SUN Hockey Pool

Injury bug will be studied

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

With nearly 500 man-games lost to injury this season -- the third time in the last four years they've been gutted by injuries -- the Oilers are determined to figure out why.

"It is a rough game, but we're well beyond any standard from the standpoint of what has happened to us," head coach Pat Quinn said prior to Monday's 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.

"It wasn't just injuries, it was illness as well. That hit us harder than other teams ... ,maybe because we didn't get the vaccine. I don't know.

"This will be part of a study, for sure, to try to establish if there are things that can be done to put us in better sted. But how do you handle getting pushed into the boards face first? You can't stop those things.

"Was is conditioning, was it bad positioning or just plain bad luck? I think we have to have a real serious look at how we got ourselves into this situation."

The Oilers don't employ an enforcer, which some people believe leads to opponents playing them harder.

"I don't necessarily buy that," said Quinn. "But there's that theory out there as well."

Meanwhile, centre Sam Gagner, bothered by a sore knee, seems a long-shot to return to the lineup this season. "He's not even skating, so I don't anticipate it," said Quinn."

While the Oilers might not call up Jordan Eberle from Springfield this season, GM Steve Tambellini says the young scoring sensation is still gaining invaluable experience right now.

"The step is an important one for him and I don't want people to underestimate the value of playing in the American Hockey Legaue," said Tambellini.

"Look at players like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry -- they all spent time there and had success. If Eberle doesn't get called up, there's still great value in that. I believe in those steps."


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