On a busy Thursday night in the NHL, here are some news and notes regarding a couple of Battle teams. Injuries have been a hot topic around the league. Some teams have been hit hard.
The biggest one is Tampa captain Steven Stamkos, who is expected to miss two up to four months due to a torn right meniscus in his knee. He has had some awful luck. He already underwent surgery. The latest injury occurred four days prior to the three-year anniversary when he broke his fibula. A freak injury where he collided with the goalpost at Boston. Of course, he also missed significant time last year which kept him out of almost the entire postseason. The Lightning made the Conference Final without him but lost to the Penguins.
The Flames also took a hit with star Johnny Gaudreau, who will be out a while due to a broken finger. He underwent successful surgery. They’re already a bad team. Without Johnny Hockey, yikes.
The Devils have lost leading scorer Taylor Hall for three to four weeks. Fortunately, his meniscus surgery won’t keep him out long term. He was tied for the team lead in scoring with 12 points including five goals, which tie him with P.A. Parenteau. Without him and Mike Cammalleri (personal issues), the red hot Devs will need continued scoring from overtime hero Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, Parenteau, Travis Zajac and Damon Severson. Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid have provided quality goaltending.
In the mean time, they recalled forward Blake Pietila. He is a solid energy guy who can play in a supporting role and kill penalties. The Devils also get back defenseman Jon Merrill, who will make his season debut when they visit the Ducks tonight. Yohann Auvitu comes out. The first change to their D this season.
The Rangers got some good news on Chris Kreider, who returned to practice Thursday. After missing the past couple of games with a “secret injury” it looks like he’s good to go for tomorrow night’s road match at Columbus. To make room for him, rookie Cristoval Nieves was sent back to Hartford. Pavel Buchnevich remains day-to-day with back spasms. If he is out for tomorrow, Oscar Lindberg remains in.
With a condensed schedule plus a five-day vacation for the NHLPA, the injuries will continue. It’ll be the teams with the best depth who survive.