Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The injury bug continues to bite the Oilers. This time it's Shawn Horcoff who has been lost for an extended period of time.
In tonight's post game report in noted that Shawn Horcoff didn't return for the third period after he blocked a shot with his hand late in the second period. Well it looks like the Oilers will be without his services for a lot longer than just one period. From the Oilers Twitter account:
Coach Krueger says captain Shawn Horcoff is out long-term after breaking his knuckle blocking a shot late in the 2nd period— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 5, 2013
This is going to be a tough injury for the Oilers to deal with. Horcoff is one of, if not the Oilers best option in the faceoff circle and also plays a significant role on the penalty kill. He's also overpaid which isn't his fault but it reason enough for a lot of fans to assume that he's useless. He's not.
Perhaps if Eric Belanger wasn't also injured - the Oilers are reporting he's out for at least a week - this might be a slightly less damaging injury for the team but that's not the case and so the Oilers are now without the only two players on the team with faceoff percentages north of 50%. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner have both had good games and bad this season and have percentages of 43.6% and 40.0% respectively. They may take up some of Horcoff's ice time but they won't replace him.
Tonight was an ugly night for the Oilers in the faceoff circle. Unfortunately, until Horcoff returns there is a good chance that we see a lot more nights just like it.