Opinion

Klefbom Misses Practice

The Edmonton Oilers won their first playoff game since June of 2006 last night, tying their series with San Jose at one game each, but the Oilers may have suffered a major loss in that victory. Oscar Klefbom, who has emerged as Edmonton’s top defensive option, blocked a shot in the third period and did not return to the game.

Oiler fans instantly went into panic mode, but coach Todd McLellan calmed the masses postgame when he addressed the issue.

As Rob Soria pointed out to me on Twitter, you can never take a player’s word when it comes to injury this time of year, but regardless it was nice to hear the coach calm things down after the victory. While the Oilers played well even after Klefbom left the game, it would have been immensely difficult to play game three without the defender.

Today, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Klefbom was missing from what appeared to be a full Oiler practice.

If Klefbom can’t go tomorrow night, the most likely scenario is that Eric Gryba rejoins the Oiler lineup on a pairing with Kris Russell, while Andrej Sekera shifts up to join Adam Larsson on Edmonton’s top pairing. It’s not my ideal configuration, but the coach likes Gryba more than the other options.

Personally, I’d be looking down on the farm. The Bakersfield Condors were eliminated last night when they lost to the Stockton Heat, and their season ends later tonight. Mark Fayne would be my pick to join the big club and slide into the lineup with Klefbom on the shelf, but I’m not sure the coaches are confident in him.

Jordan Oesterle and Dillon Simpson, who both played in the NHL this season at times, are also options for the big club. Even if Klefbom can go tomorrow, I’d expect a call up or two with Bakersfield out of the playoffs. The Oilers’ “black aces” are likely to join the team tomorrow, if they go that route.

The good news? Todd McLellan still expects Klefbom in the lineup for game three. Hopefully my plan B and plan C options aren’t needed. It certainly seems like the club expects number 77 to be patrolling the blue line.

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