EDMONTON - If Oilers management has been pressuring players to play while injured, as Sheldon Souray alleged earlier this week, Pat Quinn says they’re not doing a very good job of it.
“With 531 man games (lost to injury),” grinned the head coach. “You know that we didn’t force anybody to play.”
But seriously, folks...
“People play hurt in this business, it’s a tough business, but it’s always the player's call whether they go out or not,” continued Quinn. “This organization, certainly in my time, and I know the people involved here, are not people who would order them to go and play if they were in (injured).
“Legally it’s dumb, secondly, I as a coach don’t want a guy in the lineup wearing the sweater who is in a position to let his teammates down because he is not physically or mentally ready to go.”
One by one, Oilers veteran after Oilers veteran said they’ve never been urged to come back before they were ready.
“No, it’s always up to the player whenever you come back from an injury,” said Moreau, adding any pressure to come back is self-induced. “It’s a tough business, we get paid a lot of money to do what we do, so there’s always pressure to come back.”
“I haven’t felt any pressure to play at all,” said Fernando Pisani, who’s missed games with colitis, a bad back and a broken ankle in the last three years. “When I was sick they let me have my own timeline and whenever I was healthy I came back and played.”
Horcoff, dogged by shoulder problems, was never hurried, either.
“It’s the player’s choice,” he said. “It is a business and they’re going to want their best players to be on the ice, but, for me personally, I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to. Whenever you’re ready to play, you come back and play.”