SUN Hockey Pool

Eager to leave the sickbed

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:37 AM ET

EDMONTON - Ben Eager may be a big guy, but he was taken down hard by a nasty virus last week.

The Edmonton Oilers winger had to call in sick for a pair of games, prior to getting back in the lineup Monday against his former team in the San Jose Sharks.

“I’m feeling better,” Eager said prior to the contest. “I don’t usually get sick, but something got me there and I wasn’t feeling great for a couple of days. But I skated (Sunday) and then this morning, so now I feel pretty good.”

Once the club diagnosed Eager as having a stomach virus, they kept him away from the rest of the team to keep it from spreading.

Eager missed last week’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, then didn’t travel with the club to Colorado on Saturday.

“When I got back from that trip (the previous weekend), I was kind of stuck in bed, I really couldn’t move,” he said. “I’m through it now and looking forward to getting back in the lineup. I lost a couple of pounds. Maybe I’ll be a little faster now.”

CAUTIOUS APPROACH

Devan Dubnyk felt a twinge in his groin last week and figured it was best to not push it.

That’s the reason the Oilers goaltender took a back seat to Nikolai Khabibulin in the previous two games, before getting the call Monday.

“It was actually the pre-game skate against Montreal,” Dubnyk said. “It just started feeling pretty sore as pre-game skate went on. I got it treated after and as the game went on it got pretty tight and quite sore that night.

“It was kind of up in the air for the next day whether it was going to be alright or I was going to have to sit out for a week or so. It actually got about 90% better overnight. I was surprised, it was a lot better the next day. We figured it was a good idea to continue to get some rest instead of going back in there right away.”

The injury wasn’t bad enough to keep Dubnyk off the bench, and if he needed to, he probably could have entered the previous two games in relief of Khabibulin.

“It was sore, but I would have been OK if I had to go in,” Dubnyk said. “I wouldn’t have been on the bench if it had been a real concern.”

REACHING OUT

San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan put in a call to Tom Renney shortly after taking a stick to the head during a contest a few weeks ago.

McLellan, who was knocked cold on the play, wanted to know how the Oilers head coach dealt with his concussion after taking a puck to the head during practice.

“Tom and I have a good relationship going all the way back to my junior days,” McLellan said. “I feel really comfortable talking to him about numerous things. Him having gone through the concussion thing, it was a natural thing for me to call him.”

The advice Renney gave McLellan was to not come back too soon, something he himself regrets doing himself.

“I shared his experience in the first seven to 10 days and what he went through and maybe what he would do different,” McLellan said. “I think his advice and guidance probably helped me get through my spell a little quicker than I probably would have.”

STILL CONFIDENT

Joe Thornton is not the type of guy who rattles easily.

So it’s little surprise the Sharks captain doesn’t seem overly concerned about his team’s current predicament, fighting for their playoff lives.

Traditionally, the Sharks have been home and cool by this point in the season.

“The good thing is, that our fate is in our hands,” Thornton said. “As long as we win we’ll be fine, we’ll be in the party. We’ve been playing better as of late, we’re just not scoring. But the effort has been there.

“If we keep putting 40, 45 shots on goal, we’ll be fine. A lot of guys are squeezing their sticks, they have to relax and let their abilities take over.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


Videos

Photos