Can anyone explain what’s up with the rash of groin injuries in the Western conference? And why Colorado is the only Northwest team with any players left? Me neither. Here’s an injury rundown anyway.
Steve Montador D – Concussion: Once you’ve had one concussion you’re more susceptible to others. Steve Montador found this out for himself towards the end of the lockout. He’d been cleared to play after a concussion in February of last year ended his season (except for a one-game attempt at a comeback), but re-concussed himself after a collision on the ice during an informal practice. There’s no timeline for his return.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Cam Atkinson RW – Lower Body: Whatever this mystery ailment is, Columbus coach Todd Richards has said he’s not worried about Atkinson’s ability to start the season. As far as I’m concerned lower body injury = “damn, this blister really smarts” from now on.
Detroit Red Wings
Carlo Colaiacovo D – Shoulder: This is the only guy I can think of who’s been both temporarily deaf and temporarily blind from pucks to the head. While interesting, that’s not why he’s hurt this time. Colaiacovo’s new teammate Damien Brunner gave him a sore shoulder at this year’s Spengler Cup (which Canada won, just in case you forgot). He’s likely to start the season.
Patrick Eaves RW – Concussion: A broken jaw over a year ago was only supposed to be a six to eight week rehab for Eaves. Unfotunately, his broken jaw came with a concussion, so he’s been out since November of 2011. He’s been cleared for contact, played in a team scrimmage, and hopefully he’ll be playing in regular season games soon.
Darren Helm C – Back: Helm tweaked his back lifting weights (not pancakes), but an MRI was negative for any damage. He’s not expected to play this weekend, but he shouldn’t be gone much longer than that.
Todd Bertuzzi, Jakub Kindl, Mikael Samuelsson – Groin, groin, groin: Samuelsson should play, Kindl and Bertuzzi are unknowns, but both had “tightness”, not actual groin-blowout injuries. These may all be groin false alarms.
Gabriel Bourque LW – Lower Body: Bourque is expected to miss two to three more weeks with the <insert random injury here> that’s been nagging him since the start of the AHL season. He missed about half the games so far this season while he’s been playing with the Milwaukee Admirals. I bet it’s his groin. It’s always the groin.
St. Louis Blues
Nothing to see here, mostly because Carlo Colaiacovo plays for Detroit now.
Anton Babchuk D – Shoulder: An injury in the KHL will keep Babchuk out for three weeks. He’s skating, but no contact just yet.
Lance Bouma C – Knee: In October Bouma sprained his right ACL and MCL ligaments, and ended his season. A sprain doesn’t sound like much, but if it’s severe it can mean a complete tears of the ligament. The MCL and ACL are major players in keeping your lower leg in the right place and your knee joint stable, so tearing both of them is a huge deal. If this is an unhappy triad – a term referring to tears of the ACL, MCL, and meniscus (knee cartilage) – this is a six to nine month recovery. Even if this is just an ACL/MCL, he’s still facing four to six months.
Roman Cervenka C – DVT: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a fancy way of saying you’ve got a great big clot in a vein somewhere. In Cervenka’s case, he blocked a shot in the KHL in November and ended up with a blood clot in his leg. Depending on who you ask, after a traumatic DVT you need three to six months of blood-thinning drugs to prevent the clot from spreading, or from pieces breaking off and going somewhere important like your lung. Being anticoagulated doesn’t mean you can’t play – Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann has a history of DVT and PE (clots in the lung), plays on anticoagulants, and is pretty good. Interestingly enough, Jay Feaster has said Cervenka can’t play while anticoagulated, but Jiri Hudler, a graduate of the Mark Recchi School of Medicine, has said Cervenka is ready to go and just in need of some reconditioning. Cervenka is skating, but that’s about it at the moment. It’ll be interesting to see if Feaster goes with Dr. Hudler’s recommendation on getting Cervenka cleared.
On a non-injury-related note, Hudler’s dad died this week, so he’s been in the Czech Republic with his family. If he wants to make injury predictions, more power to him. The guy gets a pass for just about anything he wants right now.
Jarome Iginla RW – Groin: Iginla sat out the first few practices with a sore groin, but is expected to start Sunday. If you have any doubts, injury expert Alex Tanguay (another graduate of the MRSoM) says he’ll play.
No injured players, but Greg Zanon’s terrifying beard may not survive training camp. On that note, I just hurt myself laughing at Daniel Wagner’s delightful post on players who let themselves go during the lockout. Damn right Zanon is on there.
Ryan Jones LW – Eye: Supporting my argument that everyone should wear a visor is Ryan Jones’ nasty eye injury. He took a puck in the eye on New Years Eve and ented up with a torn retina that required surgery. He’ll probably miss the first few weeks of the season, but when he comes back he’ll be in a visor. Reminder: You only get two eyes, and you can’t replace them like teeth.
