Off the Top of My Head
11 months ago
Evander Kane is many weeks away from recovering from the surgery he had to repair the skate cut to his left wrist Nov. 8, but we know he accompanied the Edmonton Oilers on their road trip to Nashville and Dallas and has already skated with the team several times. That’s good news the up-and-down Oilers can use.
“I’m probably seven to eight weeks away,” Kane told reporters before a 6-3 win over the Stars Wednesday. “They told me it would be a lot longer. It still could be. It’s tough to see how the inside heals. There are still things I definitely can’t do and know I can’t. A month and a half later I’m already practicing with the team.
“I still wear a splint when I’m out there and there is no real pain, but I’m not doing anything that’s going to cause pain. Even though it might look like I’m doing a lot . . . I’m actually probably doing a little more than maybe they’re allowing me to be doing. I think I kind of just cleared myself for team practice.”
Whenever possible, there’s something to be said for keeping a player like Kane involved in the team’s routine and feeling like a part of what’s happening. That’s what having him come along on the road and skate with the team is about – even if there isn’t a surprise early return for Kane in the cards.
STAYING IN THE MIX
Oct 29, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
“Just bringing him on the road and making sure he’s part of our meetings and in on everything,” coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I think what that does is it provides energy to our group. He is someone with a large personality. His opinion and voice in the locker room carries a lot of weight.
“So, to see him support his teammates the way he has and to do so not just from an off-ice point of view but to go out on the ice with the fellas, I think that provides energy. Very similar to having our friends and family around . . . he’s telling me he’s a quick healer, so we’ll see what Santa brings him.”
With all the damage Patrick Maroon’s skate did to ligaments, tendons, nerves, veins, arteries and muscle, nothing that Santa left under the tree last night will have Kane back in the line-up until we’re several weeks into 2023. That said, the post-op process seems to be going as well as can be expected.
“The tendons, nerves and ligaments, that’s what takes a while to heal,” Kane said. “I can be taking my sock off in a weird way and I’ll get a bite (pain) for about 20 seconds, which is a little scary, but then I can go take a wrist shot at 65 per cent and it’s nothing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s just how it is. So, I know I still have a little while to go, here.”
Even without Kane, the Oilers score enough goals. That hasn’t been the biggest void with his absence. The way I see it, what the Oilers miss most is the edge and physicality Kane brings when he’s on his game. Remember how Kane owned Matthew Tkachuk after the “do you want some money” smack he talked? This team has missed that bite, that chip on the shoulder.
NUGE ROLL ENDS
Dec 19, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrates with teammates after a goal during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
With Kane on the shelf, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has picked up the offensive slack. RNH tallied 1-2-3 in Dallas before having a five-game point streak snapped in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Vancouver. RNH hits the Christmas break at 18-23-41 after 35 games. As an aside, the Oilers are sitting at 18-15-2, the same record they had after 35 games last season.
Nugent-Hopkins has been a picture of consistency. He has points in 24 of those 35 games and hasn’t been held of the scoresheet in back-to-back games since the first two games of the season. He has six power-play goals and 22 power-play points.
TWO FOR THE SHOW
After almost 25 years as officials, including working their first AHL game last October, identical twins Chad and Cody Huseby of Red Deer hit the big time on Friday at Rogers Place, working as linesmen for the game between the Oilers and Canucks.
The twins, who are 36 and have worked as officials in the WHL for 13 years, got the opportunity when flight delays because of severe weather prevented the regularly scheduled crew from getting here to work the game.
- Connor McDavid’s 30th goal of the season to put the Oilers ahead 2-0 Friday extended his points streak to 15 games. McDavid had streaks of 17 and 15 games last season. This is his seventh straight season with at least 30 goals.
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