Times have been dark for the Edmonton Oilers, and Saturday’s updates didn’t make thinks look any sunnier.
There’s now a window of recovery for Benoit Pouliot (pictured), who broke his foot during Friday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils. Dallas Eakins estimates that he’ll miss five-to-six weeks with the injury, according to play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels.
Pouliot isn’t the only expensive offseason acquisition who will miss tonight’s game, as $9 million* defenseman Nikita Nikitin will be a healthy scratch. Keith Aulie will take his place in the lineup tonight against (third bit of bad news) the Chicago Blackhawks.
Eakins emphasized that to make changes, you need to adapt.
To the Oilers’ credit, sitting Nikitin is the kind of painful move that people have been calling for the fledgling organization to make. Copper & Blue called for Edmonton to sit Nikitin yesterday:
If Nikitin is playing hurt and that’s affecting his play, then I’m willing to cut him some slack. But if that’s the case then I’m at a loss to explain why the coaching staff would continue to dress him and play him as much as they have – 21 plus minutes in every game during this homestand. And if he’s not hurt then we have to ask why he’s still in the lineup when the results clearly don’t justify it.
It would be foolish to call this move a cure-all, but if there’s any concern about complacency, something like this could wake a few people up.
* – OK, $4.5 million per year … but still.