SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers suffer major blow

Edmonton Oilers' Ethan Moreau's suffered an injury to his shoulder following a fight with Detroit...

Edmonton Oilers' Ethan Moreau's suffered an injury to his shoulder following a fight with Detroit Red Wings' Danny Markov in Edmonton on Saturday. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:18 PM ET

Ethan Moreau's dislocated right shoulder is connected directly to the heart of the Edmonton Oilers. That's what really hurts.

The Oilers are going to have to get along without Moreau, injured in the final minute of Saturday's 3-1 win over Detroit in an altercation with Danny Markov. What's worse, we're not talking for a game or two.

While it'll take a week before tests show the extent of the injury, the look in Moreau's eyes yesterday said he'll be out awhile. Weeks, not days. Longer if he needs surgery.

TOUGH TO REPLACE HIM

When a guy like Moreau goes down, the real test of a team isn't about how it replaces his ice time, goals and assists or knack for penalty killing. It's about replacing the character lost.

You can't draw that up on the chalkboard.

"It's significant, definitively," said Moreau, asked how bad the injury is. "I don't really know what the options are right now. I don't know ... it's not very good."

Moreau, 31, was injured when he went after Markov for a wicked open-ice hit on Jarret Stoll. It was a clean hit that knocked Stoll silly. The kind of hit that makes highlight reels.

It's a hit players like Moreau don't allow to go unanswered when delivered to a teammate. So Moreau came calling on Markov, but his shoulder popped out when he threw a gloved punch. It stayed that way until he coaxed it back into the socket in the dressing room.

"That's right out of one of those football movies," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "You knew it was going to one of a couple guys who'd try to get even. Whether it was Ethan or Steve (Staios). It was fairly predictable. You knew something was coming."

Moreau's been through this before. He had a chronic problem with dislocations of his left shoulder before undergoing surgery to repair the problem several years ago. He's got a good sense of how bad this one is. He doesn't need an MRI to tell him that.

"It's disappointing, but it comes with the territory," Moreau said. "I realize with the way that I play there are going to be injuries involved with the physical style of play. Setbacks are tough to take, but that's the job description."

BEST PENALTY KILLER

In Moreau, the Oilers lose their best penalty killer and a forward who eats up 15 quality minutes of ice time a night. They lose a player who didn't have to go after Markov but did. A guy who doesn't have to block shots or put in extra work after practice, but does.

"Any time you lose a guy to injury it hurts," said Stoll, showing no ill-effects from the hit yesterday. "Especially Ethan. He's the heart and soul of this team, just like four or five other guys. He does everything out there. He works hard. He sets the tone most nights.

"He really didn't have to do that ... that's just the kind of guy he is. It shows his character."

With Moreau out, expect Alex Mikhnov to draw in against Phoenix tonight.

"We're going to miss him," said MacTavish, who had to get along without Moreau last season when he sprained his ankle playing basketball. "You really understand a guy's importance when he's out of the lineup."

We know the stuff Moreau is made of. We'll find out about his teammates soon enough.


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