The carefully guarded secrets of NASA? The CIA? Nope, it's NHL player injuries, and our spy Mike Schmidt digs up what he can for you, the good DobberHockey reader.
San Jose vs. Los Angeles
Martin Havlat made little more than a special guest appearance in San Jose’s first round series against Vancouver. He saw about three minutes of ice time before exiting with a groin injury. The injury led the Sharks to use Raffi Torres on the second line with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture. That is unlikely to change during the team’s second round series with the Kings, regardless of whether or not Havlat returns to the lineup. It is believed Havlat will be able to return to the lineup at some point during the series. Sharks defenseman Jason Demers is stilllooking to return to action after sustaining an ankle injury in a mid-April game against Minnesota. However, he is close to being able ready to play. San Jose winger Adam Burish is expected to miss the entire series againstLos Angeles after injuring his hand in the fourth game of the Vancouver series. The physical forward scored a career-high 19 points in 65 games with Dallas a season ago, but he managed just three in 46 games in his inaugural campaign with the Sharks this year.
Kings defenseman Matt Greene practiced Monday, but he sat out of Tuesday’s game against San Jose due to an ailing back. This comes as no surprise, as back troubles limited the veteran d-man to just one game during the regular season. A key member of last year’s Stanley Cup championship team, Greene has been replaced by recent blueline acquisitions like Robyn Regehr and Keaton Ellerby. Los Angeles winger Kyle Clifford wasn’t able to take to the ice in the sixth and final game of his team’s first round series against St. Louis, nor was he able to suit up for the opening game of the second round series against San Jose. He is out with an undisclosed injury.
Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh
It had long been the prevailing thought that Jason Spezza’s herniated disc and subsequent back surgery would keep Ottawa’s No. 1 center out of the lineup until the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign. While there were some whispers he could return at some point in the playoffs, it seemed highly unlikely. Then came news that Spezza returned to the ice to practice with his team on Sunday. His body is not ready for game action just yet, but it is possible he’ll see action at some point this postseason. The 29-year-old saw action in just five games this lockout-shortened season. He is day-to-day at this point. Meanwhile, Ottawa defenseman Patrick Wiercioch remains sidelined with a lower-body injury sustained in the third game of the squad’s opening round series against Montreal. There is no timetable for his return. Eric Gryba suffered an upper-body injury in the opening game of the semifinal round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did not return to the game.
New York vs. Boston
Marc Staal’s injured eye still is giving him some issues, and it caused the New York Rangers defenseman to miss all but one of the first round games against Washington. It’s hard to say if or when he’ll be back in action for the Rangers. Rangers forwards Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe are both dealing with concussions. Neither played in the last few games of the Washington series. Both remain day-to-day. Meanwhile, Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel is out with a wrist injury.
Some sort of leg injury kept Boston defenseman Andrew Ference out of action for the final two games of his squad’s opening round series against Toronto. It is unclear if or when he’ll be able to return to the lineup. Wade Redden took his spot in the lineup for the sixth game of theToronto, but it seems Ference could see action moving forward.
Detroit vs. Chicago
Surprise! Oft-injured Detroit forward Mikael Samuelsson left practice Monday with a shoulder injury. Expect Samuelsson (who hasn’t scored a goal in an NHL game since April 7 of last year) to see limited minutes on the fourth line if he is able to play in Wednesday’s second round opener against host Chicago.