SUN Hockey Pool

Jussi gets a bad break

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers don't drop the puck for the start of training camp for another week, but their goaltending situation has already taken a significant turn - for the worse.

Jussi Markkanen, expected to start the 2005-06 season in tandem with Ty Conklin, fractured his left collarbone during a game in Finland Aug. 30 and is expected to miss training camp and the majority, if not all, of the Oilers eight pre-season games.

"We're going to X-ray him again Monday and we'll know more about his status," Oilers athletic therapist Ken Lowe said yesterday. "He won't be ready for camp. Will he be ready for the season? That's a month away.

"There's not much he can do right now. It's a broken collarbone. That's got to heal properly. It's very difficult to say at this point because the injury is only a week old."

HIT BY A SHOT

Markkanen, 30, who inked a two-year deal with the Oilers Aug. 5, sustained a non-displaced fracture when hit by a shot. The break won't require surgery, but Markkanen, in town and under the care of team medical staff, will be stuck in the training room instead of on the ice when camp opens next Tuesday.

Markkanen, coming off a season in which he saw action in 54 games with Lada Togliatti during the NHL lockout and led the Russian Hockey League with a 1.20 goals-against average and registered 11 shutouts, was being counted on to push Conklin for the starting job this season.

The Finnish stopper had a 2-2-2 record with a 1.83 GAA and a .934 saves percentage in his second stint with the Oilers after being acquired from the New York Rangers with Petr Nedved on March 3, 2004.

"With those things, it becomes pain tolerance," said GM Kevin Lowe. "The bone will heal in three or four weeks. To be safe, you maybe tack on another week or two. With anybody, it's pain tolerance."

It's too soon to know if Markkanen will be ready for the season opener Oct. 5 against Colorado. What is a certainty is that rookies Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk will get a longer look behind Conklin while Markkanen is on the shelf. The Oilers will also have Mike Morrison, who is expected to sign a contract this week, in camp.

As of today, indications are Lowe isn't in the market for a goaltender to replace Markkanen.

MORE OF A LOOK

"We're going to monitor it," Lowe said. "We think he'll be ready, but it opens the door for Deslauriers. He's going to get more of a look than he probably would have."


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