Edmonton Oilers wait with baited breath on injury status of Vincent Desharnais

Vincent Desharnais sat out the third period and overtime of Saturday's game as a precaution, and there's now concern his fight has resulted in an injury.
Edmonton Oilers v Seattle Kraken
Edmonton Oilers v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

While Troy Stecher was a decent addition at the trade deadline, the general consensus is that the Edmonton Oilers didn't significantly upgrade the blue line. Not that it was the be-all and end-all for the team.

The reality is the defence has improved considerably from earlier in the season, when at one point they had the worst team save percentage in the NHL and allowed the second-most goals. Kris Knoblauch has performed wonders with the players, getting them to a point where they are 11th in save percentage and eight in average goals allowed per game as of Sunday morning.

Still, with the Oilers not going all-in with the defence prior to the Mar. 8 deadline, the last thing they need is for any injuries on the blue line. However, this is exactly the scenario facing Knoblauch's team, following an incident on Saturday night in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Vincent Desharnais got into a fight with John Manson of the Avalanche with 34 seconds remaining in the second period. The two defencemen collided in front of the Oilers net, which resulted in several players scrumming around the goal.

Desharnais and Manson decided to go one-on-one after the latter had his helmet removed, with both players landing punches before skating off to the locker rooms. Here is a video of the fight for anyone interested, courtesy of HockeyFights.com:

Knoblauch admits Desharnais could be injured

Desharnais did not return to the game which, as it turns out, relates to an injury he might have picked up during is fight with Manson. Speaking postgame to the media, Knoblauch said: "Yeah, we're just going to evaluate him for his health. We'll see. Hopefully it's not major, and we're just being cautious. ... (But) there could be (an injury from the fight)."

Understandably, this is not what anyone connected with the Oilers wants to hear. Desharnais is an imposing defensive presence who isn't afraid to mix it up, albeit that's what has led to his potential injury.

The 27-year-old has grown more comfortable during his second season in the NHL and become an important part of the Oilers lineup. He has formed a good second pairing full of potential with Darnell Nurse, averaging 15:22 of ice time in 62 games and posting a +6 rating at the time of writing.

Next. Notes from the Oilers' 3-2 OT loss to the Avalanche. Notes from the Oilers' 3-2 OT loss to the Avalanche. dark

If Desharnais does end up missing any games, then this adds to the importance of Stecher being added prior to the trade deadline. Brett Kulak and Cody Ceci currently make up the third pairing, with the latter a subject of speculation to be moved as an asset before the Mar. 8 deadline.

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