Will Ryan Whitney Be Ready For Training Camp?

Camp is still 16 days away. I think I’ll be ready

-Ryan Whitney on his ankle injury (quote courtesy Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal 30 AUG 2011)

Oh boy, I hope you’re ready too.

Must have on the blue. Photo courtesy Francois Lacasse / NHL Images

Go on and read around the Internet about how the Oilers are at best a marginal team to finish out of the cellar.  I’ll wait.

The 2011-12 Edmonton Oilers will face more than their share of tests.  Will last year’s rookie class be able to avoid sophomore slumps?  Will any of the kinks in goal be able to work themselves out?  Which new additions to the team will end up proving their worth?

Ryan Whitney seems to have done something to his injured ankle after skating in a conditioning camp in Boston this month.  Here’s hoping it’s the equivalent of stubbing your toe.  If it’s worse, then the team is in a mess of hurt worse than many predict.  The fastest way to derail the 2011-12 Oiler Train is for Whitney to miss any significant amount of time

Whitney was plus-13 at the time of his injury.  PLUS 13 on last year’s Oilers is a pretty marketable accomplishment.  At the time of Whitney’s injury, he had 27 points in 35 games – he could’ve easily finished with over 50 points had he not suffered a season ending consequence.  Whitney can play anywhere, anytime.  He’s easily the team’s number one defenceman.  In other words, he’s a valued asset.

Whitney wants to play.  He’s said he wants to play.  In the article with Jim Matheson, Whitney says he’s looking to shake the injury bug mentality, and how he needs to play in some exhibition games to shake the rust off.  Sounds like a guy who wants to play a lot.  Hopefully, everything checks out and he’ll be the first guy at training camp.  If he’s not…

This team must acquire a defenceman. Now.

Now wait, hold on.  He’s probably fine. 

Even if he is fine, the team needs to acquire another defenceman.  If he’s not (and the Oilers stand pat), the red panic button just got smashed really hard – into a million little red button pieces.  Let’s not do that.

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