|The Oilers will be without Shawn Horcoff long-term after he was injured blocking a shot Monday. (USPressWire)|
After suffering a tough home loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Edmonton Oilers were dealt another serious blow Monday night.
Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger informed the local media that center and team captain Shawn Horcoff broke his knuckle during Monday's contest and will be out “long-term.”
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
While on the surface it might not seem like a significant loss, Horcoff won't easily be replaced. He has averaged more than 15 minutes a game in the young season and often draws assignments against opponents' top lines. Horcoff is also one of Edmonton's best faceoff men. On top of all that, he provides a strong veteran presence on a team full of young talent.
The Oilers will also be without Eric Belanger, the team's most efficient center at the faceoff dot, for at least a week according to Krueger.
These injuries will leave Edmonton pretty thin down the middle heading into a stretch of games that includes a pair against Dallas and back-to-back road games at Detroit and Columbus.