Injury updates on Booth, Krejci, Lecavalier and Letang.
Get the stretcher (latest injuries):
David Booth is having a similar season as Ryan Kesler in that he missed the start of the season recovering from an injury, got healthy enough to play several games only to suffer another significant injury. Booth was hurt beating out an icing in the first period Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings. He is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain.
When will the NHL realize that they need to go to no-touch icing? Yes the race for the puck can be exciting but the NHL is much better with its players playing rather than getting hurt in a race for the puck. This rant is for another time and I am sure Don Cherry will have something to say about it on the next Coach’s Corner.
The Vancouver Canucks have had issues all season long with their second line as Kesler and Booth have missed significant time. Over the last couple games the Canucks have run with Andrew Ebbett, Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond as the second line. Hansen is playing some of the best hockey of his career (nine points in last nine games) and is seeing significant power play time. Raymond is an UFA this off-season could be traded at the deadline. So for now don’t expect a consistent group for the second line as Vancouver is struggling and they will try everyone but the Twins there.
David Krejci took a shot off his leg Sunday from his own teammate while playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Boston Globe quoted coach Claude Julien on Monday saying, “Considering where he got hit, it could have been worse. Right now we’re dealing with it as a day-to-day situation. We’ll see.” The good news is his leg is not fractured and he is feeling better but he didn’t play Tuesday and is questionable for Thursday.
A healthy Nathan Horton playing alongside Milan Lucic has helped Krejci to a fantastic season with 24 points in 27 games. He has registered a point in every game but eight this season and only once this season has he gone pointless in two straight games. He is currently scoring at a 0.89 points per game (ptspg) pace tying a career high set back in 2008-09.
The Boston Bruins called up Ryan Spooner who centered Lucic and Horton. Coach Julien stated, “We’re giving him opportunity to play with some good players.” He played just over 15 minutes and had two shots on net. Spooner is having a great AHL season, scoring 12 goals and 45 points in 50 games.
Vincent Lecavalier is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury that he suffered last week against the Florida Panthers. The Tampa Tribune reported that the injury was bone related and not ligaments this is positive news. Ligament injury would likely have Vinny out for the season whereas bone injury could be a three-four week timetable.
Lecavalier was having somewhat of a bounce back season after his points per game dipped from 0.87, 0.85, and 0.83 to 0.77 last season. This year he has 22 points in 26 games, which is 0.85 points per game. Going forward he should be a consistent 0.85 ptspg (70 points over an 82 game) player but injuries are starting to pile up and he is getting older so don’t count on him playing too many more full seasons.
Nate Thompson seems to be the benefactor of Vinny’s injury as he has moved up to the second line. This hasn’t yet translated into higher production but he is getting three-four more minutes of ice time per game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten very little production from their second line of Thompson, Ryan Malone and BJ Crombeen over the last four games. Just two points, something has to change if the Lightning are to find a way back into a playoff spot.
Kris Letang left Sunday’s game against the Bruins after aggravating a previous injury. He missed three games in February due to a lower body injury and sounds like he is suffering from the same injury. This is good news bad news situation, the good news is that it is not a new injury the bad news is that if not properly healed it could continue to re-aggravate throughout the rest of the season and during the playoffs. The Penguins are a lock for playoffs so bet on them taking every precaution to make sure this injury is fully healed before he returns.
Letang is enjoying a career season scoring 28 points in 27 games. Scoring over a point a game has put him into Norris Trophy consideration. Ironically the first game he missed was against the Washington Capitals who are the Pens opponent for the first game he will miss this time around.
Paul Martin saw an increase in ice time during Letang’s injury in February, jumping up to 28 minutes a game, an increase of three minutes. He will move up to the first power play unit again. He is producing points at 0.64 ptspg that is the highest of his career. Martin is on pace for 29 points in this shortened season, over an 82 game season that would be 52 points. He played over 28 minutes Tuesday night against the caps and scored a power play goal.
Pull Off the Band-Aid (poised for a return to action):
Martin Brodeur was activated off IR and served as Johan Hedberg’s back up in Tuesday’s loss to the New York Rangers. Sounds like he will get his first start on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. This is great news for New Jersey Devil fans as the Devils went 3-7-2 without Brodeur and were outscored 27-41 over that span. Be sure to dress him in your next scoring period.
Michael Grabner has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since March 14 and is targeting a return either Thursday or Friday. He is on pace for 18 goals this season, which over an 82 game season would be another 30+ goal season. His return will cost Joshua Bailey his spot on the second line.
Mike Green is hoping to return to the Caps line-up either Thursday or Sunday. He has missed 42 games last season from a groin injury and is dealing with another groin injury this year. It has not been an easy road for Green or the Caps after his two 70+ points season. When Green returns it will cost Jack Hillen or Jeff Schultz their roster spot.
Patric Hornqvist has been out with an upper body injury since March 9 and could return to action later this week. When healthy he is a solid offensive threat as proven by his eight points in the 14 games this season. He has already missed 10 games this season from a knee injury so if he does come back dress with caution. He is a solid 0.60 ptspg player on a Nashville Predator team that desperately needs offense.
Marian Hossa was hit into the boards by Colorado Avalanche player Ryan O’Byrne Monday and suffered an upper body injury. He left in the first period and didn’t return. Consider him day-to-day for now until more information is available. The good news for the Chicago Blackhawks is that after Wednesday game they are off till Monday, so there is plenty of time to recover if the injury isn’t serious.
Andrei Loktionov has been out with an undisclosed injury since leaving Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers and is hoping to return to action on Thursday. The change in scenery has been a huge blessing for him as he exploded for three goals and five points in the first six games with the Devils. He has cooled off a little but the potential is there, especially if he gets more ice time with Ilya Kovalchuk.
Dmitry Orlov made his season debut Tuesday night against the Penguins. Orlov has been out with two concussions. The Washington Times reported “Orlov played four games since returning from the concussion-induced absence, putting up three assists. Most importantly, the symptoms were gone.” Great news for Orlov owners and strong showing the AHL, he is ready to get back to producing in the NHL. He played just under 12 minutes and didn’t register any offensive stats. Orlov’s return pushed Tom Poti out of the line-up.
T.J. Oshie is looking to return to action this weekend for the St. Louis Blues after missing three games due to a rib injury. Oshie has maintained the same scoring pace over his NHL career, which is around 0.65 ptspg. After producing at this rate for five seasons its pretty clear that is what you can expect from him (19 goals and 50 points).