TAMPA - Taylor Hall did not skate with the Edmonton Oilers Thursday, prompting questions as to whether he had suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion.
The Oilers forward has made the trip with the team and has skated since he was knocked unconscious by Calgary Flames defenceman Cory Sarich nearly a week ago.
“I don’t know if it’s a setback, I think it’s a leveling off,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “It’s a concussion. The bottom line is that he’s not ready to play the game, we’ll take it a day at time. We’ll see how’s he’s doing (Friday). he may be able to skate tomorrow, maybe not. We want him close to us so we’re able to make that determination.”
Hall said he felt no real ill effects a day after being hit by Sarich in a 3-1 win over the Flames last Friday.
He came on the trip with the prospect of perhaps getting back in the lineup before the Oilers returned home.
However with the Oilers facing the Florida Panthers Friday, then closing out against the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday, it’s unlikely Hall will be back by then.
“He’s not ready, clearly,” Renney said. “But having him with us gives us a chance to evaluate that on a day-to-day basis and that’s pretty much where we are with him, it’s day-to-day.”
SUTTON DRAWS BACK IN
Andy Sutton understand his role with the Oilers heading down the stretch. As a veteran with a contract for next season, he at times will have to make way for younger player who still require evaluation.
Sutton has been used sparingly down the stretch but did get back into the lineup against the Lightning.
“It’s always great to be in the lineup,” Sutton said. “But I know the situation. I have a great life and I have to keep things in perspective. I’m 37 years old and I’m still in the NHL, which is awesome. I’m just trying to do my part regardless if I’m in or out of the lineup.”
Sutton has provide leadership and a physical element to the Oilers blue line this season. Earlier this year, the veteran signed a one-year contract extension giving him some security moving forward.
“We have to get him (Sutton) in there, he’s got to see this down the stretch,” Renney said. “In a convoluted kind of way, you want to have the guys experience this kind of stretch and have them realize how much they dislike playing in a position outside the playoffs and how hard they have to play and get acquainted to play in them moving forward.”
Having made it to the conference final last season, expectations were high for the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into this year.
However, injuries have decimated the club and they’ve been force to limp their way towards the end of the season, with their playoff hopes practically out of reach.
“It’s part of pro hockey, injuries,” said Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson. “It sometimes takes guys out of playoff hunt and it makes good teams into bad teams. We started right away in training camp with Mattias Ohlund going down. He was a big piece of our defensive corps and big part of our leadership.
“With him going down, then other players getting hurt, we went through a lot of adversity. But right now we have to focus on the things we have to do now, we can’t focus on injuries or things like that.”
Nick Schultz isn’t one to jump into the rush often.
The Oilers defenceman is much more comfortable in his own zone. But heading into Tuesday’s contest, Schultz wouldn’t have minded moving up to try and get one past his friend and former teammate in Roloson.
“He’s a great guy, but I wouldn’t mind scoring a goal against him,” Schultz said. “It’s fun to be able to go out and compete against guys like that, because you know how hard he works and what he puts in.”
Schultz and Roloson were teammates in Minnesota before the veteran goaltender was traded to Edmonton, helping the Oilers make it to the Stanley Cup final in 2006.
Schultz is impressed Roloson is still going strong at 42.
“At that age you have to work even harder to keep your body in shape and take care of yourself,” Schultz said. “It’s pretty impressive what he’s been able to do.”