Here’s the latest news in the world of NHL injuries. As always, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for up-to-the-minute injury updates.
John Gibson – While Anaheim’s starting goaltender is progressing well from injuries to his neck, head and back, we still don’t know exactly when he’ll return to the lineup. The Ducks have actually been playing pretty well since former head coach Randy Carlyle was fired, so don’t be afraid to take a chance on their goalies going forward. Ryan Miller posted a 31-save shutout on Tuesday against the Wild.
Kyle Okposo – Suffered a concussion during this fight with Tony DeAngelo of the Rangers. This is Okposo’s third concussion in the past couple of years, so obviously, his recovery is going to be treated with great caution.
James Neal – Suffered an upper-body injury against the Panthers on Thursday. As far as we know, this injury isn’t related to the eight teeth he lost after taking a high stick from Alex Biega of the Vancouver Canucks. While his 15 points in 55 games this season are extremely disappointing, he did have three points in five games prior to the injury. The team should provide us with some sort of timetable for return in the coming days.
Jordan Staal – The Hurricanes forward practiced with the team for the first time in about eight weeks and has been feeling much better recently. He has been recovering from a concussion and the fact that he’s been feeling good for the past couple of weeks is extremely reassuring considering how up and down the recovery process was at first We still don’t know exactly when he’ll be back, but we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Brent Seabrook – An abdominal strain kept the Blackhawks defenseman out of the lineup on Monday, off the ice on Tuesday and will cause him to miss a clash with Detroit on Wednesday. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be out for too long, but we don’t have an official timetable from the team.
Corey Crawford – Chicago’s top netminder feels physically ready to return to the lineup but still needs a few practices to get the technical aspects of his game where he wants them. Only a few tests stand between him and medical clearance from the team’s doctors. Those tests will be conducted later in the week and he fully expects to pass them. While he won’t travel to Detroit for Wednesday’s game against the Red Wings, he’s extremely close to a return and should have an impact on your fantasy hockey playoffs.
Artemi Panarin – Missed Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens with an illness. Don’t bother putting on your tinfoil hat because coach John Tortorella made it clear that Panarin was not being rested in anticipation of a trade. As Torts so eloquently put it, “He [pooped] his pants. He was puking. He was doing everything.”
Ben Bishop – Suffered an upper-body injury on February 4th against the Coyotes and has been “day-to-day” ever since. While his status for Thursday’s game against the Blues is questionable, coach Jim Montgomery is hoping to see Bishop return on Saturday against the Hurricanes. The team isn’t concerned that the injury will continue to bother him for the rest of the season, to ensure that, they’re giving him as much time as he needs to recover. Bishop was on the ice taking shots (not the alcoholic kind) on Tuesday, which is a good sign of progress.
Connor McDavid – An illness kept him out of the lineup on Tuesday against the Coyotes. Players don’t often miss long stretches of action because they’re sick, so don’t expect McDavid to be out for too long. While we’re talking about McDavid, here’s a cool stat about how the Oilers perform when McDavid doesn’t register a point. As Jack Michaels points out, Edmonton has just three wins in 31 games when their captain is held off the scoresheet (over the last two years).
Jesse Puljujarvi – The fourth-overall pick of the 2016 draft was placed on Injured Reserve with a minor lower-body injury. The Oilers’ acquisition of Sam Gagner seems to have pushed Puljujarvi out of the lineup for the time being, resulting in speculation that he’ll close out the season in the AHL. While he shouldn’t be sidelined for too long with this injury, his return to Edmonton’s lineup might be delayed by a trip to Bakersfield – the Oilers’ AHL affiliate.
Jonathan Quick – An illness prevented him from starting on Saturday against the Bruins and kept him on the bench for Monday’s game against the Capitals. He has been participating in some on-ice drills, so he should be available for Thursday’s game against the Predators.
Sami Vatanen – Skated with the team on Tuesday, for the first time since suffering a concussion on January 30th. In the early stages of his recovery, his eyes were feeling a little slow and his head wasn’t in the right place, but he’s feeling much better right now.
Taylor Hall – Was skating on his own prior to the Devils’ team skate on Tuesday morning. He resumed the on-ice portion of his rehabilitation last week and remains on track to return at some point this season.
Neal Pionk – Took a stick to the eye during Sunday’s game against the Penguins and was kept out of the lineup on Tuesday for precautionary reasons. He has been skating, so don’t expect him to be on the shelf for too long.
Victor Hedman – A lower-body injury that doesn’t appear too serious is expected to keep Hedman out for a very short period of time. While the team hasn’t revealed when exactly he’ll be back, let’s just say I don’t expect him to be a patient in next week’s Injury Ward. That means Thursday, February 21st against Buffalo, Monday, February 25th against LA and Wednesday, February 27th against the Rangers are all possible dates for a return.
Alexander Edler –It’s been about two weeks since he suffered the concussion and the good news is that he’s been skating on his own. However, recovering from a concussion is a different process for each individual, so we can’t predict when exactly he’ll be back in the lineup. Once he participates in a full practice, we can start talking about a return.
Dustin Byfuglien – A lower-body injury (not related to the one he just returned from) will keep Byfuglien out of the lineup for the next three games. The team will probably release another update on Tuesday when they return home to face the Wild.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Coach Paul Maurice revealed that while Ehlers hasn’t suffered a setback, he’s going to be out for a little longer than expected. We don’t have a concrete timetable, but it could be another week or two before he returns.
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