Oilers' Whitney on second comeback

Ryan Whitney during the Edmonton Oilers practice at Rexall Place in Edmonton. (PERRY MAH/QMI AGENCY)

Ryan Whitney during the Edmonton Oilers practice at Rexall Place in Edmonton. (PERRY MAH/QMI AGENCY)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:06 PM ET

Ryan Whitney is back, and before he even put a blade on the ice in Minnesota he said what everyone else is thinking:

“Hopefully I stay in this time, that’s the goal,” said the frustrated defenceman, who had a brilliant first 35 games in Edmonton last season but has barely played a lick since. “It’s a little sore and it’s going to be like that a long time, but it feels good out there.”

Whitney missed the last half of last season and the first four games of this season while recovering from ankle surgery, returned for four games and hurt his knee. He’s been out since Oct 25.

Cue the comeback, Part II.

“It’s a new start for me,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have to go through it again, not playing that much to start, and get back into game shape. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’m in there for good and ready to play (his usual big minutes).”

With everyone else in the league at or near mid-season form, it’s going to be harder to jump back in now than it was in early October. The game is a little bit faster and the players a little bit sharper.

“Teams are at their weakest at the beginning of the year,” agreed Whitney. “I’m sure it might be a little tougher than the last time, but the last time I hadn’t played in close to nine months, this time it’s only a month.”

Trying to stay healthy is the goal, but it’s not really something a player can work at. It either happens or it doesn’t.

“You just go out and feel healthy and play the game,” he said. “When you start trying not to get hurt is when you get hurt. You can’t be tentative, you have to be confident. When you start looking out for it, that can be trouble.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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