SUN Hockey Pool

Injuries taking toll on Oilers

Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Smyth (R) stretches out to reach the puck as he is pressured by Dallas Stars'...

Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Smyth (R) stretches out to reach the puck as he is pressured by Dallas Stars' Nicklas Grossman (L) during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Dallas, Texas January 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Tim Sharp)

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:23 PM ET

DALLAS - Anton Lander didn’t feel well after the Edmonton Oilers game against the Dallas Stars, but it had nothing to do with the hit he took from Steve Ott.

The Oilers forward was upset his team lost again, but was not showing any ill effects of the headshot he took from the Stars winger.

“My head is not a problem,” Lander said. “I saw him at the last second but it was too late to do something about it. It was great to have (Josh) Green step up for me, it was great to see.”

Ott drilled Lander in the corner with his shoulder making full impact with Lander’s head. Ott received a two-minute checking-to-the-head penalty on the play. He then took on Green in an ensuing fight.

“I think he should be getting a rest,” said head coach Tom Renney, in reference to a possible suspension.

Renney, however, may not want to campaign too loud, as later in the contest, Andy Sutton caught Loui Eriksson with his head down behind the Oilers net on a play that did not result in a penalty.

It was a hit Sutton was not concerned with, despite having been suspended twice already this season.

“I can’t play the game thinking about it to this degree,” Sutton said. “It’s reactionary.”

Injury woes

The injuries are starting to mount again as the Oilers lost another player on what turned out to be a hazardous road trip.

Jordan Eberle was the latest casualty on a trip that had already seen the Oilers lose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tom Gilbert.

“It’s hard to figure out why that is,” said centre Sam Gagner. “Maybe part of it has to do with the morale, it gets down when you lose a bit.

“I don’t know, it’s tough. But you have to look at teams like Pittsburgh, they’re missing the best player in the world for the entire year and they get the job done.”

Heading into Saturday, the Oilers had lost 129-man games to injury this season. They lost 279 last year.

“They’ve been weird injuries and it’s been like that ever since I got here to be honest,” said winger Taylor Hall. “Those are tough to take. Personally, being hurt this year, being hurt last year, being out of the lineup really sucks, to see your team playing is the worse part. We need those guys back as soon as possible, but in the meantime we’re going to have to make due without and play as hard as we can.”

Road kill

The Oilers were hoping to try and get their season back on track with a successful road trip, but having only been able to win one of seven consecutive games away from Rexall Place, the club is worse off than when they left.

“I’m not doubting anybody’s work habits. I’m not doubting our ability to want to win. I’m not doubting our game plan and our ability to execute it,” said Renney.

“At the end of the day it’s a long trip and we weren’t able to finish teams off the way we wanted to. We’re closer to doing that than maybe we were in years past, but we’re still far enough away where it doesn’t get you any points, so we can’t kid ourselves either.”

Call for consistency

Renney was not happy about having the Stars go-ahead goal being allowed to stand in the third period with Adam Burish lying on top of his goaltender. Especially considering his team had a goal waved off in Buffalo for seemingly less contact on Ryan Miller.

“I know there is contact before the puck gets to the net and maybe the guy pushed him a little before,” Renney said. “But I just want consistency. Because we’ve had calls against us where we’ve had almost absolute zero contact and we’ve had goals waived off. This was like a rugby scrum and Khabby is on his stomach trying to find a way to stop the puck and there was no chance of that. I’m just looking for consistency.”

Impressive transition game

The Dallas Mavericks took to the court following the hockey game.

Crews took less than two hours to transform the American Airlines Center from a hockey rink to an NBA arena.

The court was ready to go and the seats reconfigured three hours before tip-off as an army of workers started tearing the rink down seconds after the final buzzer.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest 


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