Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney has missed the past 11 games with ankle injury, and underwent successful surgery yesterday in North Carolina. It’s likely that Whitney is done for the season, and the Oilers will have to truck on without him. Whitney has been arguably the Oilers best blueliner this year, notching 27 points and a surprising +13 rating on a struggling team. He led all Oilers in icetime with an average of 25 minutes per game. Whitney is expected to be sidelined until the end of march (source: Edmonton Journal). Since his absence, the Oilers have been dismal on the powerplay, and have lost 9 of 11 games. Whitney’s ability to shut down the opponents best players has been largely under-appreciated, and the Oilers will be forced to replace him by committee.
There is one positive bit of news on the injury front regarding Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle, who has missed the past 8 games due to an ankle injury and appendicitis (which his fully recovered from). Eberle is progressing and will likely be ready to participate in the All-Star game skills competition at the end of the month, and will hopefully return to the team sooner than that. Although Eberle is expected to return from his injury shortly, the Oilers will now have to face more time with their All-Star Ales Hemsky. Coach Tom Renney said that Hemsky is suffering from a concussion and will be out indefinitely.
“He took a puck in the head in Vancouver, an elbow to the head and a stick to the cheek in games on the road trip we just finished and he was a little out of sorts tonight, so we pulled him,” Renney told the media. (TSN.ca)
The injury might keep Hemsky out of NHL All-Star game. That’s a huge disappointment for the 27 old who would have been appearing in his first ever All-Star game. There is no timetable on his return. Hemsky is the Oilers leading scorer this season, with 9 goals and 29 points in just 32 games. The Oilers have faced some tough injuries this season, and it hasn’t helped their position in the standings, as they currently sit in 15th place in the Western Conference and 29th overall in the NHL, a very similar position to last season. But there is a lot of potential on this team, and the young players are certainly learning a bunch from all the adversity their team has faced. The Oilers will try to stop their current 3 game losing skid tomorrow night at home to the Pacific Division leading Dallas Stars.