Let's check in on the latest news regarding NHL injuries...
The Bad News
Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo is expected to miss the next week or so with an ankle injury. Both the Canucks and the Canadian Olympic team are hopeful the injury doesn’t linger, but the consensus is the damage to his ankle is less than expected. Luongo was hurt Saturday evening in Los Angeles.
Ben Bishop has been placed on injured reserve due with a sprained wrist. The Tampa Bay Lightning netminder last played on Sunday, but there’s no telling if he’ll be ready to come back when he’s eligible on Tuesday. Anders Lindback and Cedric Desjardins are Tampa Bay’s options in net while Bishop is on the shelf.
This week’s ankle surgery will keep Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu sidelined for more than a month. Fellow centers Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund will try to fill the void left by the Wild captain’s absence.
It does not appear veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins at any point in the near future. He suffered a blood clot in late September and has yet to suit up for the team this season.
Veteran defenseman Paul Martin has been out of the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup since the last week of November thanks to a fractured tibia. However, he’s now skating and is hoping to return to action by the Olympics. There is no timetable for his return to the Pens.
Johan Franzen is set to resume practicing. The longtime Detroit Red Wings forward has been out of the lineup since December 15 due to a concussion. However, there is no definitive timetable for his return to action.
Loui Eriksson is participating in some drills in practice, but the Boston Bruins winger has not yet been cleared for contact as he tries to recover from a concussion that has kept him out of action for more than a month. Eriksson hasn’t matched the production fantasy owners are used to from him (5 goals and 14 points in 28 games), but he could flourish in the second half of his inaugural season in Boston once he returns to the lineup.
A multitude of injuries have kept Alex Tanguay off the ice for much of this season. At one point, it looked like the veteran winger was set to undergo season-ending hip surgery. However, he has been skating. There is no timetable for his return.
Nikolai Khabibulin is out for the season following surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff. Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta should see the bulk of the action in net for the Blackhawks for the remainder of this year.
Ryan O'Reilly is day-to-day with a shoulder injury sustained earlier this week.
The New Jersey Devils saw their already questionable offense take another hit this week when top scorer Patrick Elias went down with a shoulder injury described as “more than minor” by head coach Pete DeBoer. There is no timetable for his return at this time.
Tough loss for the Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk is expected to miss roughly six weeks due to a broken hand. The talented young winger had seen his production diminish after a strong start to his sophomore campaign, but his loss will still be felt by the Habs.
There’s no telling when Buffalo Sabres winger Drew Stafford will be able to return to the lineup. He’s been out for seven days due to an upper-body injury and was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
Oft-injured veteran New York Islanders netminder Evgeni Nabokov is expected to be sidelined for approximately two weeks due to an undisclosed injury (quad strain?). Kevin Poulin will see an increased workload for the Islanders while Nabokov heals.
The Good News
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was set to return to the lineup Thursday after missing a pair of games due an upper-body injury he sustained from this hit during last week’s game against Columbus. The Phoenix Coyotes defenseman missed two games.
Steven Stamkos is feeling better. The Tampa Bay forward skated for about 30 minutes earlier this week as part of his rehab for a broken leg. He’s still dealing with some pain, but at least he is progressing in his recovery.