It’s been a tough second half of the season for Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The centreman was sidelined in January after a blocked shot injured his hand in a game against the Florida Panthers. Activated March 11, Nugent-Hopkins played six games before taking an unexpected hit in the head in a collision with Arizona Coyotes defenceman Connor Murphy on March 22.
“We just were kind of both going for the puck there,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who was forced to leave the game that night and diagnosed with a concussion that once again removed him from the lineup.
“[Murphy’s] a lot bigger of a guy than me so his shoulder just kind of — I haven’t even actually seen the replay — but from what I remember it got me right in the head. It wasn’t a dirty play or anything, it was just the way it worked out. Unfortunately I took the brunt of it.”
Though a return is unknown before the end of the season, Nugent-Hopkins said he hopes to return before the end and was happy getting in a good practice with the team today.
“I don’t know what the plan is exactly here but it was good to be back out there practicing with the guys,” he said. “Since I broke my hand I really haven’t had too many practices, it’s kind of go, go, go, so definitely nice to get a good one under my belt there.”