It’s been a tough second half of the season for Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The centreman was sidelined in January after a blocked shot injured his hand in a game against the Florida Panthers. Activated March 11, Nugent-Hopkins played six games before taking an unexpected hit in the head in a collision with Arizona Coyotes defenceman Connor Murphy on March 22.
“We just were kind of both going for the puck there,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who was forced to leave the game that night and diagnosed with a concussion that once again removed him from the lineup.
“[Murphy’s] a lot bigger of a guy than me so his shoulder just kind of — I haven’t even actually seen the replay — but from what I remember it got me right in the head. It wasn’t a dirty play or anything, it was just the way it worked out. Unfortunately I took the brunt of it.”
Though a return is unknown before the end of the season, Nugent-Hopkins said he hopes to return before the end and was happy getting in a good practice with the team today.
“I don’t know what the plan is exactly here but it was good to be back out there practicing with the guys,” he said. “Since I broke my hand I really haven’t had too many practices, it’s kind of go, go, go, so definitely nice to get a good one under my belt there.”
Oilers defenceman Adam Pardy has continued to skate with the team for practices since sustaining a hand injury in early March.
“I think it was the [Philadelphia] game. But I don’t think it was too bad, I think it just progressively got worse,” said Pardy.
The 6-foot-4, 227-pound blueliner continued to play until he was no longer able to, his last game coming at home against the San Jose Sharks on March 8.
“It feels pretty good. Every day, every week it gets a little better,” he said, expressing his hopes to get some more playing time and return to the lineup on Saturday versus Calgary.
Claimed via waivers from the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 29, the big-bodied blueliner was looking forward to a fresh start and was quick to make an impact with Edmonton before he was sidelined with his hand injury, playing six games and recording a pair of assists.
“It’s tough, you get a lot of minutes and you get on a little run — after the year in Winnipeg — that was important that I would be able to play minutes consistently,” said Pardy, taking the situation in stride. “So to have it shut down pretty quickly was not that much fun. But you’ve got to deal with the things that come your way.”
It’s been over a month since Oilers defenceman Eric Gryba sustained a knee injury in a home game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“My foot got caught in the post and someone fell on me and that was it,” he said.
Since sustaining the injury, the 6-foot-4, 228-pound blueliner has been on the mend, working on getting his strength back, with hopes to return to the lineup before the season wraps up.
“I’m starting to feel better every day,” said Gryba. “It’s nice to get out and have some game-like situations. I’m not sure when I’m back. My goal is definitely to be back by the end of the season.”
On Saturday the Oilers will play host to the Calgary Flames for one last Battle of Alberta bout.
“If it’s feeling good enough and I’m confident then I’ll play Saturday,” said Gryba, who continued to say that although he’d like to play this weekend, what’s more important is ensuring his knee can withstand the return.
“Just making sure that I’m healthy and strong enough and I’m going to be able to go out there and help the team.”
The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place.
Stay tuned for more updates.
WATCH: Farewell Rexall Place Series
The Oilers will host the Vancouver Canucks on April 6 for their final home game in Rexall Place, before moving downtown to Rogers Place in the fall. The post-game farewell ceremony will feature more than 100 Oilers alumni in attendance. Each day leading up to that game we’ll announce five alumni who are scheduled to attend.
Dave Semenko won two Stanley Cups with the Oilers, but he also served the important and well-respected title of Wayne Gretzky’s bodyguard. He spent just over seven seasons in Edmonton and provided his best post-season performance during the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship run. He had five goals and five assists in 19 games that 1984 post-season. He fought 70-plus times in his NHL career and played 575 NHL games, almost all for the orange and blue.
Pat Hughes spent four full seasons and part of another with the Oilers from 1981-1985. He once set an NHL record by scoring two shorthanded goals 25 seconds apart. His four years with the Oilers were the best of his career, as he surpassed the 20-goal mark three times. He helped the Oilers win two Stanley Cups during his stay in Edmonton. Hughes played 573 career NHL games and 71 more in the post-season.
Jason Strudwick finished his NHL career, which spanned more than 670 games, in his hometown of Edmonton. He closed out his career with three seasons with the Oilers (2008-2010). Strudwick also played games for the Islanders, Canucks, Blackhawks and Rangers, as well as had stints in Europe. The hard-working, versatile player has made a career after hockey as a radio analyst and now television host in Edmonton.
Chris Josephcame to Edmonton from Pittsburgh as part of the Paul Coffey trade in 1987. The defenceman played parts of six seasons with Edmonton and their affiliate in Cape Breton. He was a big part in the team’s 1992 Conference Final appearance. Joseph enjoyed a long professional career, which began in the 1987-88 season and ended with a stint in the Italian league during the 2005-06 campaign. He played more than 500 career NHL games for the Oilers, Lightning, Penguins, Flyers, Canucks, Coyotes and Thrashers.
