The Kissing Disease

News has spread like... well, mono that one Mr. Michael Comrie is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. The poor guy should only be knocked out for a couple weeks, but it's another unfortunate visit from the injury bug in an already busy year for the Oilers medical staff. The Organization is saying 122 Man Games Lost to Injury after 22 games, while James Mirtle (the only person who seems to compile these stats) has us listed at 105 MGLtI after 21 games. It's a bit odd for the numbers to not line up, so let's just take them in a min-max scenario.

Projecting from these numbers, we can approximate losing 410 to 455 games to the injury bug this year. How does this compare to the past few seasons? Now, I've been unable to track down the actual MGLtI for the Oil last year, so I'm going to have to go off of the projected numbers (once again, via Mirtle).

2005-06: 134 MGLtI
2006-07: 286 MGLtI
2007-08: 340 MGLtI
2008-09: 241 MGLtI*
*(projected on March 18, 2009)

Clearly the Oilers are outpacing themselves but, considering the law of averages, one must believe that our injuries will tail off towards the end of the season. Or will they?

As we can see in Mirtle's chart, teams like Philly and St. Louis still handily made the playoffs despite posting high MGLtI numbers in 2008-09. This doesn't mean that they lost less important players or that their injuries were less severe, the clubs simply had the depth and experience to handle the losses. Leaving us with the excruciating reality of the unbalanced Peewee team the Oilers front office calls an NHL-caliber squad. Maybe it's just me, but icing an undersized, inexperienced team with lack of depth seems to be the perfect recipe for an injury-dominated season.

While this early black-and-blue streak is bringing out the doomsayers in all of us, I think there still has to be some glimmer of hope. If the boys do get healed up and provide some artillery support for our outstanding first line, we could still be in fair shape come April. Unfortunately, without a major depth move before the deadline, Tambellini & Co. are not giving this team a fair shake. As gritty and determined as he is, the Red Ox cannot do it all alone.

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