What if Ryan Whitney’s right ankle doesn’t hold up? That’s a question that’s been rattling around my cranium since I interviewed Whitney on Aug. 13. I’m guessing it’s a question that Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has asked as well. Of that, I can’t say for sure.

I’ve listened to the interview, on Nation Radio, two or three times since Whitney and I chatted, and I’ve got to admit that now, as then, I’m not completely convinced the ankle will be 100 per cent by the time that training camp opens.

More important, whenever Whitney is ready, how will that surgically repaired tendon that detached respond when he starts pushing people and they start pushing back in game action? And how long will it hold up?

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I don’t have any inside information here. Neither Whitney nor anybody with the Oilers or involved in his rehab has told me anything on the down-low about progress, or lack of same, with the ankle.

But after procedures to re-align bones — Whitney’s left foot was done in August 2008 while he was with Pittsburgh and his right foot was repaired during the off-season after he was acquired from Anaheim — and having watched his ankle come apart, doubt seems reasonable.

And nothing Whitney told me here in Segment 4 of Nation Radio was convincing enough that I’m confident he’s put his medical issues behind him. Again, no inside info, just gut-feeling stuff.


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Somebody asked me today what the outlook for Whitney’s ankle was, and if the injury that put him out after 35 games and kept him out after surgery, had anything to do with his previous foot surgeries. I suspect they’re connected, although I don’t know it for sure.

My amateur diagnosis is that Whitney’s abnormally high arches resulted in all kinds of wear and tear to the tendons and ligaments in his feet and ankles as the body compensated. I’ve seen guys with bad knees wear out hips, stuff like that.

In this specific case, one might have nothing to do with the other. Then again . . . So, aside from a ready-date and questions about the durability of the right ankle, what about the left?

We saw what Tom Renney’s defence looked like without Whitney for 47 games in 2010-11. Do you have confidence the defence as it stands going into camp — Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Cam Barker, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton and Taylor Chorney or Jeff Petry — can hold up without Whitney? I don’t. Did Tambellini add enough depth to cover his backside if Whitney is out of the equation? Not that I can see.

Maybe I’m crossed up on this one, drawing the wrong conclusions from the interview, but the questions about Whitney’s ankle nag me no matter how many times I listen to his answers. I’m nervous.

The Oilers should be, too.

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

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I know it won’t surprise anyone that i say this but i kinda hope Whitney puts together a strong season so he can be moved at the deadline. Ryan’s here for this year and next and i’m not sure he’s durable enough to be the #1 or 2 D’man here longterm. Move him and go hard after Weber or Suter if Detroit doesn’t get their hands on them first.

    This puts a little bit of pressure on Petry,Mirancin,Tuebert and Musil but hey, isn’t that what this game is all about.

  • The Oil need to acquire/develop a true top 2 defenceman and add another 3/4 defencman from somewhere to stay competitive in the West. A good defence can mask a mediocre goalie to some extent and lord knows that our goalies may be a cause for concern going into this season.

    I still say that a call to Nashville about Weber may be in order… even if nothing comes to pass in the short term, you might be able to get him out of Nashville by the deadline or the draft if they decide to trade him for some prospects and picks.

  • Suter is the dman I would target. Nashville must be thinking OMG who is going to score for us this season??? Geoffrion?Legwand? They are really thin upfront. The only thing that may keep them from being last in the westeren Conference is Rinne. How much is he going to be worth? Trotz is a good coach but can he make bricks from mud???


    • I would suggest all the injuries over the past few years if a reason why you would “worry” about them in July, especially when the player in question in inked in atop the depth chart.

      If Whitney can’t be counted on for a full season, and we don’t know if he can be yet, it’s up to Steve Tambellini to make sure there is enough depth in place to mitigate that.

      This defense as it stands, isn’t close to good enough without Whitney.

  • 24% body fat

    has anyone played the nhl 12 demo yet. Keep in mind the game is made in burnaby when you play it. The demo is set up to play the third period of a game between boston and vancouver. The canucks are at home. When you start the game the canucks are up 3 – 0 with one period left. What a bunch of self entitled losers. You didnt win the cup. Also some how the goaltending is rated 97 to 91 in favour of the canucks.

    totally lame.

  • Small town dreams

    For all those who say “o well if we suck again we’ll get a top d-man in the draft”. That may be true but at best how long before that stud d-man is ready to be a top d-man! Two maybe three years. Not acceptable get a weber type now. Wait three more years for that young d-man and the young talent we have will be so sick of losing they will be on the first flight out here! IMO

  • Small town dreams

    Whitney needs to invest in duck tape and a good pair of orthodicts . Skate boot made for comfort and light weight that is flexible enough to help prevent shin splints and heel spurs . Normal skate boots make your feet feel like your wearing concrete boots with his type of condition and shin splints and heel spurs develop rapidly to make matters worse . Can always add outside boot cap for additional protection .

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I live in Pittsburgh and remember being sad when Whitney was traded, because I liked him as a player and a person.

    But even back then, one of the “in the know” media members said Whitney’s foot/ankle problems were so significant that getting rid of him would prove to be prudent in the end.