TIME TO SHUT WHITNEY DOWN?

Robin Brownlee
January 05 2012 11:11PM

The Edmonton Oilers will have to get along without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rest of January because of a shoulder injury. I can't imagine the news will get any better when Ryan Whitney meets with team medical staff in Dallas to discuss his difficult comeback from ankle surgery.

With all the trouble Whitney has had coming back from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle, the Oilers defenseman met with the specialist who performed his procedure in Charlotte this week to try to get some answers as to why he's still experiencing so much pain.

My understanding is one distinct possibility is that Whitney re-injured himself four games into his comeback when he took an awkward fall against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place Oct. 25.

The fall resulted in a sprained right knee that put Whitney back on the shelf for 13 games. It might also have damaged his right ankle or foot – not necessarily the tendon that was repaired but perhaps a ligament or other soft tissue. Until the results of an MRI are interpreted by team medical staff, it's too early to say for certain.

MORE TIME NEEDED?

If that's indeed the case, it seems obvious to me the only option would seem to be to keep Whitney, who has missed Edmonton's last six games, out of action until the pain that's clearly impacted his game subsides and any further damage is allowed to heal completely..

With the Oilers hitting the halfway mark in the schedule when they wrap up their road trip against the Stars Saturday, Whitney has played in just 17 games so far this season. It's been more than obvious that he hasn't been skating or moving like he did prior to the injury.

Before this road trip began, it was determined Whitney had tendinitis in the ankle. Rest, these last six games, was the course of action decided upon. If that condition has been complicated by further damage to a ligament in the foot, it's a safe bet Whitney will be in for more of the same. Likely a lot more.

Bottom line, there's a distinct possibility the Oilers will not only be without their best forward for the rest of the month, but that Nugent-Hopkins will have company in Whitney. For how long exactly, we don't know yet.

Stay tuned.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#2 Colin
January 05 2012, 11:13PM
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He might as well take the season off anyway, the oilers are bottom 5 either way so far.

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#3 knobby
January 05 2012, 11:23PM
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Resting for the remainder of this season may be the best case scenario. Trying to play him like they have been seems to just aggravate and delay complete healing.

The real concern imo is another surgery and who knows if he'll ever be able to make a complete recovery. The Oil need this guy both as a person and a player. I can't help but woonder where the team would be in the standings if they had managed to keep their D healthy.

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#4 Johe
January 05 2012, 11:34PM
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Shut him down. This season's pretty much over anyways. But I do have to say that more often than not this road trip, the Oil have competed hard and looked like a team on the verge of picking up a few wins. Not terrible hockey to watch, which is more than I expected a couple weeks ago.

Now please allow me to scream in rage at the absolute horrid time the Oilers have had with injuries the last few years. AAAAAAAAAAAAAASGFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There, better. Also... Smid is great this year. That is all.

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#5 OilerLand
January 05 2012, 11:39PM
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Why can't all these injuries happen to teams that we hate like the Flames or Canucks?? seriously if none of our players were injured we'd probably be in the playoff conversation right now instead of the Nail v. Dumba conversation.

Welp, see you in 2013.

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#6 D6U4
January 05 2012, 11:42PM
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Wait till he gets healthy..Than play him HARD for 10-15 games, then TRADE him.. I hate to say it because he has a great hockey mind, and the skills to prove it but( plus I have bought a $30 Whitney shirt) , with the hereditary and nonhereditary injury's the he has incurred in the past to season's. plus we have soon, (very soon) we have realized he is damaged goods, And we may have well get him for as much we can right now

P.s. Ditto for Hemsky :)

Sincerely...D6U4

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#7 Zack
January 05 2012, 11:48PM
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You gotta feel for the guy. Especially knowing that he has the talent and skill to not only compete but be a reliable option among the blueline and yet all he can do is watch. The same goes for Fedun, except his situation is quite different as we all know. Speedy recovery to all Oil.

I think it's going to be a Grig vs Murray debate as opposed to Nail vs Dumba. As always BPA, I'm sure Stu and team will deliver another bullet.

