HOCKEY IS BACK! And so is this guy, believe it or not.

Four months late (but better than not at all), here’s what’s up on the injury front heading into the 2013 NHL season. SPOILER: Rick DiPietro is not on this list. No, I can’t believe it either. SHAMEFUL ADMISSION: I love Rick DiPietro.

Atlantic Division

 

New Jersey Devils

Adam Henrique C – Thumb injury: Henrique tore the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left thumb in late November. His cast is off, but he may need as much as a month of rehab to get his full range of motion and strength back. The UCL is essential for thumb grasp/pinch strength, so for minor details like holding a hockey stick you’d want it to be fully operational. A UCL tear is also known as gamekeeper’s thumb. From keeping game. Or something. Here’s a fairly gross explanation why.

 

New York Islanders

Josh Bailey C – Knee: A knee scope isn’t a huge deal, but Bailey had one last week, so he’ll probably miss about a month, maybe a bit less if he’s a complete beast.

Michael Grabner RW – Abdominal injury: Grabner tore an abdominal muscle in late November, but apparently he’s skating now and saying he’s ready to go for the opener.

Travis Hamonic D – Concussion: I’m confused as to why Hamonic is questionable to start seeing as how he’s been playing for Bridgeport. I’m guessing he’ll be ready (keen investigative reporting skills, I know).

Jesse Joensuu RW – Groin: That NHL contract is great, but that groin is not. Joensuu may not make the start of the season, but he’s working out. That’s not the same as skating, but it’s better than sitting in the stands sulking.

 

New York Rangers

Michael Sauer D – Concussion: Sauer is still dealing with post-concussion syndrome after a Dion Phaneuf hit in December of 2011. He’s not expected to play this year, and that stinks.

A crapload of other guys – Various injuries: Brad Richards has the flu, Marian Gaborik had a shoulder labrum repair, Michael Del Zotto has back issues, Carl Hagelin hurt his shoulder, and there’s something up with Rick Nash’s groin. Word is they’ll all be ready to start.

I was going to get all judgy about Arron Asham not starting the season because he has a game left on his suspension for crosschecking Brayden Schenn in the face, but he does some seriously cool work getting Manitoba kids into hockey. But he still crosschecked someone in the face. But the kids. But…

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Marc-Andre Bourdon D – Concussion: Bourdon has a concussion once again. You may recall he had two last year, one of which he hid in a Colby Armstrong-esque plot to keep his spot on the Flyers’ roster. There’s no timetable for his return, and that’s probably a good thing. His brain will thank him.

Daniel Briere C – Wrist: Briere sprained/bruised the crap out of/hairline fractured  his left wrist in Germany in early December, and there’s a delightful array of conflicting reports on where he stands in the rehab process. The latest is that he won’t be on the roster to start the season, so it looks like it could be a while.

Erik Gustafsson D – Foot and/or ankle and/or whatever: This is either a deep bone bruise, a high ankle injury, a combination of both, or something completely different. Gustafsson blocked a shot with his right foot in mid-December, and after a failed attempt at getting back on skates has now gotten back on crutches. He’s day-to-day but unlikely to start the season.

Andrej Meszaros D – Achilles: After an achilles repair surgery in August, Meszaros has finally been cleared to play by team doctors. The problem is it’s unclear whether he actually will. He’s been dropping a lot of “we’ll see”-type quotes. So I guess we’ll see. If training camp goes well I’d expect him to start the season.

Chris Pronger D – Concussion: Sadly there’s not a whole lot to say here. Pronger has been out since November of 2011, and likely won’t be back.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

There’s nothing going on with the Penguins. Let’s stop talking about it before we ruin it.

 

Northeast Division

 

Boston Bruins

Jordan Caron RW – Upper body: The phrase “upper body injury” is enough to throw me into a fit of blind rage. And here it is. Caron hurt something, and he’s out until around the beginning of February. Theories: He separated his shoulder lifting a particularly heavy grilled cheese; He has a really REALLY runny nose; His contact lens went around to the back of his eye and he can’t get it out. My theories are exactly as ridiculous as using terms like “upper body injury.”

Adam McQuaid D – Scary frigging surgery omg: Add this guy to the badass list. McQuaid’s issue is enough for an entire post of its own. He had thoracic outlet syndrome, which is a fancy way of saying something was pressing on the blood vessels and nerves that run down your neck and into your torso. He ended up with a blood clot near his shoulder that had to be surgically removed, then underwent another procedure to keep it from happening again. They took out his top rib (YES) and part of a muscle in his neck (YOU HEARD ME). The nerves that run your arm go through there, so the rehab to get back to baseline is significant. Originally projected to be back at the beginning of May, he’s no longer on blood thinners and has been cleared to play. He should start on Saturday but I thought he was worth mentioning because holy crap.

Marc Savard C – Concussion: I contemplated just typing this :( because of these tweets:

 

 

 

I stand by my earlier statement:  :(

 

Buffalo Sabres

Cody McCormick C – Finger: Something happened to McCormick’s finger at the end of last season, and whatever it was hasn’t healed well. He’s skating, but he’s not likely to start the season.

Nathan Gerbe C – Back: Gerbe had neck and back surgery in the offseason, but he’s been skating since mid-December. He’s not cleared for contact yet and is starting the season on IR, but shouldn’t out too much longer.

 

Montreal Canadiens

Tomas Plekanec C – Ribs: Plekanec bruised some ribs while playing in the Czech Republic. It doesn’t sound like much, but bruise a rib and then tell me you’d be willing to play hockey. He was saying he’d be ready in a week to ten days about a week ago, so he should be good for the opener.

