Due to the physical, high paced, and incredibly competitive nature of the NHL injuries are a just another part of the game. Coaches and fans pray that their stars avoid the Injury Reserve list but s*** happens, and often at the most inopportune times.
Some key players have already sacrum to serious injury and their teams have suffered for it. Here are the top 5 biggest losses to NHL teams so far.
5 – New Jersey Devils, Patrik Eliáš
New Jersey’s all time leading scorer was ruled out before the season even began. The Czech center carried the knee injury into pre-season training camp and is still working on rehabilitation now.
Coach John Hynes has reported that his Eliáš’ rehab has become torpid in the last couple of weeks:
“He just continues his rehab process and right now it’s kind of just the same as it was a week ago in that we’re trying to figure out when the next progression will be to get closer to returning to play.
“Now, it’s still in that stagnated phase.”
The Devils have started quite well without Patrik, with a record of 5-4-1. Adam Henrique has stepped up well to occupy the line 1 center spot and has 9 points in the first 10 games.
With a lot of other teams in the Eastern Conference currently struggling to find form New Jersey could hold onto their wild card spot for a few more weeks to come.
4 – Chicago Blackhawks, Duncan Keith
The reigning Stanley Cup champions have lost their best defenseman, who is arguably in the top 10 of all NHL defenders as well, due to a meniscal tear sustained to Keith’s right knee. He underwent successful surgery and was placed on the long term injury reserve list on 21st
The Blackhawks blue liner could miss as many as 8 weeks whilst he recovers from surgery and regains fitness. During his absence David Rundblad has been dressed and brought into the 3rd line. Keith’s top line spot is being occupied by Victor Svedberg.
Chicago face some big fixtures in Keith’s absence which include home and away games against Central Division rivals St. Louis Blues, and tipped Stanley Cup contenders, the LA Kings.
Keith’s injury is a huge loss to the Blackhawks but they do have decent depth in defence, and have won all 3 games since losing the top defender.
3 – Buffalo Sabres, Robin Lehner & Evander Kane
Both new faces in Buffalo but both represent a turning point in the franchise’s history. Lehner was designated as the Sabres first choice net minder and keeper for the future.
Despite his somewhat immature past, Kane was traded in to help bring the next generation through. The 2009 4th overall pick couldn’t settle in Winnipeg, when the Atlanta Thrashers moved, but looks to play a vital role in for Buffalo this season.
Unfortunately both players are injured. Lehner sustained a lower body injury 28 minutes into his Buffalo debut. His replacement, Chad Johnson, also new to the Sabres, is 3-6-0 in the 9 games that he’s played. The ex-Ottawa keeper is not expected to return until early December.
Just 3 days after Evander Kane scored his first goal for Buffalo, against Toronto, he was checked to the boards by New Jersey’s David Schlemko, which resulted in him sustaining a knee injury. Luckily he should not require surgery and is expected to miss between 4 and 6 weeks.
The 24 year old left winger was playing a crucial role on the 2nd line, alongside Foligno and Eichel, using his very physical play to help ease the top pick into the league. He had 1 goal, 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes at the point of injury.
2 – Detroit Red Wings, Johan Franzen & Pavel Datsyuk
On the 4th October the Red Wings announced that deke-master Datsyuk would not start the season. The Russian center is expected to return early to mid November.
Johan Franzen’s injury is very worrying and has no current return date. Detroit’s win over the Maple Leafs was the winger’s first game since January, but in the following match, against the Oilers, he developed another concussion.
A hit by Rob Klinkhammer has forced Franzen onto the injury reserve since 15th October with the skater still suffering from concussion symptoms. Given that Johan is 35, this could be the injury that ends his career.
The Red Wings started the season red hot, with a 3 game win streak and 11 goals. But they seem to have run out of ideas since, winning only once in their last 6 games.
The inclusion of the two veterans would do wonders for the Red Wings goal scoring, especially the constant threat that Pavel Datsyuk brings to the ice.
1 – San Jose Sharks, Logan Couture
The Sharks started the season in perfect fashion. Smashing LA at Staples Center, then they convincingly won the next 2 games, and achieved 2 shutouts along the way.
But during a training session on the 15th October, prior to game 4 against the New Jersey Devils, Logan Couture suffered a freak injury in training which resulted in a fracture to his right fibula. Britt McHenry, of ESPN, reported that Couture:
“Got caught in a rut skating [and] the weight of a teammate falling over him snapped his fibula.”
The center has since undergone surgery to repair the break and has been given a return time of 4 to 6 weeks.
Since number 39’s injury, the Sharks have: been shutout once; conceded 19; only scored 12; lost 4 games and; have only beaten New Jersey and Carolina. This awful streak included a 4-1 loss to LA, at the Shark Tank.
Paul Martin also missed 3 games whilst Couture was injured which helped to San Jose’s recent failings.
Though Logan Couture only had one assist prior to his injury, he averages 48 points per season so his return will be a huge boost to the San Jose Sharks.
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