With the All-Star break just around the corner, the residents of this week’s Injury Ward should have plenty of time to rest and recover. For the most part, we should be expecting a lot of returns following the break. Oh, and while I have your attention, do yourself a favour and follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for the latest injury updates. Every new follower increases my self-esteem by one percentage point. Get on it, people!
Ondrej Kase – His arm is in a sling and he hasn’t been practicing (I rhyme all the time). After Wednesday’s contest against the Blues, Anaheim’s next game is on February 2nd – giving Kase plenty of time to rest. I should have a better update for you next week.
Ryan Kesler – Last we heard, he was sent back to Anaheim to have his lower-body injury evaluated while the team was on the road. We also know he hasn’t been practicing, which is a good indicator that he won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday against St. Louis. This All-Star/bye week break comes at a great time for players to heal injuries.
Jakob SIlfverberg – Hasn’t been practicing. The All-Star break and bye week that follows should give SIlfverberg more than enough time to rest. Expect him to return some time in early February. Whether or not he’s still a Duck when he returns is a completely different matter…
Corey Perry – The Ducks’ forward participated in his first practice on Monday morning after being on the shelf for the past few months. He sported a non-contact jersey and took part in drills with the rest of his teammates. When he injured his knee in late September, surgery was expected to keep him out of the lineup for about five months. That timeline still seems to be in place, so expect a return in late February/early March.
Tuukka Rask – During Saturday’s game against the Rangers, Filip Chytil came speeding down the wing and was knocked into Rask as he reached the front of the net. The Bruins goaltender suffered a concussion on the play and will be out for the foreseeable future as a result. Jaroslav Halak will take over the starting duties in Rask’s absence, but don’t be fooled by his stats from this season. While his overall numbers – 2.47 GAA and .919 SV% – are fantastic, he hasn’t posted a save percentage above .900 in his last five outings.
Jordan Staal – While he has been skating on his own and generally feeling better, he hasn’t yet practiced with the team. It sounds like he’s still dealing with the symptoms of a concussion suffered earlier in the season, and we all know how unpredictable the recovery from a concussion can be.
Corey Crawford – Was seen on the ice before Saturday’s practice, participating in a few drills and taking a few light shots. Coach Jeremy Colliton kind of put things into perspective when he was asked about Crawford’s status, “The day-to-day, it doesn’t really matter. It’s over time. Is he feeling better? Is he progressing? I just want him to be happy and over time, feel better. And then we’ll see if he can play at the end of that." Recovering from a concussion is no easy task for an athlete. He obviously wants to be playing the game he loves, but his long-term health is at risk here. The fact that Crawford was back on the ice makes me think he’s been feeling better for a good stretch of time. Unfortunately, there is no chronological order to the recovery from a concussion. Just because he’s been feeling well recently, doesn’t mean he’s going to continue feeling better and better with time. The reality is, there are going to be some good days and some bad days – the process is unpredictable. For Crawford’s sake, I hope the good days outnumber the bad ones. From a fantasy hockey perspective, only one Blackhawks goalie currently holds value and his name is Collin Delia. While Delia’s 3.00 GAA is a bit high, his .923 SV% in ten appearances this season is quite impressive. Much more impressive than Cam Ward’s .884 Sv% and 3.99 GAA…
Erik Johnson – Is currently dealing with concussion-like symptoms that will keep him out of the lineup on Wednesday when Colorado hosts the Wild. The All-Star break and bye week that follows should give him a chance to rest.
Oscar Klefbom – The Edmonton Oilers play their next game on February 2nd against the Flyers and it appears Klefbom will be in the lineup for that contest. By my count, the Oilers won just six of 19 games in Klefbom’s absence – don’t underestimate the impact he has on the lineup.
Matt Dumba – His arm is in a brace to keep it in place (I rhyme all the time x2). It’s going to remain in a brace for a couple more weeks, after which we’ll have a better idea of when exactly he’ll be back. As of right now, there’s no guarantee he returns this season. In related news, Minnesota made a move to acquire Brad Hunt which should help lessen the blow of Dumba’s absence. Check out what our very own Mr. Michael Clifford thinks about that trade over here.
Andrew Shaw – Has been skating on his own but won’t start practicing with his teammates until after the All-Star break.
Taylor Hall – While we still don’t know when exactly he’ll be back, we do know Kyle Palmieri will be filling in for him at the All-Star game, giving Hall even more time to rest and recover. Don’t expect him to be out too much longer after the break.
Brian Elliot – Has been skating, but we don’t have a timetable for his return. 20-year-old Carter Hart has been excellent as the starting goalie in Philadelphia. In 12 appearances, Hart has a 6-5-1 record alongside a 2.66 GAA and .918 SV%.
Justin Schultz – If all goes according to plan, he’ll be practicing with the team immediately after the break. At this point, we can expect a return somewhere around the middle of February.
Erik Karlsson – The Sharks defenseman was sent back to San Jose for some tests that will determine his status for the All-Star game. This isn’t a situation of a player that wants to avoid the All-Star game so they have more time to rest. Erik Karlsson very much wants to be a part of the festivities – especially as a member of the home team. The Sharks should provide us with an update once they have the results of those tests.
David Perron – As far as we know, he didn’t travel to California and won’t be in the lineup against Anaheim on Wednesday. The upper-body injury doesn’t seem to be too serious, so expect him to return shortly after the break. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Perron has a point in each of his last 13 games. Not bad!
Jake Gardiner – Has been dealing with back spasms for the past week, which were severe enough to keep him out of Monday’s practice. His status for Wednesday’s game against the Capitals is questionable, but I’d expect he sits out so he can have an extended rest into the All-Star break and bye week.
Reilly Smith – Has been practicing but hasn’t been taking contact. While he probably won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday when Vegas hosts Nashville, expect him to return shortly after the break.
Dustin Byfuglien – While it’s possible he returns during the week (that begins on Jan 28th) that immediately follows the All-Star break, there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready. At this point, an early February return seems the most likely.
Nikolaj Ehlers – We can start expecting a return a week after the All-Star break. The original timeline that saw him return in early-to-mid February is still accurate.