Ian Herbers is currently an assistant coach with the Oilers. The former defenceman, a native of Jasper, AB, enjoyed a long and fruitful career with the University of Alberta. That playing career resulted in a chance to join the Oilers. He played mostly with their AHL affiliate in Cape Breton, but laced up for 22 NHL games with the parent club during the 1993-94 season. Herbers left the ice for the bench and became a coach in the AHL, first as an assistant in 2003-04. He wound up taking the head coach job at the U of A, leading his alma mater to two CIS national titles in three seasons at the helm.
BLOGS & FEATURES
- FAREWELL REXALL | Staff Memories
- RAW | Griffin Reinhart
- RAW | Leon Draisaitl
- RAW | Mark Letestu
- FAREWELL REXALL | Barrie Stafford
- FAREWELL REXALL | Ken Lowe
- FAREWELL REXALL | Lyle "Sparky"Kulchisky
- FAREWELL REXALL | Chris Lewis
- FAREWELL REXALL | George Waslenchuk
WATCH: Farewell Rexall Place Series
April 6 is right around the corner as the Oilers close in on closing out their stay at Rexall Place. The Oilers will host Vancouver for their final home game in the building, before moving downtown to Rogers Place in the fall. The post-game farewell ceremony will feature more than 100 Oilers alumni in attendance. Each day leading up to that game, we’ll announce five alumni who are scheduled to attend. Here are today’s five.
Al Hamilton played eight seasons for the Oilers back in the WHA days, beginning in 1972 with the Alberta Oilers. Hamilton was named to the WHA First All-Star Team in 1978. His career in the WHA spanned 455 regular season games, in which the defenceman racked up 311 points (53-258-311). He ranks among the top 40 in all-time WHA scoring leaders. Hamilton also played 31 NHL games for the Oilers in 1979-80, scoring 19 points. Before turning pro, Hamilton helped the Edmonton Oil Kings capture the 1966 Memorial Cup championship. His number (3) was retired by the Oilers franchise in 1980 and a banner was raised in his honour in 2001.
Ron Low played just a few seasons for the Oilers, but the goalie made his mark on the team as a long-time coach in the system. Low played 67 NHL games for Edmonton. After leaving the ice and heading to the bench, Low joined the AHL Nova Scotia Oilers as head coach in 1987, then coached the Cape Breton Oilers the next season. He joined the NHL club as an assistant in 1989-90, and held that distinction until he was promoted during the 1994-95 season. Low replaced George Burnett as the Oilers coach and managed to lead the team to the playoffs in three of his five years at the helm.
Louie DeBrusk joined the Oilers by way of New York as a piece of the Mark Messier trade in 1991. The enforcer spent six years with the Oilers and racked up 797 penalty minutes with the club. DeBrusk fought more than 100 times during his NHL career, which lasted 401 regular season games and 15 post-season appearances. Following his playing career, DeBrusk became a colour analyst for the Coyotes radio broadcasts. In 2008, he transitioned to television and joined the Sportsnet broadcasts of Oilers games. He now serves as a Sportsnet hockey analyst.
Scott Ferguson, a Camrose, AB native, signed with the Oilers as an undrafted free agent in 1994. His path through the Oilers organization was unique. He was traded from the Oilers to Ottawa in 1998, but returned to Edmonton a few season later. After 20 games for the Oil in the 2000-01 season, Ferguson became a regular blueliner for the club. He played exclusively in the NHL for Edmonton from 2001-2004, accumulating 21 points in 218 total games.
Tom Roulston played one game for the Edmonton Oil Kings during the 1975-76 season. He found his way back to the city during the 1980-81 season as a member of the Oilers. He played 11 NHL games that season and went on to play a 137 of his 195 career NHL games for the Oilers. His career high in points came with the Oilers (19-21-40) in 1982-83. Roulston finished his NHL career in Pittsburgh.
The Edmonton chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) has named forward Matt Hendricks as the Edmonton Oilers nominee for the 2016 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Masterton Trophy, awarded since the 1967-68 season, is given annually to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey". The PHWA chapters from all 30 NHL teams nominate one player from the team they cover and the winner of the award is selected by a poll among the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season schedule.
Hendricks, 34, is in his 8th NHL season and his 3rd season with the Oilers. He has registered 12 points (5G, 7A) and a plus three rating in 64 games this season and also leads the team in hits (161), as well as leads all Oilers forwards in blocked shots (68).
