Nugent-Hopkins a keeper for Oilers
Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be on the flight to Denver when the Oilers travel to play the Avalanche on Friday. (QMI Agency file)
EDMONTON - Five goals in eight games, leads the team in scoring, out there late in the third period of a one-goal game against the Sedins … and reporters are STILL asking if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is going back to Red Deer.
What’s the next question? Is Taylor Hall going down to Oklahoma City?
Anybody wondering why the Oilers haven’t made an official announcement hasn’t been watching the games because Nugent-Hopkins has been announcing it himself every time he steps on the ice.
Tom Renney has seen enough of his 18-year-old rookie, who hits the nine-game mark Thursday against Washington and will board a plane to Denver for his 10th on Friday against the Avalanche, to know he can line him up against anybody.
Even the Sedins. Even Alex Ovechkin.
“I know what they have for an attack game, I’m pretty familiar with Washington,” said the former Rangers coach. “And from what I saw last game (against Vancouver) and glimpses of in previous games, I don’t think I have a problem playing him and his line against anybody.”
The coach is looking forward to another test on Thursday.
“I like playing the big, strong teams because all along that was one of the aspects to see if he could handle it,” said Renney. “This is another opportunity against an opponent like that — 7-0 and a juggernaut offensively — to see A, his ability to play against the heavy lifters and B, to defend what is a pretty good attack.”
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