    "..the Oilers will be without their highest paid forward for the next while."

    Anyone else need a beer??? or a big long chug on a bottle of jack…..

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I don't know at least if we have injuries there is a reason that we are losing. These undisclosed injuries are starting to make me wonder what the heck is happening to the conditioning of our team.

      Pass the jack

  • DK0

    Sigh! Some tough times ahead! Sure wish we were able to get some faceoff depth now!

    Hopefully Cogs will take this chance and step up…he did say he wanted to prove to the organization that they would never want to put him in trade talks again, so far he hasn't really shown that…

    Our Centers will be Gags, Comrie, Brule and Cogs? still not too bad if we can get some faceoff wins.

    We better have our energy level back up, we'll be chasing the puck all night long it seems!

    • Dan the Man

      If I'm not mistaken the only way Eberle could play for the Oil this year would be on an emergency call up. I think they did that with a Junior player a couple of years ago when their D was depleted with injury.

  • Petr's Jofa

    Well if you say it's a "A VERY HIGH RISK SPORT!" then I guess there is nothing we can do. Since it's a very high risk sport, let's end this debate and stop thinking of ways to protect the players.