Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Lisa McRitchie on 09/15/11 at 12:40 PM ET
The talk of the town of late has been the health concerns of defenceman Ryan Whitney and winger Ales Hemsky. Robin Brownlee posted an article on Oilers Nation titled “Hemsky and Whitney: Not Ready Yet.” The title of that piece should say it all. What that of course did was generate a lot of discussion. Whitney has been out since December and Hemsky since March.
Reports during the summer surrounding Hemsky had discussed just how strong and healthy the winger was feeling and that he was excited to being this season feeling the best that he has felt in years. If Hemsky is still not ready to go, that puts prior seasons at lows many fans wouldn’t have thought of.
Whitney has been suffering setbacks; we did after all hear that he had twisted his surgically repaired ankle during skating last month but that he expected to be ready for training camp.
Both players are on the ice with fellow Oilers in Edmonton this week and excited for the opening of training camp this weekend with team physical testing on Friday.
According to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, Whitney is skating with orthotics which he had previously discarded, but this time has decided to work with. Whitney has high arch issues and has now had surgery on both feet, and now an ankle. Orthotics may not be the most comfortable to begin with, but if they can help Whitney stay on his feet, hopefully he can make it work.
These injury woes are of course causing many fans to revisit the trade Hemsky or not issue of the past few years. The fact of the matter right now however, you can’t trade an injured player. All that Tambellini and Oilers fans can do is sit back and hope that these two players have bounce back seasons and regain their value
In other news, there hasn’t been an official announcement, but GM Steve Tambellini has told 630 Ched’s Dan Tencer what he has in mind for Tyler Pitlick. Tencer tweeted “Steve Tambellini confirms that Tyler Pitlick will turn pro this year and not be sent back to Medicine Hat in the WHL.” Oilers fans will have the opportunity to follow Pitlick through Barons coverage and live in person in when the Abbotsfort Heat (The Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate) hosts the Barsons at the Saddledome in February. Of course, only if the Oilers stay healthy enough for Pitlick to play the entire season in the AHL without a call-up.
Pitlick has also seen his share of injuries last season, being sidelined through the Medicine Hat Tiger’s playoff run. The centreman/winger is looking to get back onto the ice as soon as possible and all reports indicate that the Oilers want Pitlick moved back to the centre as that is where they want to develop this prospect. Pitlick was played on the wing last season due to the depth of the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Here’s to hoping for a healthy season for one and all.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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