If Sam Gagner has his way he’ll be securing the go-ahead to resume contact when he sees his surgeon in Edmonton. The Oilers centre will visit the specialist before the week is out at which point he’ll rejoin the team for the rest of its Eastern road trip. The Oilers (1-5-1) play the New York Islanders (2-2-2) on Thursday then head north to Ottawa for a Saturday afternoon game against the Senators. They close out this six-game trip in Montreal on Oct. 22. “I do have a timeline in my head. I just don’t know if it correlates with what the doctor will say” Gagner said. “I don’t necessarily think I’ll be playing then but I can at least join them and get in some practice.” The centre’s jaw was broken when he was whacked in the face by Zack Kassian’s stick in a pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks. A plate was inserted to fuse the fracture four lost teeth will be dealt with in the off-season and even when he does return to the game-day lineup he’ll require a full face shield. Still he is confident he won’t be a month behind fitness-wise given that he was able to not only get into the gym but was back on skates a week after the injury. In his absence Mark Arcobello has been exemplary particularly since he had big skates to fill. He’s winning 58 per cent of his faceoffs is a team-high plus-4 on a club that has given up a league-worst 32 goals and has six assists through seven games. His most recent helper came in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. But he also hasn’t been told to find a more permanent residence unlike fourth line centre Will Acton. What Arcobello has been doing is making the most of what opportunities he has had. “In order to hang around I know I have to play well” he said. “That I’m fitting in is good. It’s something to build on.” Arcobello will likely have the rest of this road trip and then it is quite possible Gagner will be back in the lineup. He will need to get in some contact sessions as soon as he gets the green light from the surgeon. “The good thing is that when I am cleared (to play) I’ll be in game shape ready to play” Gagner said.
Gagner edging closer to getting green light
Edmonton Journal | Oct 17