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#8 OilerLand
January 06 2012, 12:01AM
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Hey remember when the Flames lost 9-0?? hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahah

let's just focus on that for tonight. enjoy.

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#9 David S
January 06 2012, 12:10AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

NO CIGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Textbook.

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#10 Oil Rigz
January 06 2012, 07:30AM
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I know I may be way out to lunch with this thought but I am going to throw it out there anyways.

The Oilers seem to get a lot of fluke injuries on harmless looking plays. RNH's shoulder, Whitney toepicking and spraining a knee and so on. Has anyone ever thought maybe the off ice training they are doing is making the team susceptible to these "fluke" injuries.

Like I said maybe I'm going down the wrong path, but the Oilers have had alot of injuries the last couple seasons and there has to be more to it than bad luck

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#11 OilFan
January 06 2012, 07:53AM
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Whitney is the most over rated dman in the NHL. Let him recover and trade him in the off season.

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#12 justDOit
January 06 2012, 08:13AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

NO CIGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's what she said.

/William Rodham Clinton

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#13 merfer
January 06 2012, 08:15AM
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Love the guy when he is playing but unfortunately he is a china doll. Can this team really afford mentally and financially to have this player? You start the year off planning on him to make a sizeable contributuion to your team and when he breaks down you are left scrambling to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. This team needs to purge itself of players that consistantly get seriously hurt. Whitney, Hemsky and probably Horcoft come to mind. Whitney and Hemsky are the two worst and it's just too hard on your team when every year we have to go through this injury stuff. I think Edmonton has had to take a flier on these kind of players because no one wanted to play here but I feel this attitude may be changing. We need more durable players.

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#14 pelhem grenville
January 06 2012, 08:16AM
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David S wrote:

Textbook.

NO CIGAR?...did you quit smoking Robin?

pass along more FRAGILE stickers for Whitney...it's just a shame that he has to (or it sounds like) start all over again...

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#15 Truth
January 06 2012, 08:17AM
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It only makes sense to shut him down until he is completely healthy and is comfortable with his range of motion and skating. Letting him play beforehand will just delay the healing process while possibly keeping a younger more able player out of the lineup.

I hate to say it but it's time for a top 20 prospects breakdown article...

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#16 Oilerbill
January 06 2012, 08:39AM
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Tendinitis doesn't just go away. It becomes nagging. Until he can stop the motion of his ankle that caused the tendinitis it will not go away. Even once that motion has stopped it can be a long time before the inflammation in the tendon has gone down and it is back to full and normal operation. I don't see how they can keep him skating if that's what's causing the problem. This isn't a short term pain for long term gain situation. In fact it's the total opposite.

I would much rather see him shut down. As with any player on any team. They are not doing anyone any favors by playing him in this situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWWuwZhgxPc&feature=related

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#17 Team Hall
January 06 2012, 08:47AM
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Well, time to make like a submarine and Dive! Dive! Dive! The only question remains, Yakupov or Forsberg?

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#18 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 08:48AM
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David S wrote:

Textbook.

If he's going to pull out a full block, then I'll start getting in his grill again. I usually leave the Reuben articles alone so the old man doesn't have a coronary, but he's getting far too much satisfaction in the so called "block"

Consider it back on old man Brownlee.

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#19 Yourmomthinksimhot
January 06 2012, 08:51AM
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What kind of GM would trade a proven veteran defenseman for an injury prone, long term signed defenseman..... Oh right... The guy we're all counting on to bring this team to glory. Seriously, did we not see this coming.

At this point how can anyone be surprised or upset. It's called history for a reason, most people here want to trade Hemsky but unfortunately Tambellini is our GM. The only GM that seems to ignore injury history.........

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#20 Chaz
January 06 2012, 08:52AM
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Did you say the Oilers will be without their best forward until the end of the Month?

~ What happened to Eberle?!?! ~

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#21 Archaeologuy
January 06 2012, 08:53AM
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When Lowe was at the Helm this team always seemed to have somebody on defense that could get the job done.

