CHICAGO – It was a hard-fought win for the Edmonton Oilers, but it didn't come without a potentially steep price for both them and the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at the United Center.
Edmonton downed Chicago 4-3 in a game the Hawks wanted revenge for a 9-2 blowout loss at Rexall Place, but the Oilers lost star rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the first period and defenseman Tom Gilbert in the second to injuries that could keep them out multiple games.
Nugent-Hopkins appeared to catch and edge in the ice in the first and fall hard to injure what's believed to be his shoulder and didn't return. Gilbert was hit hard from behind by Chicago's Daniel Carcillo in the second while racing for the puck and left the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury that also knocked out of the game.
"I don't know exactly what happened (to Nugent-Hopkins), or if there was a sniper in the press box, because he just fell down," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "That happens, but in talking to him, he thought he caught an edge."
As for the Carcillo hit, which earned a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct, Renney hopes the League will look into it for a possible suspension or fine.
"I think the hit speaks for itself, and the penalty does as well," said Renney, whose team made the Hawks pay with a pair of power-play goals during the five-minute power play. "To this point, it's been addressed and I'm hoping that it'll be looked into even further."
As for how long Nugent-Hopkins and Gilbert might be out, Renney didn't have an answer – but it didn't sound promising for either.
"I don't know a timeframe at all," Renney said. "I think (Nugent-Hopkins is) sore. I don't know what degree he's hurt, mind you, so I don't have a timeline. They are both hurting. I don't see them playing in the immediate future."
The same might be the case for Carcillo, who appeared to injure his left leg pretty seriously while making the hit on Gilbert. Carcillo needed help to get off the ice and didn't return. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't have an update on Carcillo's condition after the game, but tried to give an explanation for what Carcillo might've been trying to do in making the play.
"We'll know more tomorrow (about the injury)," Quenneville said. "I'm not sure (about the hit being legal or illegal). I don't know. It wasn't even a hit. It was a counter-hit. He went in tough. It wasn't a headshot."
The Hawks were on the receiving end of some bumps and bruises as well -- captain Jonathan Toews got cut on a high stick while trying to deliver a hit to Eric Belanger midway through the third. Toews finished the game with a butterfly bandage on his lip.
The Hawks are already without rookie center Marcus Kruger (upper body) and veteran defenseman Steve Montador missed Monday's game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Chicago may have to call up a player from Rockford of the American Hockey League before heading off to play the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and will likely keep 6-foot-6, 221-pound rookie Jimmy Hayes around after he scored his first career goal against the Oilers.
Renney, meanwhile, said Edmonton will have to make a roster move of some sort.
"(We'll call up) a defenseman for sure, possibly a forward," he said.