PENTICTON — Rather than take any chances with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ surgically repaired shoulder, the Edmonton Oilers will not send their centre out for any pre-season games
That also puts into question his availability for the first month of the regular season.
General manager Craig MacTavish said on Sunday that the club is still following the initial timeline, which was a November 1 return.
Nugent-Hopkins has been skating in Edmonton and readying himself for camp and will be tested on Wednesday when the players report for their medicals. The first on-ice session is set for Thursday with eight pre-season games to be played between Sept. 14 and the Oct. 1 season opener.
“I would say absolutely not at this point,” MacTavish said when asked if he thought Nugent-Hopkins would play any pre-season games. “I’ve talked to our medical staff and everything is on schedule but it’s important for them that we maintain the most pessimistic schedule we started with, which was Nov. 1.”
If Nugent-Hopkins isn’t ready for the opener, the Oilers will need to find another centre. MacTavish did not rule the possibility of Taylor Hall moving from the wing but said it would be a coaching decision.
Nugent-Hopkins had surgery in April to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal