Connor McDavid spoke to the media and Oilers fans today for
the first time since breaking his clavicle versus the Philadelphia Flyers two
McDavid wasn’t wearing a sling and said he
was already back working out. “I did upper body today,” he said. “The good news
is it (injury) was only a bone and not a separated shoulder or torn labrum. It
will heal and I will be fine,” McDavid continued. For clarity sake “doing upper body” doesn’t mean he was lifting heavy weight on his left side, but he has started rehab already.
He will see the doctor later today or
tomorrow to get an update on his recovery. He said it feels better than he
expected, but he did not give a timetable for his return, though we do know he will not play until 2016.
It is an understatement to say the Oilers
miss him, but the rest of the team needs to get healthy as well.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Luke Gazdic are
still battling the flu. Jordan Eberle and Matt Hendricks had maintenance days, but Todd McLellan said Eberle’s rest day wasn’t for his shoulder.
Justin Schultz and Lauri Korpikoski did
skate today, but neither will be ready for Wednesday. Schultz has been dealing with a bulging disc in his back. “I had some tingling down my legs earlier in the year, but it wasn’t anything painful,” explained Schultz.
“I felt it in my back during the LA game and my back seized up. I wasn’t able to do anything for a few weeks. I didn’t do anything other than treatment, glut activation and traction. It was great to be back with the guys today. I felt really good,” said Schultz.
He didn’t give a timeline for his return. He said he’d love to play Wednesday but knows the doctors won’t agree with that. He is hoping to get the green light for the road trip.
It was an odd practice. The Oilers had ten forwards and nine D-men on the ice. McLellan only ran three lines:
Letestu-Miller-Yakupov (Korpikoski rotated in).
They did some five-on-five drills at each end of the ice, and the D-men rotated in with various pairings, although Sekera-Nurse were the most regular.
The top forward line will stay intact for
Wednesday, but with RNH and Eberle expected to play Wednesday the remaining
lines won’t be sorted out until practice tomorrow or even as late as Wednesday.
McLellan did mention Pouliot-RNH-Eberle have played well together, so he could be leaning to them as a trio for Wednesday.
McLellan was really impressed with Teddy Purcell’s game in Los Angeles. “He played his best game of the season against a very heavy team. He’s been pretty good recently,” said McLellan.
The Oilers desperately need a second line to start producing. Hall and Draisaitl have been carrying the team offensively for the past eight games, but you won’t win many games with only one line scoring.
Draisaitl has 5-8-13 in his previous eight games, while Hall has 4-8-12. They’ve both been excellent, but it isn’t just their offensive numbers. They have been solid defensively as well.
- “He’s been grumpy,” smiled Hall when asked how McDavid is around the house.
“It’s been tough. You only have one rookie season. I wasn’t considered a Calder favourite when I got hurt, but I think Connor was and that just added to his frustration. He has had some good progress with his shoulder, and really that’s what keeps you going when you are rehabbing. You need to see some positive signs, and he has, which is great.
“We try to keep him upbeat around the house. He loves hockey so much, and he doesn’t like watching games. No one does when you are hurt, but I think he’s handled it very well,” continued Hall.
- Laurent Brossoit is 5-2-1 with a 2.33 GAA and .933sv% in Bakersfield. He has been really good in his last five winning four and posting a .950sv%. He is developing well, but I don’t expect the Oilers to recall him anytime soon. AHL shooters are much different than those in the NHL, and with the Oilers still allowing too many quality chances, they will let Brossoit continue to dominate in the AHL. I could see a late-season recall.
- Draisaitl is a great example of how hard work is the main ingredient to success. He worked incredibly hard in the off-season to get stronger and become more explosive. We are seeing the results now. He has taken advantage of a great opportunity, but if he hadn’t put in the work in the summer, it is unlikely he would have been able to excel when the opportunity presented itself. All young players in the organization, and even some veterans, should take note of all the hard work Draisaitl did in the off-season. The hard work behind the scenes is what leads to success on game night.
- Yakupov is goalless in 12 games. He has created some chances, but he needs to finish. The Oilers desperately need some secondary scoring and Yakupov, like most goal scorers when they go in a slump, has been struggling around the net and is a bit hesitant. He came close to scoring in LA but couldn’t lift a backhand over Quick’s pad. Yakupov is an emotional player — he cares, and he hates not scoring. The team needs him, and his confidence needs a goal.
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