At this rate I'm willing to accept a return from Janne Niinimaa

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#22 justDOit
January 06 2012, 09:09AM
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Team Hall wrote:

Well, time to make like a submarine and Dive! Dive! Dive! The only question remains, Yakupov or Forsberg?

In the brief time I watched Yakupov, I was immediately reminded of RNH in the way that he plays - slick, great vision, and has a high panic threshold.

But I would be very surprised to see the Oilers pick 1st again.

I

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#24 Dman09
January 06 2012, 09:23AM
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I would like to throw something a little different out there. What about that 4th line last night, Lander Harti and even Green looked good. With play like last night I don't see any reason that Lander can't develope into a second line center. He has all the tools now its just a waiting game. Harti brings a lot of energy and a physical presence and its a lot of fun to watch him. Green plays good reliable hockey and it was interesting to see him settle his guys down a bit after the whistle to make sure they didn't take a penalty. Good job buy all three really enjoyed watching them last night.

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#25 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 09:42AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Did you say "coronary" and call me an old man?

"Hmmm. Ban Soft Hands or just slap him around like he's Robin Ventura for the next six months or so . . .?" Six months it is.

Yes, please edit what I write so I can just edit it back.

For your reference, I do prefer being called a Muppet over a Donkey... but if you must use the Donkey term... all I hear is Shrek calling for Donkaaaayyy; I get a kick out of it.

I have no problem with you not allowing me my cigar, but then expect it from my side. This isn't communist Russia, and i'm sorry but no you are not Joseph Stalin.

Block it fine, but stop getting your panties in a knot when stocc beats you to it and shoves a giant FIST in your comment section.

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#26 Oiler Country
January 06 2012, 09:56AM
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Robin,

Whitney = Retirement?

My magic 8 ball is telling me so, not as good as a Clifton, but..

Am I off base? Off my rocker? Past the boat? Two bricks short of a load? One egg short of a egg sandwich? Two floors short of a two story house? Flipped? Silly?

What say you?

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#27 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 06 2012, 10:01AM
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Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement wrote:

Yes, please edit what I write so I can just edit it back.

For your reference, I do prefer being called a Muppet over a Donkey... but if you must use the Donkey term... all I hear is Shrek calling for Donkaaaayyy; I get a kick out of it.

I have no problem with you not allowing me my cigar, but then expect it from my side. This isn't communist Russia, and i'm sorry but no you are not Joseph Stalin.

Block it fine, but stop getting your panties in a knot when stocc beats you to it and shoves a giant FIST in your comment section.

**** insert soundbite from Team1260 where Robin talking about wearing panties here ****

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#28 magisterrex
January 06 2012, 10:02AM
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I hate the FIST movement. That being said, I hate Internet bullies even more.

But I do love satire.

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#30 Harlie
January 06 2012, 10:12AM
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from something I heard on the Team 1260..

"it's not a weight bearing bone!" Tape it up and get out there!!

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#31 Archaeologuy
January 06 2012, 10:13AM
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*Pulls up a chair and takes the Popcorn out of the microwave*

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#32 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 10:21AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I was willing to have some fun with this -- I actually have a sense of humor, but that's a fact you've clearly missed -- and see if I could beat you to the punch, but noooooooooooo, you just knackered that with the tone of your last comment. So, let me change mine as well.

If push comes to shove, and it just did with your last post, I can and I will have the final say over what goes into the first comment -- or any comment -- that appears under an item I write at this website.

You can compare that to Russia and Stalin if you like, but that's the way it's going to be. My call, not yours. Whatever it takes to make it so will be done. That's an absolute lead-pipe cinch guarantee you can take to the bank until I'm not here any longer. Accept it or move along.

Yah we all know you get a kick out of editing what people post, and I do see a purpose to it under the right circumstances. Gregor says make it witty, so we do. You say no fist, so we dont. I dont feel there is a need by you to go over the top and rub in the fact that you'll abuse the powers that the ol'mighty Wanye hath giveth you.

