Oh, that defence. Becoming a recurring theme now, isn’t it?
Wind your way back to the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Set it to preseason, just after the YoungStars tournament.
This preseason started out not much differently for everyone jockeying for a job. The Oilers defence was in need of serious propping up. Newcomers Cam Barker and Andy Sutton were sure to be in the mix, along with several young impressionables. One of those impressionables was Taylor Fedun.
A lot can change over the course of a preseason.
Up until the game against Minnesota on September 30th, Taylor Fedun had a fighting chance to make the opening night roster. A 22 year old undrafted kid from Edmonton would need to pull out all of the stops in order to find himself on the home town’s blue line in October.
Fedun showed that he was a selfless player willing to do the not-so-glamorous in order to prove his worth. At the very worst, it would’ve been a nice story. Maybe he’d step in and contribute immediately. That blue line wasn’t getting better by just looking at it.
Then in one shift, Taylor Fedun’s life took a dramatic turn.
One of the more difficult things you’ll ever watch.
Eric Nystrom and Taylor Fedun get tangled up chasing a puck that was iced, and Fedun crashes legs first into the boards. Fedun suffers a compound fracture of his right femur, ending his season immediately (and possibly his career). Hearing Fedun wail after being knocked into the boards is incomparable to most injuries. I can’t bring myself to watch the clip anymore.
Not only is the life of Taylor Fedun thrown into a tailspin, the no-touch icing debate rages hard soon afterwards. We’ll know more about whether or not a hybrid icing is adopted into the NHL as the summer drags on, but even the most ardent traditionalist will admit that something has to change. It seems like there’s one injury every year that happens resulting from a collision similar to this. I can’t imagine how arduous Taylor Fedun’s rehabilitation has been.
Taylor Fedun’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. In under eight months, Taylor Fedun went from a career threatening injury to being able to participate in practice in March. Credit goes to the Oilers for investing an immeasurable amount of time with Fedun, but a big dollop of credit goes to Fedun himself. The guy goes from compound fracture to on-ice in less than a year. There are no words.
Fedun will ideally head into the 2012-13 season with one thing on his mind: an NHL roster spot.
Will he be on the Oilers’ blue line this fall? Maybe. Will he be in OKC? Maybe. One thing is irrefutable: his recovery is nothing short of amazing. The only time I’ll use intangibles like ‘heart’ and ‘courage’ is in an example like this.
Taylor Fedun hasn’t scored a point at the NHL level yet, but he’s got an entire fan base rooting for him to make a big point this October.
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