Conklin's back -- now what?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Ty Conklin practised with the Edmonton Oilers yesterday for the first time in nearly a month and will be back in the net shortly.

How shortly depends on how quickly his injured groin comes around, but sorting out the goaltending situation is something high on Craig MacTavish's to-do list.

"We're in no hurry to do anything with him until he's 100% healthy," said MacTavish. "Then we'll do something because I don't want three goalies around."

After wrestling with his confidence early in the season, Conklin went to the Hamilton Bulldogs for a conditioning stint on Oct. 24, played three games and pulled his groin. Then the Oilers left on a two-week road trip, leaving him back in Edmonton to skate with Kelly Buchberger. Now the Oilers are back in town and Conklin's groin is well enough to practise, so he and the Oilers' crease are about to be reunited.

"He's been there and done that," MacTavish said when asked if another AHL conditioning stint is in the cards. "We'll analyze where he's at in practice, where his health is at, and give him a game."

In his absence, Jussi Markkanen and then Mike Morrison played solidly -- Edmonton's goals-against average is 15th in the NHL -- but Conklin is more focused on healing than where he sits in the goaltending pecking order.

"I'm just trying to get better right now, that's all I'm worried about," he said, adding it had been nagging at him all year before it finally tore in Hamilton.

"It just kept getting worse and worse in a relatively short span.

"Once I hurt it I was having a hard time getting up off the ice.

"It feels pretty good now, but I don't want it to become one of those things where it's good for a couple of games and all of a sudden it's bothering me again."


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