Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/29/13
When Sam Gagner was forced to undergo surgery to repair a broken jaw — an unnecessary unfortunate turn of events caused by the stick-wielding Zack Kassian of the Vancouver Canucks — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did not alter his timeline. He will continue to practise with the team and he’ll put in the necessary off-ice work to further strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder but he said he cannot speed anything up at this point. “Obviously with Sam out it’s tough for sure but I don’t think I can change anything” said Nugent-Hopkins. “I want to play as soon as I can (so) it is tough for me to sit especially when something like that happens but I just have to be patient because I know in the long run that it will pay off.” When Nugent-Hopkins had the surgery the Oilers had pegged Nov. 1 as a possible return date. The centre said he’s not sure how firm that date is now. “It will depend on the next couple of weeks. If I’m back sooner (than that) that would be awesome for me. I can’t wait to get back playing.” Taylor Hall who underwent surgery a year earlier than his teammate said the shoulder will never be perfect but that it will be immeasurably better. “If you work hard at it and I know he has it’s going to be fine. He has done really well. He’s definitely further along than I was at the same point. Hopefully we can see him back soon — but at the right time” said Hall who’s filling in at centre until Nugent-Hopkins returns. “Mine was always popping in and out. Same for Nuge. Having to take faceoffs all the time with that shoulder probably wasn’t easy. He’s going to be a lot better for (the surgery). “It’s a confidence thing too. When you go into a battle with a bad shoulder you just don’t have that same level of compete you’re going to have with a new shoulder.”
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