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Nugent-Hopkins’ injury prompts return of size questions

Feb 6, 2012, 10:02 PM EDT

Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

Life seemed kinda cool for Edmonton Oilers fans for about 4-5 days, but it seems like the mood is shifting back to misery.

Dropping a sloppy 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs is bad enough, but their wunderkind forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seemed to re-injure his left shoulder  after taking a hit from Mike Brown. RNH did not return to the game.

That’s a bummer, but some are taking this as more than just a nagging issue. The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater brings up a troubling thought: could his shoulder issues be the by-product of RNH simply being too small for the NHL?

People certainly weren’t asking those questions when the splendid playmaker was lighting up the league as a rookie earlier in the season, yet this might just open up the discussion again. Do you think that the Oilers should be worried, though?

On the bright side, Sam Gagner picked up an assist to push him to 12 points in his last three games.

Still, with RNH’s injury and Edmonton’s bigger picture headaches in mind, Gagner’s red-hot ways might not amount to much more than a shiny object to shake at Oilers fans who need a distraction. (I mean, unless the Oilers decide to strike while the trading iron is hot with Gagner, which is something Nick Kypreos suggests.)

  1. danphipps01 - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Um, that kind of makes it sound like a permanent problem. That doesn’t seem that reasonable. He’s 18 and he’s not even had one full year. He’ll bulk up with time. He’s of fairly average height for an NHLer, so there’s room to fill in weight-wise for sure. Besides, Patrick Kane managed for a couple years as a true featherweight before slowly filling in himself. Same deal. No need to fret.

    • davebabychreturns - Feb 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Still, might’ve been better for the Oil long term to let Nugent-Hopkins add some weight at a lower level. Given the state of that franchise it never would’ve happened, of course.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      same thing with seguin…and he is only 2nd year in and much more willing to get in the corners and throw his weight around now. these kids bulk up naturally with age, some have to work at it harder than others though. build core strength to compensate and you can gain a lot of strength on the puck and in front of the net.

  2. dreamzilla - Feb 7, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    im not worried about this but …DAMN!!!!! WE CANT CATCH A BREAK….INJURIES ….FREAK ACCIDENTS ( ALA HALL AND RENNEY) NOW THIS…TWICE!!!!!! ARRRRRG WE ARE CURSED…just fold the tent and go for the top 2 picks….see u in October ( in the immortal words of kevin garnett….DAMN DAMN DOUBLE DAMN!!!!!)

  3. lsxphotog - Feb 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    He’s young, but has proven his brain can function at the NHL level, and that is the hardest part of competing in this league. He’ll probably gain 15-20 pounds by next season and get even better.

    • lsxphotog - Feb 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Look at Stamkos season 1 versus season 2.

  4. stakex - Feb 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Hes certainly on the small side for the NHL, but its far from the end of the world. All he has to do is bulk up a bit over the next year or two. Its not like hes too short of anything.

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