The 6’0”, 207-pound forward was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 5th round, 131st overall in the 2000 NHL Draft. He has appeared in 475 career NHL games, accumulating 93 points (45G, 48A) and 621 penalty minutes. He has also played in 34 playoff games, posting two points (1G, 1A) and 10 penalty minutes.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation in conjunction with Cenovus, have teamed up with Matt and Kim Hendricks to create ‘Hendricks’ Heroes’, a program to recognize and honour men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Matt and Kim Hendricks host two members of the military at 13 games throughout the 2015-16 season, where the guests are provided with two tickets, a meet and greet with Matt along with two personally signed Oilers jerseys, as well as dinner hosted by Kim.
The nomination marks the fourth time in Hendricks’ career and the second straight year where he has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Blaine, Minnesota native was previously nominated by the Colorado Avalanche (2009-10), Washington Capitals (2010-11) and Edmonton Oilers (2014-15).
The countdown is on to April 6, when the Oilers host Vancouver for the team’s final game at Rexall Place. The post-game farewell ceremony will feature 100+ Oilers alumni in attendance. Each day leading up to the game, we’ll announce five Oilers alumni who are scheduled to attend. Here are today’s five.
Dave Lumley was drafted in 1974 by the Canadiens and traded to the Oilers in 1979. He went on to play eight seasons with Edmonton recording 98 goals and adding 160 assists for 258 points in 437 games, as well as 14 points in 61 career Oilers post-season games. His show-stopping year came in the 1981-82 season when he went on a 12-game goal-scoring streak, just four shy of the NHL record, in which he scored 15 goals. “Lummer" captured two Stanley Cups with the Oilers.
Blair “BJ” MacDonald played in five NHL seasons, two of which were spent with the Oilers. His best year came right after the WHA-NHL merger for the 1979-80 season, as he would finish the campaign with 46 goals and 48 assists for 94 points, placing 10th in the league. MacDonald was also selected to represent the Oilers at the 1980 NHL All-Star Game, and served as team captain for 51 games during 1980-81.
Greg Hawgood played in 474 NHL games, recording 60 goals and 164 assists for 224 points. During his time in the NHL, the Edmonton native played three seasons with his hometown Oilers, recording seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points in 55 games.
Mike Krushelnyski joined the Oilers for the 1984-85 season and was part of three Stanley Cup titles in 1985, 1987 and 1988. In an NHL career of 897 games, Krushelnyski posted 569 points (241G, 328A); his single best season was his first year with Edmonton, in which he scored 43 goals and 88 points, often playing as a winger on a line with Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri.
Darcy Hordichuk played in 542 NHL games, recording 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points. Hordichuk joined the Oilers late in his career for the 2011-12 season, and parts of the following campaign, recording one goal and two assists for three points in 43 games. He also accumulated 1,140 career penalty minutes, regarded as one of the toughest fighters in the NHL, despite being smaller (6-foot-1, 212 lbs.) than most of his heavyweight opponents.
The final game in Rexall Place history on Wednesday, April 6 and post-game farewell ceremony will feature 100+ Oilers alumni in attendance. So far we’ve announced 20 alumni and each day leading up to the game, we’ll announce five more who are scheduled to attend.
Craig Simpson was acquired by the Oilers in 1987 as part of a six-man trade that involved Paul Coffey heading to Pittsburgh and saw his career blossom that same season. Simpson had 56 goals in 1987-88, including 43 goals in 59 games as an Oiler. He added 13 more in 19 games in the playoffs to help lift the Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup. In 419 games as an Oiler, Simpson had 185 goals and 365 points but more importantly had 36 goals and 68 points in 67 post-season contests, helping the Oilers to Cup victories in 1988 and 1990.
Ron Chipperfield was the first captain in Oilers history having played two seasons in the WHA and one in the NHL. In 202 games, Chipperfield had 83 goals and 191 points as an Oiler. His best performance was in the final WHA season when he had 32 goals and 69 points in 55 games and added nine goals and 19 points in 13 playoff games to help lead the Oilers to the Avco Cup Final.
Fredrik Olausson is perhaps best known for his time with the Winnipeg Jets, battling against the Oilers in a handful of playoff series in the 1980s but he also suited up in Edmonton for three seasons from 1993-94 through 1995-96. In 108 games as an Oiler, Olausson had nine goals and 44 points. In his entire NHL career, he played 1022 games with 147 goals and 581 points.
Igor Kravchuk quarterbacked the Oilers power play for parts of four seasons from 1992-93 through 1995-96 netting 88 points and 27 goals in 160 games. Kravchuk played with six NHL teams throughout his 12-season career and had 64 goals and 274 points in 699 games. He added six goals and 21 points in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Georges Laraque was selected by the Oilers in the second round, 31st overall, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Laraque played 490 games in Edmonton with 43 goals, 111 points and 826 penalty minutes. Known for his jubilant goal celebrations and one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL, Laraque was a huge fan favourite during his eight seasons in Oil Country.