Edmonton, AB - Faced with the same questions, over and over, about last season's devastating injury and the remarkable recovery that followed, Taylor Fedun is now focused less on rehab and more about securing a pro roster spot for the first time in his career.
Whether that's in Edmonton or with the club's AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
"Everybody who was down there or was up and down throughout the year had nothing but good things to say about the program (in OKC)," Fedun said. "It's a good place to be and I'd have no hard feelings about being down there, because it would be a lot of fun and a great experience."
That doesn't mean he's not driven to crack the big squad, mind you.
"The only thing I can control is to go and put my best foot forward like I did last year. Other than that, I can't really control anything. I want to try and battle into a spot like I was in last year."
Fedun, 24, signed a two-year contract with the Oilers back on Mar. 8, 2011 after spending four years with the Princeton Tigers of the ECAC. In 127 games there, he collected 20 goals and 68 points, along with a +41 rating and 154 penalty minutes.
The Edmonton native was on the cusp of making the roster last year when his season -- and nearly his career -- was cut short on Sept. 30 at the Xcel Energy when then-Minnesota Wild forward Eric Nystrom upended the defenceman violently into the end-boards behind Devan Dubnyk.
Emergency surgery on a complex fracture in his right femur followed, but Fedun has now put it all behind him and is looking ahead.
"Things have been going really well," he explained. "It's continued to progress as I'd hoped. Right now I'm where I was at this point last year -- at least, physically. Mentally I'm in a bit of a different place because of everything that's happened in the past year, but I'm in a comfortable spot heading forward.
"I honestly don't think about [my leg] at all when I'm skating. We're obviously in a non-contact environment (at Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Camp), so I can't say for sure in that type of scenario. I've had a year to mature and see a lot of things that I hadn't previously been exposed to. I'm in a better place now."
While the circumstances were rough and highly unexpected, Fedun made a conscious effort to absorb his surroundings as best he could in 2011-12. It was a unique situation -- one that allowed the mechanical engineering grad to be around the Oilers and utilize the club's on- and off-ice resources.
For such a well-educated man, it made sense that he'd thrive in a student's role.
"Coming out of college, it's a much different lifestyle," he said. "To see how guys present themselves and how things are so professionally done, top to bottom, -- it's difficult to put into words. Although I didn't get to play last year, to sit back and take things in, it wasn't a complete waste."
HORDICHUK ON OFFENCE
Move over Nail Yakupov, there's a new star in town.
At least, according to Darcy Hordichuk.
Tuesday morning at Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Camp, Hordichuk brought his ‘A' game to the rink. And he wasn't afraid to boast about it.
"It's 3-on-3 and that's where I thrive," he said. "If you look at the stats sheet around the corner, you'll see that I got three points.
"It just shows that when you play with good players, you get an opportunity to put the puck in the net. I've been playing with (Jason) Chimera and (Brian) Sutherby a little bit. Maybe if the Oilers scouts come out here and see how I'm doing with those guys, they'll throw (Taylor) Hall and (Jordan) Eberle on my line," Hordichuk added, winking for the camera.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick