Oil Kings' Ewanyk ready to return
Oilers' third-round selection in 2010 is set to return from a lengthy shoulder injury
|Travis Ewanyk had a breakout campaign in 2010-11, scoring 16 goals and 27 points (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC).
Hockey players aren't used to that. The sport is a full-bore, give-it-your-all game that's built on intensity throughout its 60-minute war. But to this point in the season, Travis Ewanyk has missed 61 games – 3660 minutes of on-ice development time that's been spent as a spectator, both at home and in Section 118 at Rexall Place.
"It was the labrum in my shoulder," said the soft-spoken 18-year-old, describing the culprit that's kept him out since the start of the season. "The cartilage was torn, so a surgeon had to go in there, completely tear it apart and then put it back together. Really, it was a wear and tear thing. It was happening over time and it was causing my shoulder to slip out during games. It got the point where it would slip out multiple times in a game and I couldn't play any longer with it."
While his shoulder worsened over time, Ewanyk was determined to complete his season, help the Edmonton Oil Kings' post-season quest and to participate in the summer's U-18 tournament in Germany. He did, impressing scouts while playing upwards of 20 minutes a night as one of Canada's most reliable skaters.
With a hobbled and disintegrating shoulder, no less.
"I battled through it and didn't think too much of it," he said with a smirk. "I was hoping that over the summer I'd strengthen it and it would get better, but I came to camp and it didn't happen. It was the same thing and at that point, we decided to get the MRI done and we saw that there really was something wrong."
Surgery was the only option to properly repair the torn labrum, which was earmarked with a six-month recovery period.
"It's gone really well," said the Oilers' third round, 74th overall selection in 2010. "It's been ahead of schedule the whole time, though. My range of motion and getting back on the ice to participate in contact has been accelerated a little bit. It's about a month ahead, and I'm now ready to go. It's game-by-game and day-to-day right now."
"It's about time."
Ewanyk, along with fellow Oilers prospects Kristians Pelss and Martin Gernat, have the unique luxury of playing in the same city and building as their parent club, with close-knit personnel and resources on hand to assist in whatever way possible.
"They've played a huge role [in my rehab]," he said, explaining the Oilers' help this season. "I'm really lucky that, not only is the team local and I can touch base a lot easier than others, but the help they've given in general has been amazing.
"They set me up with all the physio (therapy), and to have the MRI and surgery done during camp, they were a huge help with that, too. The communication they've had has been great. In addition to all that, they continued to give me weekly check-ups with the player development group, so it's been really good."
While at practice, Ewanyk glared longingly at the ice 12 rows up in the stands and during games, his perch in the press box was 200 feet higher than he'd prefer. Five months later, he's back practicing with his team and has been involved in contact drills for over a week.
"It's my third year here, so I wanted to stay being a leader," Ewanyk explained. "It's a big part of my game and being one of the older guys now, I wanted to keep being close with the team, no matter what the circumstances were.
"Other than being out of the ice for the games, I was how I normally would be; around the guys every day and at practice, even when I wasn't skating, I was around the room and watching from the stands. It's been long, at times, but the team's playing well and it's a lot easier to watch when they win."
His return couldn't come at a better time, too. The Oil Kings remain in the No. 1 spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference, collecting 39 wins and 85 points in 61 games. With mid-season acquisitions (such as Tyler Maxwell, Henrik Samuelsson and Cody Corbett) and an already sound base of supreme young talent, the Oil Kings are poised to end strong and embark on a long post-season run.
"Since being out, I've seen it as well as anyone," Ewanyk said. "We've really grown as the year as gone on. I don't think anyone expected us to be playing this well. We've always been at or near the top of the standings and ranked in the CHL's Top 10 pretty much every week. All that has been really good and it's all coming together here. We're excited. And I'm excited to come back and be a part of it all."
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick
Prospect Stats Updated as of Thursday, February 23, 2012.
|20||28||2||3||5||-2||117||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||51||11||21||32||+15||20||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|21||44||22||10||32||8||15||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||40||14||18||32||+7||46||Kootenay ice (WHL)|
|18||-||-||-||-||-||-||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|34||29||9||14||23||+12||27||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|20||41||5||6||11||+2||8||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|21||39||13||12||25||-2||10||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|25||48||4||10||14||+9||21||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|27||51||17||24||41||+21||26||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||6||0||2||2||-3||6||HPK Hameenlinna (sm-liiga)|
|20||34||6||9||15||-13||10||stockton thunder (ECHL)|
|24||13||4||8||12||+3||4||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||40||8||9||17||+15||58||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||52||22||18||40||+31||76||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|19||40||5||6||11||-5||22||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|20||45||14||12||26||-11||18||ilves tampere (sm-liiga)|
|25||49||11||17||28||-8||32||vaxjo hc (SEL)|
|18||49||35||34||69||+23||21||kitchener rangers (OHL)|
|25||50||12||11||23||+8||35||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||32||2||7||9||+7||29||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||52||4||10||14||-4||25||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||19||3||18||21||+14||20||Victoriaville tigers (QMjhl)|
|19||35||3||14||17||12||21||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||60||12||23||42||+24||73||regina pats (wHL)|
|18||49||8||37||45||+34||44||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|18||30||0||0||0||-1||4||farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)|
|19||18||5||10||15||+2||6||regina pats (WHL)|
|22||29||0||1||1||-3||16||Timra ik (seL)|
|18||50||4||18||22||+13||94||vancouver giants (WHL)|
|25||27||4||4||8||+3||19||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||33||1||11||12||+13||72||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||31||1||13||14||0||4||u. of north dakota|
|21||27||2||6||8||+8||41||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||52||34||14||4||2.58||.922||medicine hat tigers (WHL)|
|30||33||21||10||1||1.98||.926||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||9||-||-||-||3.79||.889||Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)|
|20||32||12||15||5||2.44||.927||stockton thunder (echl)|
|20||17||6||5||5||2.59||.900||jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)|