From Matty (who has gained some ground that he lost to Terry Jones on Twitter today; Jones’ column refers to the Oilers’ string of 144 unsuccessful PP and Khabibulin’s $3.5MM cap hit):
Captain Shawn Horcoff is close to returning after being out six weeks with a sprained knee. He could play down the middle for Hall and Penner, which would leave Gagner with Paajarvi and fellow Swede Linus Omark on a second line.
“Horc wants to play, but I’ve got a protocol. I won’t play anybody who shouldn’t be in there. If he passes my stuff, he’ll play,” said Renney.
It doesn’t appear to be any particular hit that KO’d [Hemsky], more an accumulation of blows over the last half-dozen games.
“He took a puck in the head in Vancouver, an elbow to the head and a stick to the cheek in games on the road trip we just finished and he was a little out of sorts tonight, so we pulled him,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.
“He’s had some symptoms before this game and the doctor looked at him and I don’t know what conclusion they’ve drawn.”
Now this Hemsky business was widely enough known that Gene Principe, on a panel with Marc Spector and Bob Stauffer after the second period, immediately referenced the possibility that Hemsky was playing with a concussion as he’d apparently looked ill in Anaheim. It didn’t seem to be a surprise to either of Bob Stauffer or Mark Spector, although I’ll admit to being distracted by Spector’s shirt/tie combination – I was worried that Jim Playfair had fallen on hard times and was selling off his clothing.
If we accept that a) the Renney Protocol prevents anybody from playing who “shouldn’t be in there” and that b) Shawn Horcoff was unable to play while c) Ales Hemsky, with widely known concussion symptoms, was, I think we have to ask the question: is Shawn Horcoff dead?
(I could go on about this team and concussions, playing Jarret Stoll with concussion symptoms, a general trend towards rushing players back from injury so that they can be ineffective, the sheer pointlessness of risking Hemsky’s health in a season where you want to finish 15th and have young players who would benefit from the development time, but I’ve said it, or variants of it, all before and, to be honest, I’m too worried about Horcoff’s probable death to care.)