Stop eating cake in front of the damn fat kid!

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#33 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 10:26AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

**** insert soundbite from Team1260 where Robin talking about wearing panties here ****

Exactly.

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#34 Travis Dakin
January 06 2012, 10:32AM
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@Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement

Are you seriously throwing a bitch fit over not being able to "fist"?

Just for clarification.

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#35 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 10:34AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Are you seriously throwing a bitch fit over not being able to "fist"?

Just for clarification.

I'm actually just looking for a little clarification myself.

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#36 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
January 06 2012, 10:41AM
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In any case, sit Whitney the season if that's what it takes. We need him to the the #1 Defenceman we signed, we don't need another half mobile pylon getting in the way.

I don't think we can call it exciting this time, but we sure are on our way for some last placed hockey.

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#37 Harlie
January 06 2012, 10:50AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

*Pulls up a chair and takes the Popcorn out of the microwave*

[IMG]http://imgur.com/tCp90.gif[/IMG]

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#38 Harlie
January 06 2012, 10:51AM
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sorry..maybe this'll work

http://www.pimpmyspace.org/comments/code/66269/

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#39 pelhem grenville
January 06 2012, 11:08AM
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...may i wonder out loud Robin?

never worked with you you came in as i was on my way out ... how did you get along with copy editors that edited your copy when you were @ the papers?

did they ever tell you what you tell us ?

the iron fist thing?

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#40 Rama Lama
January 06 2012, 11:09AM
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It seems that the concensus is the season is done........so let's start auditioning our AHL talent and give them some experience.

I agree with most of the comments supporting Whiteny to take as much time as necessary and rehab for next year........if he comes around bonus.

Petry and Potter have stepped up and are playing good hockey, especially Petry.........this guy needs to gain about 10 to 15 lbs and he will make us forget about Whitney. He is slowly figuring out the NHL game which is incredible considering he is two years removed from NNCA hockey.

We also have Fedun as a potential top four defenseman ........he showed great poise and puck moving skills for the limited preseason games that he played.

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#41 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 06 2012, 11:25AM
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I would only be curious about strength conditioning and whether playing would help in that regard. It certainly sounds like it's doing more harm than good... but I've definitely heard from carpal tunnel types that strengthening the muscle around the tendons helps... although I assume you can do that off the ice.

At any rate, it's good that they are sitting him out to reevaluate. But kinda scary that they didn't reach that conclusion earlier. What if he seriously harmed his return to form by playing in those games? I hope that is not the case.

Regardless, he's looked bad, not terrible, but bad. So he wasn't helping the team and clearly the team is beyond helping at this point (I know that is a bit of a pessimism pete statement but let's be honest the season is pooched)... so I'd say sit him unless his prognosis turns around in a major way and sit him for as long as it takes. There is a lot of time between now and training camp for him to heal... The Oilers should make sure he does.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 06 2012, 11:32AM
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@Brownlee

any word on Barker? has he started to skate with the team again? I don't expect much out of his play... but more than some of these call-ups.

Is it too early to ask about Fedun? I have no idea the recovery time on that kind of fracture, but I'd be curious to know if he was walking, running, skating again yet.

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#43 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 06 2012, 11:42AM
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That high sticking major taken on Taylor Hall last night, hope that somm-beach gets 4 games for that. It sure looked to me like he kept up/even increased the velocity while levelling that stick towards Taylor's head.

Give that thug 4 or 5 games for that.

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#44 Oilerbill
January 06 2012, 11:52AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

When Lowe was at the Helm this team always seemed to have somebody on defense that could get the job done.

At this rate I'm willing to accept a return from Janne Niinimaa

We have enough shots blocked... don't know if I can stand seeing Spaz shoot them 15 feet wide again.

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#45 VK63
January 06 2012, 12:19PM
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Kinda sad for Whitney.. he actually seems to give a rats as*.. a novelty in itself.

