Eberles's return to Oilers not rushed

Oilers forward Jordan Eberle skates against the Blues at the Scottraid Center in St. Louis, Miss.,...

Oilers forward Jordan Eberle skates against the Blues at the Scottraid Center in St. Louis, Miss., Jan. 5, 2012. (SARAH CONARD/Reuters)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:06 PM ET

ST. LOUIS - Head coach Tom Renney says it is purely coincidence that Jordan Eberle’s early return from a knee injury took place just two days after Taylor Hall’s accident left them short-staffed at forward.

In other words, Eberle hasn’t been rushed back.

“We’re not doing that at all,” said Renney, who added Eberle to the mix Thursday in St. Louis after 11 days on the shelf with sprained knee ligaments. “He’s skated well here, he’s done all his treatments with T.D. (Forss, head trainer). Can the player hurt himself medically? No. Is the player ready to go? Yes.”

The original estimation was two to three weeks, with five free days built in if he waited until after the All Star Break. Eleven days is kind of quick, and he’s only had one full practice, but Eberle says he feels 100% and is not rushing, or being rushed, back.

“That’s not the case at all,” he said. “If anything, I don’t think they wanted me to play. It was more a case of I felt great and I wanted to get in. I feel confident in how my knee feels and how I feel on the ice.”

SCARY POTTER

There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground for defenceman Corey Potter — he’s either living the dream, or wishing he’d wake up from the nightmare.

He finally lands an NHL job after five years in the minors, then injures his knee and misses a month. He signs his first ever one-way deal in the NHL, and a week or so later he steps on Hall’s face.

“It’s definitely tough coming to the rink and seeing that big scar on his forehead,” said Potter, who feels terribly about the latest entry in his Oilers bio.

“It’s definitely positive to see he’s doing well. It helps me, mentally, feel better about the situation.”

He definitely struggled with it on Tuesday night, with the blood still fresh on his skate blade, but Hall and the rest of the Oilers made a point of telling Potter it wasn’t his fault, that there was nothing he could have done to avoid the collision.

“I saw him after the second period. He was stitched up and back in the locker room and I got to go and apologize. He handled it very well. It definitely made it a little easier on me for sure.

“The guys were trying to let me know it’s definitely not your fault, trying to make me feel a little better about the situation. It was definitely nice to have that support.”

SHRUNKEN HEAD

Renney says Hall’s return will likely depend on how quickly the 30-stitch cut on his forehead begins to seal.

“It’s a matter of impact and whether the stitches might open up if he gets hit. Until the scarring takes place, or starts to, it’s a day-to-day thing.”

There are no concussion issues to worry about, just fitting a helmet over the swelling and trying to prevent the thing from being busted open again.

“Everything is fine,” said Renney. “No head issues. Nothing like that whatsoever; it’s just a matter of the healing of the wound.”

FAD HATTERS

To nobody’s surprise, the Oilers all wore helmets in the pregame warmup Thursday.

The team hasn’t made it policy yet, but the players figured it would be wise to have them on … at least until the whole Hall thing cools down.

“At the end of the day, if this is what I want as a head coach, and we as an organization, we do it,” said Renney.

HE SAID IT

“I think he likes the scar. He was talking about it; the chicks are going to like it.” - Hall’s roommate Eberle.

IN YOUR FACE

Netminder Brian Elliott, after being run out of Ottawa last season by everything but a torch-carrying mob, will return to the nation’s capital next week as a member of the Western Conference All-Star team

But he’s not there to say “I told you so.”

“No, that’s not what I’m like as a person,” said Elliott, who enjoyed a lot of his Ottawa experience. “I thought it was great. They gave me an opportunity when I was young, right out of college. It solidified me a little bit in the league. I don’t have any bad feelings towards them.

“Obviously the Canadian media is pretty harsh on goalies and in Ottawa it’s been kind of a focal point for them in years past. They like to throw people under the bus. I try not to think about it too much. I never really read into any of it.

“The guys know how you are in the lockerroom and that’s all that really matters.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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