Concern, optimism

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Jarret Stoll was arguably the Edmonton Oilers' best player this season.

But when a concussion put an end to his year, it not only began the Oilers' downward spiral, it also left his future in doubt.

"I'm highly concerned. It's been really unusual that he would be out as long as he has," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He's a guy that plays a huge role on our hockey club. There's nothing he can't do in the game.

"We're hopeful and optimistic that he's going to make a complete recovery for next year, but he's still in the situation where he has symptoms and we're concerned."

Stoll, 24, suffered a pair of concussions in a two-week span which eventually cost him the rest of the season.

His last game with the Oilers was on Feb. 1, yet he still finished fourth in team scoring with 13 goals and 26 assists in 51 games. He killed penalties, won faceoffs and manned the point on the power play.

"I'm not too worried," Stoll said. "I've heard grumblings that it might be career-ending, but that's not in my head at all. That's not the way I'm thinking.

"I've been progressing nicely over the last two weeks and I plan to keep resting until about May 1st, then meet with the doctors."

It was tough for Stoll to see the season unravel. Especially since there wasn't anything he could do about it.

"Everything happened all at once," Stoll said. "When the injuries happened, they came in bunches and it was definitely a blow to our team. It showed on the ice. After the (Ryan Smyth) trade, we weren't the same team.

"Everybody has to re-commit to our game. A lot of us had some off years. You can give all the excuses we want, but in the end we didn't get it done."


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