Checking in on some recent injury news around the NHL….
Edmonton Oilers dealing with some injuries on defense
The most significant of which belongs to Darnell Nurse.
He was injured during the Oilers’ 2-1 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night (a game in which he played more than 31 minutes). Nurse suffered a broken finger in the win and is expected to be sidelined for the next two-to-three weeks according to the team.
Following a monster breakout season in 2020-21 that saw him score 16 goals and 36 total points in 56 games, Nurse has zero goals and 11 assists in his first 16 games this season. Even without a goal this season he is still the Oilers’ top defender and his absence is going to be significant.
Along with Nurse, the Oilers are also expected to be without Slater Koekoek for the next three-to-four weeks.
Goalie Mike Smith is also not close to returning and is still expected to be out on a week-to-week basis.
The Oilers are 12-4-0 so far this season and in contention for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
Islanders will be shorthanded for new building opening
The New York Islanders will finally play their first home game of the season on Saturday night, opening their new building. They will likely be without several key players. The Islanders announced on Friday that forwards Anders Lee and Ross Johnston have been placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocol. The Islanders are already playing without Josh Bailey who is also in the protocol.
They join defenseman Ryan Pulock who is expected be sidelined for several weeks due to injuries.
The Islanders enter Saturday’s game in last place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-6-2 record. They are still one of the best defensive teams in the league, but are near the bottom of the league offensively.
Drew Doughty returns to Kings practice
Even though a return does not seem to be on the immediate horizon, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was back at practice on Friday.
He was injured on October 22 when he was involved in a knee-on-knee collision against the Dallas Stars and was expected to be sidelined for eight weeks, and not begin skating with the team for six weeks.
Friday marked four weeks since the injury, so it is obviously well ahead of schedule.
Maybe too ahead of schedule.
“He got in the middle of a drill once, I don’t know what he was doing,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said via NHL.com. “He wasn’t supposed to be in that drill, so we have to manage him a little bit. When it comes to practice, he’s probably not pounding the door down saying he wants more out there, but it was amazing to see him excited out there today, and that’s good for our group. We need that.”
The Kings have been on a roll recently after a slow start, going on a 7-1-1 mark of their past nine games.
T.J. Oshie could be an option on Saturday
The Washington Capitals have been on a roll latey even though they have been without several key players, including Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller, Anthony Mantha, and T.J. Oshie.
They could be closer to getting one of those players back.
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said that Oshie and Nic Dowd are “possibilities” to play on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
Oshie has not played since October 27 against the Detroit Red Wings. He has four goals and two assists (six total points) in seven games this season, including a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators in one of his most recent games.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.