The argument presented at one point was Whitney at less than 100% was a better option than what was currently available for that spot. HOWEVER.. that was in the bygone days of a month or so ago when there existed a faint glimmer of hope for this team in the "legit" part of the western conference standings.

NOW

Not so much.

So the question that begs to be asked is, if Whitney comes back, to what end? I get that his contractual obligation is, if you can play you should,( Smytty style). BUT. He has been absolutely awful in the "suck it up buttercup" attempt.

What remains to be resolved is the save face efforts of Oilers management. At what point do the excuses come out as to WHY the efforts and roster failed, and contiguous to that point... how much of those failings will be tied to the "Ryan Whitney our best defenseman" was hurt all year excuse. If thats the plan.... I say shelf him because him playing wounded undermines the "best defenseman" argument.

Although 27 for the world juniors had a nightmare of a game vs the Russians.... he looks by all accounts to be a healthy Ryan Whitney in the making. Its a start (again) to the rebuild that shows promise but is after all a very long way from anywhere legit.

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#46 magisterrex
January 06 2012, 12:20PM
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I wonder about Barker's injury. I wonder if it's an actual ankle injury or if the man is getting treatment for something else. The whole thing was handled with such secrecy and with no updates, that it leads to speculation. He wouldn't be the first NHL player to go down the wrong rabbit hole and need help to get out.

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#47 Crash
January 06 2012, 12:29PM
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OilerLand wrote:

Why can't all these injuries happen to teams that we hate like the Flames or Canucks?? seriously if none of our players were injured we'd probably be in the playoff conversation right now instead of the Nail v. Dumba conversation.

Welp, see you in 2013.

Well to be fair they do seem to be happening a bit to the Flames....they have been without their best d-man (Giordano) for a good stretch now as well as forwards Alex Tanguay & David Moss as well as a couple of other d-men.

Granted they don't seem to get hit with as many injuries to their big time players as the Oilers do but they have been hit.

Funny though that they would struggle so badly with just a few injuries...I mean they did add that ~ top notch depth d-man Scott Hannan ~ to their team and yet it doesn't seem to be vaulting them any closer to being a playoff team, nor any closer to being a good defensive hockey club.

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#48 vetinari
January 06 2012, 12:38PM
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Whitney and the team need to put his recovery first, and frankly, the team is not going to be playing any meaningful games (aside from developing the newbies) until this October. Get well and speedy recovery Ryan!

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#49 book¡e
January 06 2012, 12:38PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

@Brownlee

any word on Barker? has he started to skate with the team again? I don't expect much out of his play... but more than some of these call-ups.

Is it too early to ask about Fedun? I have no idea the recovery time on that kind of fracture, but I'd be curious to know if he was walking, running, skating again yet.

My understanding is that Fedun was a hopeful for next years training camp.

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#50 RexLibris
January 06 2012, 12:50PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

NO CIGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's what's missing! Robin, a nice stogie in your mouth in that photo would push it right over the top. Kind of like seeing Sather with his trademark cigar while sitting in the stands. It made the man. (I wonder if Sather has lobbied Bettman to make the draft, or at least the Rangers' table, a smoking zone?)

Anyway, aside from getting a little rust off, I don't see any advantage to pushing Whitney to play for the rest of this season. I understand he wants to, of course. But if a doctors says rest it, and the team has one foot in the outhouse already, what is there to gain aside from a marginal improvement (and the associated drop in draft rankings) and risk of further injury? Whitney may become our version of Sami Salo, and oft-injured, but game-changing defenceman who brings so much to the table that you just sit out the injuries patiently. But he does exemplify the kind of attitude that I believe this team is trying to enact.

As for the draft, I don't see us getting 1st overall again. Columbus and Anaheim already have a pretty good head start in the sNail Race. But I'll be curious to hear the scout's musings on Grigorenko, Dumba, Reinhart, Murray, O'Rielly, Forsberg, and even Galchenyuk. If the Oilers were to acquire another 1st round pick via trade then walking away from day one with two of any of those mentioned would be a pretty darn good day of hunting.

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