Slumping Oilers look to regroup

With a roster riddled by influenza and injuries, the Edmonton Oilers had another anchor thrown their way Wednesday with news Shawn Horcoff will be lost for up to two weeks with a shoulder injury.

Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky (83)

Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky (83)

EDMONTON — With a roster riddled by influenza and injuries, the Edmonton Oilers had another anchor thrown their way Wednesday with news Shawn Horcoff will be lost for up to two weeks with a shoulder injury.

Barely treading water with five losses in their last six games, the good news for the Oilers (7-7-1), as they prepare to host the New York Rangers Thursday, is Horcoff won’t need surgery to repair the damage done when he was levelled by Andy Sutton in a 3-1 loss to the Islanders on Long Island Monday.

The bad news is the Oilers will have to try to put the brakes on a 1-5 skid in which they’ve scored just three goals and been shutout three times in the five losses without a centre who chews up minutes, kills penalties and is their most reliable face-off man.

“It just needs to be rested and it will heal sooner rather than real later, but it’s going to take a little bit,” Horcoff said.

“It’s been tough on guys lately. Our team has gone through a lot, whether it’s injuries or the flu. We’ve been decimated in this locker room, but all teams go through it.”

Horcoff, 31, was injured in the third period when he was knocked into the boards by Sutton. While the Oilers aren’t releasing details about the nature of the injury, the team is saying it isn’t related to rotator cuff surgery Horcoff had on the shoulder during the 2007-08 season.

“I knew right away,” Horcoff said. “It was pretty sore right away. It has nothing to do with that (previous surgery). I can definitely say that. The part that was surgically repaired is just fine.”

The loss of Horcoff comes after a stretch in which the Oilers played without Comrie, Gilbert Brule and Ales Hemsky (flu) and Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios, Ryan Stone and Fernando Pisani because of injuries.

“It’s predictable that you’ll go through some tough times in a season,” said Staios. “We’re going through that now.

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