The Edmonton Oilers are in the middle of a brutal East coast road trip, and it’s not going to get any easier. The Oilers lost 4-1 to the East leading Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, where they were out shot 17-1 in the first period. They followed it up with a 5-0 loss to the suddenly surging Washington Capitals on Wednesday. The team moves on to Detroit tomorrow to face the Red Wings, and finish off the trip on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Oilers hope to salvage any points from this road trip, they will have to do so without Sam Gagner, who is done for the season thanks to a hand injury.
In the game against Washington, Gagner had his glove off on the bench, and was cut by an errant skate of teammate Ryan Jones. Gagner will require surgery to repair the sliced tendon, which will effectively end his season. Gagner has 15 goals and 42 points this season, and is yet another one of the Oilers leading scorers to go down. Taylor Hall is out for the season with a high ankle sprain, Ales Hemsky is sidelined with a shoulder injury and Dustin Penner was traded to Los Angeles at the trade deadline. Edmonton is also missing defenseman Ryan Whitney. Despite the injury woes, the Oilers briefly moved from the 30th spot overall to 29th, but are back there now thanks to recent surge by the Ottawa Senators. Gagner continued to play after the injury as the severity was not yet known. Jones had these comments regarding the incident:
“We were just sitting on the bench and I was hopping over the boards,” said Jones. “I think he was reaching for water bottle at the same time, and the back of his hand nicked my skate.” “Everything seemed alright,” said Jones. “He thought that he had just cut his hand. He went back and saw the doctors at the time and they seemed to think it was alright. He said he thought he would be fine, nothing was really affecting him and so I didn’t think too much of it.” – (Toronto Sun)
The injury is just another unfortunate incident in a very difficult season for the young Oilers, but Jones believes that the team will learn from the experience in a positive way.
“It’s just one of those things, it’s just more adversity that we’re going to have to face,” said Jones. “We’re going to have to rely on other people more and it’s an opportunity for guys to step up, myself included. We’re going to have to step up to win games.”