Here’s the latest news in the world of NHL injuries! To see injury updates from around the league as soon as they’re made public, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
Rasmus Dahlin – Skated with his teammates on Tuesday, for the first time since he suffered a concussion a couple of weeks ago. It’s extremely difficult to gauge exactly how long someone will need to recover from a concussion, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. While the team’s medical staff hasn’t yet cleared him for contact, Dahlin says he’s been feeling a lot better recently. He should return to the lineup shortly after he starts taking contact in practice. It’s interesting to note that the Sabres have scored on just 12 percent of their power-play opportunities in these past eight games without Dahlin in the lineup.
Matthew Tkachuk – An upper-body injury kept him out of the lineup on Tuesday against the Coyotes and he’s officially listed as day-to-day. Tkachuk reportedly suffered the injury after a collision with Nikita Zadorov during Monday’s game against the Avalanche. It is worth mentioning that he returned to the game following that collision. Calgary’s next game is on Thursday against the Maple Leafs, Tkachuk’s status for that game hasn’t yet been determined.
Erik Haula – Is not travelling with the team on a road trip which will take them through Vancouver on Thursday, Calgary on Saturday, Winnipeg on Tuesday and Colorado next Thursday. As I mentioned last week, he’s dealing with tendonitis – an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, which attaches bone to muscle.
Duncan Keith – Still hasn’t started skating as part of his recovery from a groin injury and is officially considered week-to-week. The Blackhawks have lost four of six games since Keith went down with the injury, conceding 24 goals in the process.
Andrew Shaw – Was placed on long-term injured reserve as he recovers from a concussion, meaning he isn’t eligible to return to the lineup until December 27th. Shaw put up a career-high 47 points in 63 games with the Habs last year, but he’s seeing a smaller role in Chicago and will be hard-pressed to replicate that kind of production this season.
Cale Makar – The rookie scoring leader won’t return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Flyers. He’s still officially day-to-day with an upper-body injury but has been skating on his own – not taking contact just yet. Coach Jared Bednar originally said it’s possible that Makar gets back in the lineup on Friday when Colorado hosts New Jersey, but has since updated Friday’s status to doubtful. Samuel Girard has taken over the top power-play in Makar’s absence.
Nazem Kadri – Was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice and will return to the lineup on Wednesday when Colorado hosts the Flyers. Kadri has been producing at a 60-point pace so far this season and his return will bring the Avalanche one step closer to a healthy roster – something they haven’t had for a very long time.
Erik Johnson – Did not practice with the team on Tuesday but could resume skating at some point this week. Johnson’s role has changed since he was drafted first overall by the Blues back in 2006. He had been getting a good amount of power-play time during his first 10 seasons in the NHL, but the emergence of Girard and Makar as better offensive defensemen has since relieved him of his power-play duties.
Zach Werenski – Still a few weeks left in the original four-week timeline for his shoulder injury, but he was on the ice for a few drills before Wednesday’s team skate and even stayed on the ice to participate in practice. I get the feeling he could return ahead of schedule.
Andreas Athanasiou – The team hopes to have him back on Thursday when they host the Jets. Detroit is on a 12-game losing streak as their last win came a month ago against the Ducks. Athanasiou has just five goals in 29 games this year after putting up 30 goals in 76 games last season.
Anthony Mantha – Hasn’t been practicing since he suffered a knee injury on November 23rd. The team originally announced that he’d be out a couple of weeks, but I don’t expect him to be back any time soon. Once he starts practicing and taking contact, we can start talking about a return. I think you’d be wise to buy low on Mantha as his owner might not want to wait indefinitely for him to get back in the lineup. They might want to cut all ties with a Red Wings team that has lost 12 straight games. Mantha has 23 points in 25 games this year and is capable of great offensive production when healthy.
Jimmy Howard – Has been skating but coach Jeff Blashill still doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back. The plan is for him to continue doing drills and eventually work him back into practice when he starts getting more comfortable.
Mikko Koivu – He’s on injured reserve but is eligible to return as soon as Thursday after sitting out for the required seven days. Of course, his return will have to wait until he’s fully healthy, and it sounds like that could take another couple of weeks.
Eric Staal – Was down on the ice for a while after colliding with a linesman during Tuesday’s game against the Ducks. Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t have an update on Staal after the game and since the team is off on Wednesday, we’ll probably have to wait until Thursday to hear more.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Was placed on injured reserve and won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday against the Senators. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s never easy to set a recovery timetable for a concussion. The team will continue to monitor his progress each day and once he’s feeling better on a consistent basis, he can start practicing and eventually return to the lineup.
Nico Hischier – Has missed the team’s last three games with an illness. Interim head coach Alain Nasreddine said there was a chance Hischier would play on Tuesday against the Stars before he ultimately sat out. Players don’t usually too much time due to illness, so I’d expect Hishcier to return in one of New Jersey’s next two games – either on Friday against the Avalanche or Saturday against the Coyotes. At first glance, Hischier’s 16 points in 25 games this season aren’t very impressive, but he has eight points in his last nine games.
Sidney Crosby – It’s been about a month since he had surgery to repair a sports hernia and while he’s still weeks away from a return, his spirits are high and he’s been making great progress. During the TSN Broadcast of the Penguins-Habs game on Tuesday, I heard Dave Poulin say he had the same surgery as Crosby and felt considerably better after it – he no longer had to deal with that lingering pain. If you want to read more about how the Penguins have performed in Crosby’s absence, I shared a few thoughts in this week’s Eastern Edge.
Alexander Steen – He’s been out for over a month with a high-ankle sprain, but he’s been skating recently and is getting very close to a return. It’s possible he returns to the lineup on Thursday against the Golden Knights.
Tyler Johnson – Is expected to miss a couple of games with a lower-body injury and there’s no timetable for his return yet. He has just 14 points in 27 games this year but had four points in four games prior to the injury.
Andreas Johnsson – Appeared to suffer a leg injury after blocking a shot during last week’s game against the Avalanche. He’ll be re-evaluated after Christmas. Johnsson’s ice-time has increased significantly this year after he put up 43 points in 73 games last season, but it hasn’t led to more points. He has just 16 points in 30 games – a 44-point pace.
Micheal Ferland – Suffered an upper-body injury during Tuesday’s game against the Leafs but coach Travis Green didn’t have any further updates.
Cody Glass – Took an elbow to head from Brendan Lemieux of the Rangers during Sunday’s game. He was ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the Blackhawks but the team hasn’t released any further update. One would assume that he suffered a concussion on the play, but it’s dangerous to speculate without any real tangible information from the team.