Former Smoke Eater Shawn Horcoff will be out of the Edmonton Oilers line-up for the next 7 to 10 days due to a shoulder injury. That is actually good news as there was lots of speculation that Horcoff might be out for much longer. It has been a tough start to the season for the Castlegar native. He only has 5 points in 15 games while the team has especially struggled to score in their last 5 games. Edmonton has been shut out in 3 of their last 5 and most recently lost 3-1 to Jeff Tambellini's New York Islanders. I think someone is going to get a lump of coal in their stocking from dad this year!
Horcoff is feeling the heat from fans in Edmonton due to the big contract extension he signed after his all-star season. That being said, he is not being put in an ideal situation for scoring goals. There is no other pivot on the Oilers who can win face offs or play a two way game like Horcoff can. As a result, he has been taking a ton of draws in his own zone and playing in all sorts of defensive situations. I've also heard that he was having some problems with his foot and was one of the many Oilers fighting the flu bug.
While it'll be tough for the Oilers to win games without everything that Horcoff brings perhaps it will be good for him to take a couple of weeks off to get healthy. It would also be nice if Edmonton added a reliable veteran up the middle to take some of the pressure off. In the past there were guys like Mike Peca or Marty Reasoner to take some of those key defensive minutes. Now it's basically just Horcoff. If he's going to get any help it's going to be up to another former Trail Smoke Eater to get it for him!
There's a large connection for the Smokies on the Oilers. General Manager Steve Tambellini is a Trail native who played for the Smoke Eaters in the KIJHL. Associate Coach Tom Renny was once the Head Coach of the Smoke Eaters also in the KIJHL. Horcoff is a former Smoke Eater from their RMJHL days and also the cousin of current Smokies Captain Paul Mailey. Trail may be mostly Canucks country, but you would have to think there are a lot of soft spots for the Oil drop as well.
As for other Smoke Eaters alumni, you can check out the updated alumni section on the official website. I also plan to continue alumni update on the blog during the season. Let me know if we've missed anyone!
EDIT: Here are Horcoff's comments from the Edmonton Oilers official webiste...
Small goalie comes up large
12 hours ago