The Edmonton Oilers face a big challenge besides overcoming a 2-6-1 start to the National Hockey League season.
First-line left-winger Taylor Hall will be sidelined four weeks with an injured left knee suffered in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Ottawa.
"It's never good to lose one of your top players, a guy that eats up a ton of minutes, who's a danger every time that he goes on the ice," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "So are we going to miss him? Absolutely. Of course we are. He's a big part of this hockey club and when we do have success, he's right in the middle of it. He's usually one of the catalysts.
"But he's not here. So we'll look for him when he's healed and ready. It's time for other people to grasp opportunity."
Ryan Jones, who was a healthy scratch against the Senators, will take Hall’s spot in the lineup for Tuesday’s game at Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET).
Hall, who had 50 points in 45 games in last year's lockout-shortened season, is no stranger to injuries in his three-plus NHL seasons.
The 21-year-old has rolled an ankle in a fight, been stepped on during a pre-game warmup, had a concussion and required shoulder surgery.
"He's definitely had some tough luck with a skate to the head and a few other things, but he recovers quick and he works his hardest to get back."
The Oilers, who complete a six-game road trip Tuesday, are also without forwards Sam Gagner, Ryan Smyth, Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton and Steve MacIntyre.
Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov skated as a line at Tuesday's morning skate.
"The game doesn't change," said Hemsky, who has five points in nine games this season but a team-worst minus-9. "It doesn't matter if Hallsy's in or Hallsy's out. It's definitely a big loss but I think we have good depth."
The Oilers have recalled forwards Ben Eager and Tyler Pitlick from their American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Taylor Hall's injury history
- March 2012: Surgery to repair labrum in left shoulder.
- January 2012: Clipped by skate blade during warmup prior to game vs. Columbus. Hall needed 30 stitches.
- March 2011: High ankle sprain suffered during rare fight.