In a conversation with Hockey Portal, Oilers forward, Tomas Jurco, discussed his first season in Edmonton, his hip surgery, and what he expects going forward.
Last summer, Ken Holland used the limited cap space he had to work with to sign an array of scratch tickets with the hopes that some of them would be able to contribute at the NHL level. One of those cheap deals went to Tomas Jurco, a player Holland knew well from his time in Detroit after drafting him in the second round back in 2011. After a hot start in the pre-season, Jurco’s year got derailed by hip problems that resulted in corrective surgery and rehab program that ended only as the season was being put on pause.
When asked about how he feels about his first season in Edmonton, Jurco admitted it’s hard to put a finger on how things went because of how much time he missed:
As a quick note, I translated these quotes from Slovak to English so if something seems weird then that’s definitely why.
“It’s hard to judge because I haven’t played since December. Training camp was excellent, then a few matches went well, but then the biggest problems with the hip started and it was a fight from there. Before the season, I imagined it would definitely be different, but there is nothing that can be done — I have to look ahead to the next season.”
So what happened?
“Simple answer. I played in camp for 17-18 minutes in one match and I was also in the first powerplay formation. The season came and I played 12-13 minutes in some matches, but there were two losses in a row and the coach, even though he told me that he was satisfied with my performances, had to change things. My ice time was falling, and it was harder. When a player like me plays little and doesn’t get on the ice during the powerplay, you can see. I also needed a little luck, maybe a goal bouncing in off the knee or something. In the end, the operation came anyway.”
Around here, not a whole lot was said about your hip surgery so what exactly happened?
“I had a problem with (my hip) for about two years, but I always got cortisone injections. I had the last one in the summer in Košice and I already felt that it had a weaker effect than others before. I still managed through camp, but at the end of it, the doctors in Edmonton and I agreed that it was time for the next one. It hurt a lot. It was exactly when I was supposed to start with Draisaitl and McDavid in the first game of the NHL season. So I wanted to postpone it by a week and wait for a three-day break in our schedule, but Coach Tippet ordered me to resolve it as soon as possible. So I missed the first match, the team won and the lineup didn’t change. So I started on the fourth line.”
When surgery was on deck as the only option to fix your hip, how did the treatments go and when were you ready to get back on the ice?
“Four months. After thirteen weeks, I was ready to play. They were great at Edmonton, and I did my best to get up to speed. I have managed rehabilitation after surgery quite well in the past. I basically came back and when I was ready to play, they interrupted the season.”
Of course. That’s some tough luck, sir.
For a guy like Jurco, I can’t imagine how frustrating this year must have been considering how well it started in training camp. After watching him put up some points in the preseason and look damn good while he was at it, I honestly thought that maybe Ken Holland had found a guy that could contribute in the middle six, but that was all thrown out the window as a result of his hip problems. Now that the world has gone to shit, guys like Jurco are left to guess what will happen next and where they’ll end up. I have no idea if Holland would want to bring him back for another kick at the cat on another short term deal or if they’ll just move on with someone else, but at 27 years old, you have to wonder how many NHL opportunities Jurco has left.
JURCO’S 2019-20 SEASON