The Edmonton Oilers haven’t officially begun their regular season until later tonight and already they are battling the injury bug. In total, five players are sidelined with David Perron fighting an illness and is listed as day-to-day. Perron is expected to be in tonight’s lineup.
The initial report had Nugent-Hopkins out for the full month of October and while that is still the proposed timeline, there is always the chance he could return earlier. The Nuge is skating with the team but is still wearing the yellow, no contact jersey.
Gagner did speak to the media for the first time since the Zack Kassian incident and he didn’t exactly mince words when giving his opinion on the play that broke his jaw, courtesy of the Edmonton Journal:
“I thought it was a pretty reckless play,” Gagner said. “I don’t think he was trying to hit me in the face, but you have to be aware of your stick.”
The Oilers forward is hoping he can be back in the lineup in four or five weeks but even he admits that would be if he can push the doctors into clearing him. The original recovery time was set at six to eight weeks which put him well into November. Given how delicate his jaw will be when he does return, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Oilers decided not to rush him back and avoid losing him long-term due to a reoccurring injury. Then again, if the Oilers are struggling and are in desperate need of depth at centre, perhaps Gagner is back playing sooner than later.
Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury and could be back skating with the club some time this week according to head coach Dallas Eakins. Grebeshkov is expected to compete for the final job on the blue line currently occupied by Anton Belov.
Fellow defenseman Corey Potter remains out with a bad back and is still on the injured reserve. There is no timetable for his return.
The same goes for tough guy Steve MacIntyre who injured his knee when trying to hit now teammate Luke Gazdic during Friday’s game against the Dallas Stars. Oddly enough when MacIntyre went down Gazdic was claimed by the Oilers to come in and fill MacIntyre’s role as the team tough guy.
MacIntyre was spotted at Rexall earlier today with a brace on his right knee. No timetable has been set for his return.