Brouwer updates us on the most pertinent NHL injuries.
In this weeks edition of Carried Off the Ice there will be updates on the latest injuries during round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the playoffs NHL teams are extremely vague when it comes to disclosing injury information, so you will see a lot of undisclosed injuries.
Get the stretcher (latest injuries):
Niklas Backstrom was injured during the pre-game warm up for game one against the Chicago Blackhawks and hasn’t played since. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported that Backstrom has returned to practice but is still laboring from a lower body injury. The Minnesota Wild have been patient with Backstrom thanks to the solid play of Josh Harding, however with Harding leaving game four with an injury that may change. Backstrom dressed as Darcy Kuemper’s back up for the remainder of game four but it is unknown who will start game five. Backstrom hasn’t played in the playoffs since 2007-08 season.
Dan DeKeyser will miss the remainder of the playoffs after breaking his thumb in game two. Even though he is just a rookie he was playing like a proven vet. He is a smooth skater and smart passer with a bright future. Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock decided to go with rookie Brian Lashoff over a veteran player to take DeKeyser’s spot.
Lars Eller suffered a concussion after a huge hockey hit by Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba. Eller has been released from the hospital and is making some progress but no timetable for return. He had a breakout season for the Montreal Canadiens, scoring eight goals and 30 points in 46 games. Renaud Lavoie of RDS tweeted Wednesday that “Eller skated for a few minutes this morning.”
Brian Gionta will need surgery to repair a torn bicep and will be out for the remainder of the playoffs. The Canadiens tweeted that “Gionta will undergo surgery on Friday.”
Josh Harding was forced to leave game four with a leg injury. No update yet as to the seriousness of this injury but this is a huge blow for the Wild especially if Backstrom still can’t play. Harding has been solid for Minnesota despite them being down in the series, he has a 2.47 GAA and 0.923 SV%. He got hurt after being bumped into by Jonathan Toews, see 0:45 mark of YouTube video.
Toni Lydman is still day-to-day for the Anaheim Ducks as he is dealing with neck soreness and migraines after being hit by Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader. With Lydman out it was Sheldon Souray who got back into the Ducks line-up.
Andrew MacDonald broke his hand on Tuesday in the 6-4 New York Islanders win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs. Expect Thomas Hickey to draw into the line-up.
Darroll Powe of the New York Rangers left Monday’s game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t practice on Tuesday. Powe collided with Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward and was woozy afterward; Andrew Gross tweeted “Powe may have suffered another concussion.” If he suffered a concussion this would be his second this season and third of his NHL career.
Carey Price suffered a lower body in the third period of game four and was unable to play in the overtime. Peter Budaj came in but eventually gave up the winner to Kyle Turris. Watch the net cam replay and you can see where Price might have injury his groin or hamstring as he stretches across to try and make the save. He is questionable but not yet ruled out for game five.
Brandon Prust left game four with an upper body injury. This hard working agitator scored 14 points in 38 games this season and added 110 penalty minutes. He has missed games three different times this season with shoulder injuries. Renaud Lavoie tweeted that “Prust and Ryan White won’t play Thursday and that Price is day to day.”
Ryan White didn’t play in game four after leaving game three with an upper body injury. In three playoff games this season he has one goal and 23 penalty minutes. In a series that has turned nasty he can be an asset as long as he keeps his composure. He is out for game five.
Patrick Wiercioch was forced out of Sunday’s game with a lower body injury. His first playoff appearance only lasted 1:47. Wiercioch had a solid rookie season scoring five goals and 19 points in 42 games. He missed Tuesday’s game and Gryba took his spot as he returned from his suspension.
Pull Off the Band-Aid (poised for a return to action):
Dave Bolland has been dealing with a groin injury since the game against the Vancouver Canucks on April 22. CSN Chicago quoted Bolland saying “I feel like I’m getting close; it’s day to day. It does get difficult watching when you see what’s going on on the ice. You just see everyone battling and in that playoff mode. It’s always a tough thing to watch.” In the last three games the Wild have out hit the Blackhawks 43-35, 34-13 and 20-10; that has to change for the Hawks to have a long playoff run. Bolland’s real value comes in the playoffs where he brings so many intangibles that will help a team win a Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks tweeted that “Bolland and Emery are doubtful for Thursday.”
Ryane Clowe said there is a good chance he can play as per Dan Rosen’s tweet. Clowe has been out since April 25 with a head injury but has been practicing and with contact. He missed four games this season with a shoulder injury and has only played in one injury free season.
Ray Emery has missed the first four games against the Wild with a lower body injury. He is skating and practicing, so he is close to making a return. Once Emery is ready to go he will bump Henrik Karlsson up to the press box and will serve as Corey Crawford’s back up.
Matt Greene has missed the start of the playoffs for the Los Angeles Kings with an undisclosed injury. He missed 43 games this season with a back injury. There are conflicting reports regarding a possible return, the Los Angeles Times quoted head coach Darryl Sutter who said Greene might play after he skated Friday but he hasn’t played yet. The NHL.com preview for Game Five states it’s unlikely he returns this series.
Martin Havlat injured his groin in game one against the Canucks. He is getting close to return and now that the San Jose Sharks have swept the series they will have about a week off. Havlat should be ready to go for game one of the second round.
Brooks Laich has missed the first 28 games this season with a groin injury and missed the final 11 games and all of playoffs with a lower body injury. Katie Carrera tweeted that “Laich is on the ice at MSG. This is the first time he’s skated since he had sports hernia surgery in early April.” Consider him still day-to-day.
Jason Pominville returned to action on Tuesday after missing the end of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs with a concussion. He played 12:12 and had three shots on net in his first game back. The change of scenery worked well for Pominville as he scored four goals and nine points in the 10 games he played with Minnesota after the NHL trade deadline. His return forced Mike Rupp out of the line-up.
Long Shots (long playoff runs needed for a possible return):
Dany Heatley underwent shoulder surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder back on April 7. Last week he was skating and shooting pucks and there is a chance he could return if the Wild can find a way to comeback to win the first round.
Darren Helm last update was back on April 30 and it was that he is skating but felt fatigued after 10-minutes, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. Don’t count on Helm returning anytime soon.
Mike Kostka missed game two with a broken finger and will be out till sometime in June.
Drew Miller broke his hand back on April 20 against the Canucks and didn’t require surgery. He is expected to be out four weeks, so if the Red Wings can advance to the second round he could return during this playoff run.
Jason Spezza played only five games this season before suffering a season ending back injury. The Montreal Gazette reported, “There is speculation Jason Spezza will be back for the potentially pivotal game 3 on Sunday.” Don’t believe everything you read from opposing team’s newspapers. Spezza started to skate on his own in the final week of April but it’s highly unlikely that he makes a return in the first round.