Nikolai Khabibulin G – Left Hip: Khabby had a left hip labrum repair in April, and was supposed to start the season. He wasn’t happy with how he was doing in training camp, so he’s on IR for now. Doesn’t sound like this is a long-term issue.
Theo Peckham D – Hip: A strained hip flexor last week and some lockout-induced chunkiness may have Peckham starting the season in Oklahoma City for a conditioning stint. Hip flexors are the muscles that help you lift your leg at the hip, so they’re pretty crucial for things like skating, walking, losing lockout weight, etc. He sat out a few practice sessionsbut has been skating, so it remains to be seen where he’ll end up.
Andy Sutton D – Knee: Sutton’s knee is bad enough that he won’t play this season, and may not play again at all. What started out as just a scope in October progressed to bone fragments in the joint, and now a loss of cartilage. That’s a long-term recovery for a 37-year-old guy who hasn’t exactly been soft on his joints thus far.
Jonas Brodin D – Clavicle: A clavicle repair surgery in early November shouldn’t keep Brodin out much longer. He’s skating, taking contact, and probably only needs a week or two more. In case you forgot, broken clavicles are gross. The surgery is grosser. Not having the surgery and suffering through grinding bones for weeks is the grossest.
Marco Scandella D – Groin: Scandella has been nursing a groin injury, but he’s skating and should be back in a couple of weeks. I also promise I’ll never use the phrase “nursing a groin injury” ever again.
David Booth LW – Groin: David Booth injured his groin right at the start of training camp, and now he’s out for six weeks. Or at least that’s the current estimate. As we all know, groins are total dicks, and rarely play by the rules.
Ryan Kesler C – Shoulder, wrist: Back in May Kesler had a shoulder labrum repaired (and I wrote about it). In June he had a tendon procedure on his wrist. His original timeline had him ready by December, but his agent said at the time that he wasn’t going to rush back, and wouldn’t be ready for months. Now GM Mike Gillis is saying he’s been doing very well and could be back soon. At least this time nobody can accuse him of coming back too soon.
Hampus Lindholm D – Concussion: Lindholm had two concussions in very short order this fall, the second of which kept him out of Sweden’s WJC games. While he’s traveling and practicing with the team, the Ducks don’t seem inclined to rush him back on the ice.
Sami Vatanen D – Foot: A blocked shot last week in the AHL last week will keep Vatanen out of the first game, but like Lindholm he’s also traveling and practicing with the team.
Teemu Selanne RW – Excellence: Teemu’s problem is that he’s the best. Other players may feel inadequate in the face of his total kickassery.
Aaron Rome D – Groin: Rome’s groin is sore, but not really hurt per se. He’s expected to play in one of the first three games. This seems to be more of a groin rest situation than a groin blowout situation.
Derek Roy C – Shoulder: Roy had surgery in July to fix the constantly-dislocating shoulder that marred his last season in Buffalo. He’s cleared to play, and could be ready to go for the opener. Now stop and think for a second about an Eriksson-(healthy) Roy-Jagr first line. Fascinating.
Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar C – Knee: Kopitar suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in early January, which carries a three to four week recovery period. He’s skating, taking contact, and doing well, so he seems to be on track for a return in late January.
Willie Mitchell D – Knee: Mitchell isn’t on Kopitar’s track, as he’s two months post-op from knee surgery and still isn’t skating. He had some cartilage removed from the joint, but pushed his recovery and suffered a setback. Having said all that, apparently “not skating” doesn’t include pond shinny.
Shane Doan RW – Lower Body: Whatever this mystery problem is, it may or may not keep Doan out of the opening game. Dave Tippett’s rock-solid answer on whether he’d be playing was an unequivocal “I hope so.” You’re welcome for that solid piece of info.
Boyd Gordon C – Upper Body: A collision with Kyle Chipchura early this month has kept Gordon from practicing, and word is he’ll be out for two weeks. New guesses for what an upper body injury could be: Heartburn, a migraine, a really bad haircut.
Zbynek Michalek D – Hip: Michalek had surgery in May, and also may or may not be ready for Saturday. I may or may not be tired of typing that. If I was a gambling sort, I’d probably bet he’ll be ready to go.
San Jose Sharks
Justin Braun D – Hand: A fractured hand he picked up in Finland seems to be healing well as Braun is practicing with the team. He’s not a guarantee for the first game against the Flames, but he’s also not definitely out.
Brent Burns D – Groin: Burns had groin/sports hernia surgery in the spring, and has skated a bit but nobody seems to have a straight answer about whether he’ll start. The consensus right now seems to be he won’t.
Jason Demers D – Wrist: A broken wrist was Demers’ Spengler Cup souvenir. He’ll likely be out until mid-February. Canada won, but a broken wrist is a pretty crappy prize.
Here’s wishing the best of luck to any players who made the move from the Eastern to the Western conference this year. It’s not a great place to be if you’re a groin. Or if you have a groin. I really HOPE you have a groin. Okay, never mind. I’ll stop.