Oct 7, 2011, 3:11 PM EDT
Rejoice Edmonton Oilers fans: your defense has a chance to go from horrible to semi-putrid.
Jim Matheson reports that Ryan Whitney could return for the Oilers’ season opener on Sunday, although Ladislav Smid is likely to be sidelined. They didn’t guarantee that he’ll be back, mind you, but it seems like he’ll return in the near future.
It’s unclear when exactly Whitney transformed from a cleft-chinned turnover machine to a defensive savor, but when you look at the Oilers’ defense, their urge to see him back makes some sense. (That’s especially true if they compare Whitney to Cam Barker.)
If nothing else, the Oilers missed his puck-moving ability and scoring skills since he was sidelined with a “freaky” ankle injury in December 2010. The Oilers are expected to work him back into the lineup slowly since he couldn’t even play a preseason game this summer. Eventually, they expect him to return to playing big minutes again, though.
Edmonton’s game plan will likely revolve around scoring and allowing a lot of goals, so a healthy Whitney ranks as a logical fit. We’ll keep an eye open for updates about his status.
- Report: Hawks feel Kane ‘disrespected’ team, have received trade calls 82
- Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane? 75
- Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away 22
- Poll: Who will be San Jose’s next captain? 24
- Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance 95
- Gio won’t go: Flames extend Giordano for six years, $40.5M 13
- Pens’ plan for now: Crosby starts as Kessel’s center 25
- O, Dear: Russia fined $85K for skipping Canadian anthem 31
- Kings ink Ehrhoff to a one-year, $1.5 million deal 27
- Quebec City, Vegas advance to final phase of NHL expansion process 50
- Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance (95)
- Report: Hawks feel Kane ‘disrespected’ team, have received trade calls (95)
- Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane? (76)
- Lucic jokes about running through Rask ‘like I did (to) another goalie’ (40)
- Poll: Will Kessel score 40? (38)