Life without Vinny?

JASON HILLS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The Edmonton Oil Kings knew they would be without Tomas Vincour for an extended period of time as he is expected to make the Czech Republic's World Junior roster.

They didn't know they may have seen the last of him until after the tournament is over.

In Saturday's 5-3 loss against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Vincour was hit from behind and fell head-first into the boards by Lethbridge forward Carter Bancks and didn't return.

He won't be in the lineup tonight against Swift Current, and he is listed as questionable for the Oil Kings final three games before the Christmas break.

"I couldn't stand up after the hit, because I was so dizzy. I went back to the dressing room, and I knew I wouldn't be able to come back; I couldn't stand up because my head was spinning," said Vincour after the Oil Kings team meeting yesterday.

"It happens, it can happen during practice, it can happen anywhere. I am going to do everything I can do, and I want to be ready for Friday."

With his departure for the Czech Republic World Junior training camp quickly approaching, Vincour was afraid of what the initial prognosis may be.

"It's been my goal to play at the World Junior camp and I don't want to miss it," said Vincour.

"I have been feeling better each day since the hit, and I feel like there is a good chance I will be able to play on Friday."

Life without Vinny may just be for one game before he heads to the World Junior camp next week.

With Vincour out of the lineup, it's forced Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau to shift his line combinations around.

He's moved leading goal scorer Brett Breitkreuz into Vincour's spot on the top line with Brent Raedeke and Jeff Lee.

Robin Soudek, who's seen his ice-time gain steam the past few weeks will move into Breitkreuz's second line right wing spot for the time being.

"It's day-to-day right now, but obviously it's tough not having Vinny (Vincour) in there," said Pleau."We are hoping it's not long-term, we aren't planning on it (being that way), and Vinny's not either, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Pleau thinks the changes to the Oil Kings top two lines won't hinder their strong play in recent weeks. It will all come down to whether or not they can quickly form some chemistry.

"A lot of things Vinny can bring, Kreuzer (Breitkreuz) can bring. He's a big guy, he can get on the body, he can skate and he can get pucks to the net," said Pleau in regards to Breitkreuz who leads the Oil Kings with 16 goals and sits second on the team with 33 points.

Moving Soudek onto the Oil Kings second line, acts as a promotion for the 17-year-old gritty forward from the Czech Republic, who is gaining more confidence as the season progresses.

"He's been playing hard, and he's been going to the net," said Pleau. "The goal he had the other night when we pulled the goalie was a perfect example of him battling in a tough area and having the good hands to make the play."

Bancks's hit on Vincour came midway through the first period Saturday night. Vincour was behind the Oil Kings net on the forecheck before Bancks sent him flying into the boards.

He received a two-minute minor for boarding.

"Vinny was in a vulnerable position, and Bancks hit him. Now do I think Bancks went in there to hurt him? No," said Pleau.

"But the whole thing now is you've got to recognize when a guy is in a vulnerable position and you can't take advantage of that, and I think he did."

JUST NOTES: After missing the past eight games with an undisclosed injury, Oil Kings D Henrik Tervonen will make his return to the lineup.


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