February 2, 2012
RNH pain-free after contact skate
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took another step on the road back into the Edmonton Oilers lineup on Wednesday.
The Oilers rookie passed Tom Renney's fitness test, then took part in a full-contact practice with the team for the first time since injuring his shoulder.
It is expected Nugent-Hopkins will make his return to the lineup Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
"His test was good, there was almost no drop-off," said Renney. "We'll see how he does in the morning. I'm very cautious there. He had no pain (Wednesday) but that's his first day of contact and bumping and being involved with that part of it. I'm thinking he won't play (Thursday) but we'll see."
WHITNEY SUPER NERVOUS
It's been a nervous week for Ryan Whitney and it has nothing to do with what is happening on the ice.
A Boston native and a huge New England Patriots fan, the Oilers defenceman can't wait for Sunday's Super Bowl.
"I think (Tom) Brady will play great after struggling in the AFC title game," Whitney said. "I am pretty nervous though, because the Giants are a great team and they're on a roll and teams that catch
fire like that usually end up winning.
"But the Patriots are my team and I'm excited. It's one of the biggest games in Boston sport's history for my buddies and my dad back home. I would probably give up a Red Sox World Series for the next 10 years if the Patriots won this game. That's how much it means to everybody in Boston."
KYTNAR OFF TO FINLAND
Oilers prospect Milan Kytnar, who was playing with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, has been assigned on loan to HPK Hameenlinna in Finland.
Kytnar, a native of Topolcany, Slovakia, was the Oilers fifth pick -127th overall -in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
He was called up to play a game with the Oilers on an emergency basis in January.
Kytnar had seven goals and five assists in 17 games for the Thunder this season.