Petteri Nokelainen C – Back: Nokelainen is skating, but not consistently. He has some sort of minor but ongoing back injury, but if he’s skating at all I suppose that’s good. Noncommittal, I know. That’s all I’ve got, people.

GUYS GUYS GUYS Andrei Markov isn’t injured!!! This guy might actually be pretty good at hockey with knees that work.

 

Ottawa Senators

Jared Cowen D – Hip: It’s kind of cute that people keep reporting Cowen’s labrum repair as a “potentially season-ending” injury. He’s unlikely to be back this year. While it’s possible to come back from a labrum in less than four to six months, it usually isn’t a great idea (OH HELLO KESLER). I guess it’s possible he could heal in time for the playoffs since they’ll be in, what, August? Of 2014?

Mike Lundin D – Finger: Lundin broke a finger, but he shouldn’t miss more than about a week. Can’t wait to watch him light up the ice with his thrilling oh never mind I can’t do it.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Jake Gardiner D – Concussion: Has anyone actually admitted Gardiner has a concussion yet? Wait, I don’t care. You can toss out words like “whiplash” and say things like “He’s feeling symptoms in his head and neck” all you want. It’s almost impossible to separate whiplash and a concussion, so I’m going with concussion. Marlies coach Dallas Eakins has said he needs another two weeks to recover, and I’d like to invest in the technology he’s using that allows him to predict concussion recovery times. WE’RE GONNA BE RICH.

James van Riemsdyk and Colton Orr – Pucks vs various body parts: JVR took one off the foot and has a bruise, and Orr took one off the hand and dislocated a finger. JVR should start, and although nobody has said anything about Orr (because that’s what the Leafs do), a dislocated finger isn’t that bad. If it was just a simple dislocation with no ligament damage he shouldn’t really miss any time.

 

Southeast Division

 

Carolina Hurricanes

Tuomo Ruutu C – Hip: Don’t be the dumbass that accidentally drafts Ruutu for your fantasy hockey team (yes, I did that), because he probably won’t be back this year. Apparently he’s out a minimum of three months after hip surgery, so this is another Jared Cowen situation – he might be back for the playoffs. I bet the ice in Raleigh is friggin’ awesome in late June.

 

Florida Panthers

Sean Bergenheim LW – Groin: The fact that Bergenheim is having an MRI isn’t a great sign. Neither is the fact that he failed his physical. Groins are the sort of thing that you rehab and rehab and rehab and when that doesn’t work you rehab them some more. Then you have surgery and you’re Rick DiPietro. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen with Bergenheim until that MRI happens and there can be a determination of whether this is a surgical problem or not.

Marcel Goc C – Ankle: Goc sprained his ankle playing in Germany, but he’s rehabbing well and shouldn’t miss more than the first couple of games.

Erik Gudbranson D – Shoulder: A late September wakeboarding incident left Gudbranson with a dislocated shoulder and subsequent surgery. Oh, and a suspension from the team until he can pass a physical. He’s expected to miss the first few games of the season, but should be back shortly thereafter.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

JT Brown RW – Clavicle: Displaced clavicle fractures are disgusting, and that’s a fact. Brown broke his at the end of December, and had it surgically repaired. The good news is it’s easier to heal a clavicle that’s been plated in place than to do the usual “Just suck it up and suffer” approach. He should be back by mid-February.

Mattias Ohlund D – Knee: Ohlund underwent a partial left knee replacement in February of last year after he wore all the cartilage out of it. A partial replacement (in his case he had the bottom part of the femur replaced) is usually a 2-3 month recovery, but Ohlund isn’t even skating (and hasn’t since November of 2011). What’s worse is now he’s started to sound like he doesn’t think he’ll be back at all.

 

Washington Capitals

Nicklas Backstrom C – Neck: THIS IS NOT A CONCUSSION. Sure, Backstrom injured his neck and was having dizziness issues and went to get examined by a neurologist, but IT’S NOT A CONCUSSION. Never mind that he missed half the season last year from a concussion because THIS IS NOT A CONCUSSION. He’s skating. He should start the season with his NON-CONCUSSED head. Backstrom is also responsible for what’s probably the best quote ever: “It’s your head, you only have one head, you can’t really do anything about it.” Preach.

Brooks Laich C – Groin: Laich is skating but not practicing in efforts to tame a groin strain he suffered in Switzerland during the lockout. He’s not going to start the season, and apparently he’s pissed. This isn’t a guy that misses games, and it seems he wanted to just play through this groin thing. That doesn’t really work with groins (or anything), so he’ll be out for a couple of weeks.

Tom Poti D – Groin: Speaking of people who tried to play through groin issues, Poti did, and it didn’t go well. He actually tried to play through a pelvic fracture in the 2010-2011 season, and ended up missing all of last season. He passed his physical this year, played two games with the Hershey Bears (who have a kickass logo), and is likely to start the season with the Caps in Tampa. I want to hug this story.

 

Winnipeg Jets

Nik Antropov C – Upper Body: Come ON, Winnipeg. Be better than this? Upper body? Really? Antropov is practicing and cleared for contact, so I guess he’ll start the season.

 Zach Bogosian D – Wrist: After a ligament surgery on his left wrist (and recent removal of some of the hardware from the surgical site), Bogosian is skating with the team, but not projected to be back until early February.

Antti Miettinen RW – Upper Body: Really??? *FART NOISE* No word on what this is, how long he’ll be out, or when I’ll recover from the fit I just threw at the Jets liberally throwing around the words “upper body injury”. COME ON.

 

Next up: The Western Conference, which is currently suffering from a plague of groin injuries.