Ryan Nugent-Hopkins just walked out of the building and left in truck.Not feeling well, out tonite.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) March 20, 2013
Ryan Rishaug reported that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left Rexall Place two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled start of the Oilers game against the San Jose Sharks.
With Hopkins out, and the Oilers already short of centres, Ralph Krueger has his work cut out for him in constructing an effective lineup. Ryan Smyth is already playing out of position at centre between Mike Brown and Lennart Petrell. That leaves Lennart Petrell as Krueger's only option at centre, unless he moves Taylor Hall into the middle and replaces Smyth with Petrell and ices a lineup something like this:
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Taylor Hall - Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi - Sam Gagner - Nail Yakupov
Mike Brown - Lennart Petrell - Teemu Hartikainen
The Oilers are in a tough spot, to be sure, especially after passing on Adam Hall via the waiver wire last week. Eric Belanger is not scheduled to come back, but might the Oilers rush him back with just two centres on the roster?