Oilers Veteran Forward Not Ready To Play

Edmonton Oilers forward James Neal has finally joined his teammates at training camp after going through the necessary quarantine. Neal skated on Saturday with the club, however, it's expected Neal won't be suiting up for opening night.

While his health status was never disclosed, all that we did know was Neal had to quarantined for 14 days after being deemed unfit to play. 

Neal spoke with the media and had this to say about the process:

It's 14 days. It's a long time. You just have to go by the rules and be safe here. It's frustrating but you have to keep your team safe and yourself.

Neal's obviously frustrated and you can't really blame him considering he scored 11 goals in his first 14 goals last season and was looking to get off to another hot start this season. He finished the year with 19 goals and 31 points in 55 games.

His head coach Dave Tippett knows he's going to have to slowly get Neal accustomed to the pace of play:

He basically was off the ice for almost a month so it's going to take him some time to get up and going here. But he's got a great attitude. He jumps in there and he's been working hard. But he's got a ways to go yet.

The Oilers are expected to be one of the top-4 teams in the North division are some playoff success is certainly included in the team's expectations this season.

Photo credit: Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire