Boyd Gordon's demeanour is typically all business around the rink, but the veteran centre had reason to smile on Wednesday as it looks like he'll make his return to the #Oilers lineup tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks.
"I've had a good couple days getting back into the swing of things and I'm excited to get back in." Boyd Gordon pic.twitter.com/xSh0VpJVJA
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 17, 2014
Gordon has missed the last five games with a sore back, but he said the ailment has felt better during practice the last few days and he’s optimistic he will be 100% ready to return tomorrow.
"I’ve had a good couple days skating with the guys and things feel pretty good, so I’m excited to get back playing," Gordon said post-practice. “Sometimes your body gets a bit run down, and it was one of those situations where I needed to take some time to get (my back) better and close to 100%. It’s felt good the last couple skates and held up pretty well. "
Since signing with the Oilers as a free agent in July 2013, the 31-year-old has suited up for 101 games, registering 28 points and leading the team with a 56.4% success rate in the faceoff circle. Gordon also brings the intangibles, like killing penalties, blocking shots and providing a calming, veteran presence to the locker room.
“It means a lot, he’s a big part of our team," said Gordon's regular linemate Matt Hendricks. “Obviously one of the best centremen in the league in terms of faceoffs and penalty killing. He’s a great leader in the room and we’ve really missed his presence."
Gordon's impending return likely means Hendricks will shift back to the wing after filling the pivot role on the Oilers grinder line. Hendricks, who was previously a semi-regular centreman in Colorado, Washington and Nashville, did quite well back in the dot, winning 56% of his draws.