In this week's edition of Carried Off there will be updates on Diaz, Kesler, Tarasenko, Theodore and Ward.
Get the stretcher (latest injuries):
Raphael Diaz is out indefinitely as he is still suffering from concussion symptoms. This is the second big blow to Diaz owners this season, with the first being the re-signing of P.K. Subban. Diaz has 13 points in 19 games after scoring just 16 in 59 games last year as a rookie.
This is Diaz’s second major injury in his short career as he missed the final 16 regular season games last year with a lower body injury. This is not a good trend for the smaller 5-11 Swiss defenseman.
With Diaz out there is a slim chance Tomas Kaberle will see some power play time but it’s more likely that Andrei Markov and Subban will play the majority if not all of the man advantage. Either way don’t count on power play points from any other Habs defencemen other then the big two until Diaz gets back.
Ryan Kesler finally got back into the line-up after missing the start of the season with shoulder and wrist injuries, unfortunately it was short lived as broke his foot and is now out 4-6 weeks.
The good news for the Vancouver Canucks is that they are use to playing without Kesler and they play in the weakest division in the NHL so their playoff spot is not in danger.
It’s time for GM Mike Gillis to move Roberto Luongo and bring in a top six forward that can play center. Until the Canucks make a move expect a rotating door on that second line, as they will try everyone there.
Vladimir Tarasenko is out indefinitely with a concussion. He didn’t skate on Saturday but was seen riding the bike, so at least he is keeping up his conditioning.
Tarasenko was a shoe-in to win the Calder Trophy before the injury as he was tearing up the NHL. Six goals, 12 points, 20 hits, 37 SOG and one game winner in 17 games, very impressive stats for a rookie playing for a defensive minded coach.
In the five games prior to the concussion the St. Louis Blues went 3-1-1 and averaged 3.6 goals a game (18 total in five games). In the next five games, including the game he got hit the Blues went 2-2-1 and averaged 1.4 goals a game (seven total in five games), including being shutout twice.
For a team that struggles offensively the loss of Tarasenko is huge.
Jose Theodore made one save Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes and was forced to leave the game. He was diagnosed with a torn groin muscle and is considering season-ending surgery. Theodore going down creates so many questions in net for the Florida Panthers as they have to decide whether to go with the veteran Scott Clemmensen, the future of the franchise Jacob Markstrom or do they make a trade for Roberto Luongo.
Clemmensen proved he could handle the duties back in 2008-09 when he started 39 games while Martin Brodeur miss close to half the season. He posted a 25-13-1 record with two shutouts, 2.39 GAA and .917 SV%. He signed with Florida and has started 20-25 games a season and has ok numbers, but he is not the answer for Florida.
Markstrom is the future for the Panthers and the future could start now. He is a very tall goalie with a ton of upside and he is NHL ready. He has played two seasons in the AHL where he has decent numbers with a 33-32-2 record with 2 shutouts and a 2.68 GAA. Markstrom is the long-term answer and may get his shot now but the potential Weiss for Luongo deal could give the Panthers short-term stability. Stay tuned for more details.
Cam Ward left Sunday’s game in the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes and didn’t return. This is a huge blow to the Southeast leading Canes as he is out 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL.
Hurricanes management have come out and said they plan on going with their back-ups Dan Ellis and Justin Peters while Ward is out. Grab Ellis now, as he will be the starter going forward. He is a proven starter who is reliable and consistent. Expect him to put up decent numbers for the Canes and won’t be challenged for the starting role until Ward is healthy.
Pull Off the Band-Aid (poised for a return to action):
Craig Anderson is making progress as he recovers from an ankle injury and is getting close to a return. Anderson was skating several times this past week and even took shots on Friday. In his 15 starts this season he is 8-4-2 with two shutouts and a very low 1.49 GAA. Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner have played great for the Sens keeping them in games despite all the injuries. Once Anderson is ready Lehner will be sent back to the AHL.
Brandon Dubinsky is another Columbus Blue Jacket who got hurt as he was heating up. He scored eight points in the 11 games prior to injury. Dubinsky is a strong two-way player who is a solid depth player in roto pools or in pools that reward goals and PIMs. The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Dubinsky could return later this week.
Taylor Hall missed Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild due to tightness in his hamstring and it’s not sure the seriousness of this injury for now he is day-to-day and likely to miss the next few games. Looks like Nail Yakupov will benefit with Hall out, as he will see time on the top line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.
Jack Johnson could be ready to return for the start of the next scoring period. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Johnson is maybe a week away on February 27, which means a potential return this weekend. The injury couldn’t have happen at a worse time as he was finally starting to find his groove with eight points in the 12 games prior to getting hurt. Keep an eye on him, as he is getting very close to returning to the ice.
Ryan Malone could return to the Bolts line-up this week after missing most of February with a lower body injury. Malone is a massive, goal scoring power forward who will bump the struggling Benoit Pouliot off the line with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis once he is ready to go. Malone hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year but has put up six 20+ goal seasons.
Andrej Meszaros is inching closer to making his return from a shoulder injury and it could happen this week as he practice on Friday. After losing Matt Carle to free agency and Chris Pronger to a concussion the Philadelphia Flyers could really use another veteran presence on the blue line. Once Meszaros is healthy it will either be Erik Gustafsson or Bruno Gervais who will lose their spot.
Milan Michalek is back practicing with the Ottawa Senators and is travelling with the team on their current road trip. He didn’t play this weekend but is getting very close to returning from his knee injury. Michalek has a long list of past injury woes but the Senators could really use his scoring touch. David Dziurzynski who scored two goals in nine games this season will likely be the one sent back to Binghamton when Michalek is finally ready to go.
Kyle Palmieri left the first period of Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes with an upper body injury after being hit by Raffi Torres. Palmieri has already set career highs in GP, G and PTS and is coming off his first career hat trick on February 27 against the Nashville Predators. The Orange County Register is reporting the coach Bruce Boudreau believes the injury isn’t that serious and hopes he is correct as Palmieri was showing great chemistry with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the top line. He is day-to-day for now until more information is available.
Thomas Vanek missed Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils with an upper body injury. There are no real details out there regarding what is exactly wrong with Vanek or when he could return so for now consider him day-to-day. Vanek has cooled off in the last two weeks with just two points in the last five games he has played. Hopefully for Vanek owners this injury is the reason he has cooled off and not his regular routine of hot starts to a season before cooling off and disappearing.
Kris Versteeg is getting very close to hitting the ice again as he is almost fully recovered from a chest injury. He travelled with the team to Carolina this past weekend but didn’t play, which is a great sign he is making progress. Versteeg had great chemistry last year with Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann as he set career highs in G and PTS and could help get Weiss back on track.