Ryan Nugent-Hopkins underwent shoulder surgery in April to repair a torn labrum. The injury had plagued him for years, so there’s reason to be hopeful that he’ll be better than ever when he returns.
The question now is when that return will be.
Nugent-Hopkins initially expressed confidence that he would be “good to go” for the start of the season. The Edmonton Oilers remain upbeat about his recovery, but Oilers GM Craig MacTavish isn’t about to make any promises.
“All things are very optimistic now … but the timeline before was that he’d be ready Nov. 1, in a very pessimistic timeline, and optimistically he’d be ready to start the year,” MacTavish told the Edmonton Journal. “We’re going to stay with that and let his progression dictate when he’s ready. We won’t be hurrying him, that’s for sure.”
MacTavish conceded that being without Nugent-Hopkins would create a big hole in their lineup, but it would also be an opportunity for some of the Oilers’ young forwards.
“[Mark] Arcobello will get a good look, Andrew Miller, Will Acton, Anton Lander. I’m sure we’ll be able to offset Nuge’s absence in the short term.”
Nugent-Hopkins had 52 points in 62 games as a rookie and then 24 points in 40 contests last season.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
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“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.