The Edmonton Oilers will get over losing 6-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. It’s the loss of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins that’s going to leave a mark if the prized rookie is out for any length of time.

Nugent-Hopkins aggravated the left shoulder that kept him out of 13 games on a hit by Mike Brown of the Maple Leafs, and the question as the team makes its way to Detroit for a rematch with the Red Wings Wednesday is how badly he damaged it and how long he’ll be out of the line-up

"I know he’s aggravated his shoulder," said assistant coach Steve Smith. "I don’t think it’s as bad as it was before, but we’ll get an assessment of it in the next hour or so from the trainers."

Any momentum the Oilers built with three straight wins and by taking points in five straight games (4-0-1) came to a screeching halt in a mistake-filled effort against the Maple Leafs. That’s secondary, though, to the question of how long they’ll have to make due without Nugent-Hopkins.

Associate coach Ralph Krueger, filling in for Tom Renney behind the bench after he was cut by a wayward puck in the head during the morning skate, suggested keeping Nugent-Hopkins out of the game was "precautionary."

We’ll have to wait until the team gathers at Joe Louis Arena to skate Tuesday morning to get an update on Nugent-Hopkins, but shoulders are tricky and if it’s aggravated by the first real contact he took on it in his second game back, chances are the news won’t be good.


— Right on cue, predictably, questions began right after the game about whether Nugent-Hopkins was back in the line-up too soon. Fair comment, given the shoulder has been aggravated by a hit that was solid but not anything out of the ordinary. Still, I’m thinking it’s a stretch to make the leap to Nugent-Hopkins being rushed back into action.

— Speaking of stretches, there are those who are suggesting Nugent-Hopkins was injured because he’s not ready to take the physical pounding of the NHL. This, as an example, from veteran scribe Adrian Dater of the Denver Post on Twitter: "This was always the danger with RNH — needs to get bigger, stronger. Shoulders too slight to take the hitting now in NHL."

— Why didn’t the Oilers raise a fuss about the perfectly good goal by Ryan Smyth that was called off? The puck wasn’t covered when Smyth shoveled it into the net. It was a blown call, plain and simple, but I didn’t see a whole lot of protesting by the Oilers – not that it would have changed the call. Show some fire.

— Devan Dubnyk needs a rest after six straight starts and he’ll get it against the Red Wings. Dubnyk has allowed 13 goals in his last three games, including too many softies for my liking, despite winning two of those. Nikolai Khabibulin will, and should, get the call against Detroit.

— Cam Barker struggled mightily and looked very much like the defensive mess that prompted the Minnesota Wild to buy him out last summer against the Maple Leafs. Barker was standing around without his stick on one goal and he was guilty of a giveaway on another.

— Jeff Petry, on the other hand, was terrific.

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

  • I for one cannot understand the facination that all coaching staff with the Oilers, have for Belenger.

    I use to think that Horcoff had no talent, except faceoffs, but he looks like Gretzky skating nest to Belenger. Exactly which pro scout thought he was worth sigining??

    Belenger gets to play but our biggest most reliable defenseman ( Sutton) sits over Barker? This guy needs to be signed but I suspect Mr. Dithers thinks that there is a smaller and faster defenseman out there……….my prediciton is that he will try and bring back Wade Redden.

    Totally confused!

  • The Lupul goal call was NOT the correct one, according to the Kerry Fraser post–he says that when the puck is moved “across the body from right to left, for example, to gain a territorial advantage” it is not a goal.

    Apparently even the TO TV commentators said it should not have been allowed!!!???

    No excuses–our D coverage was beyond brutal, but the reffing in this league needs to improve dramatically…

  • Talbot17

    Scott Howsen would probably do our 1st, PRV, and Horcoff for Nash…okay realistically not Horcoff, but maybe a Linus Omark and another player.

    Eberle – RNH – Nash
    Hall – Gagner – Harki


  • Quicksilver ballet

    First regulation loss in 6 games and things certainly seem to have reverted back to normal.

    Smyttys goal and the Lupul goal are just things that tend to get magnified when you’re on the losing ends of things. Add another 2 lotto picks to this lineup and that worm will turn quickly for the Oilers.

    Hopkins looked like he was doing fine for the first part of the game, in a few collisions in the first period, thought he looked fine. Getting stuck playing with a struggling Hemsky and Smyth didn’t help Hopkins at all the last 4 periods. It sure looks as though he thinks the game differently than these two.

    Not sure anyone mentioned it yet but damn that 58 guy looked good at times last night. It’s good that things are getting back to normal for Oilers fans….sell the farm! Grigorenko and Murray or bust.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I was at the ACC for the game wearing my Oiler sweater. There were a surprising amount of Oiler sweaters in the crowd.

    Totally agree scratching Sutton in favour of Barker was perplexing and obviously blew up in their faces.

    BTW- 31 bucks and change for 2 pints of beer at ACC, plus tip. Welcome to the future in the corporate welfare-financed new buiding in Edmonchuck.

  • BigE91

    I’m not sure what someone who pours beer at the games would make, but at $15 a pint I wish I owned the rights to sell it there. I’d be able to by my own team………

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I thought Big Andy Sutton was one of the Oilers best Defensemen lately. He really surprised me with his puck handling ability.
    He has made a few people look bad which I didn’t know he was capable of. To scratch him probably isn’t making him think too highly of the coaching staff. Barker’s pathetic pass to Bozak was bad, but his effort after coughing it up was even worse!

    I think Dubnyk has been over-played, and it leads me to think he will never be a legitimate starter in the NHL. Nearly every game he lets in a stinker-which kills any momentum. I would like to see Bernier out of LA given a shot here, cause I don’t think Dubey is the long term answer.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Bad luck or Bad Management, all this media talk and hype about how unlucky the oilers are with there injurys and what their point total might be if they were healthy. Well guess what they were heathy last night in a 6-3 road hockey game against Toronto, well really a case of boys against men and in the case boys will get hurt while playing against men. Lets not be so surprised. The Oil had their show run last night with very little push back. I have said it a number of times that we are to small in our top 6 even top 9 and our defence is soft. Yet the only guy that will hit anything is on the trade block, that being Andy Sutton, yes I get the fact of his age but he adds something we don’t have in fact with his hands, put him on the forward line….ok, maybe not but get my point. Management should sign him for one even two years and let the up and coming blue chip D further develop. Trading Sutton for a 2nd or 3rd round pick makes no sense.
    Sam is on a terror and I like his heart but if he was the only smurf in our top 9 I’d keep him for sure. With his value at an all time high we should be targeting a top 4 deman with size- I would ask what it would take to get PK Subban out of the Habs. My question when comparing to the leafs , what are we building here if Tambo says he’s sticking to his plan. What plan is that ? another lottery team ? Toronto was clearly faster than us, more physical and deeper on defence. We have smurfs with skill who are made of glass. Folks, come play off time this type of team does not win.
    Bad Luck or Bad Management- you tell me. !