Today’s injury wrap up: Chris Drury, Alex Tanguay, Daniel Alfredsson, and Keith Ballard

Today exploded with injury news to three notable NHL stars around the league. Here’s the skinny on what’s going on for Alex Tanguay, Chris Drury, Daniel Alfredsson, and Keith Ballard.

In New York, Rangers captain Chris Drury will be out the next six weeks after suffering an injury to his left knee that will require surgery. Drury has been playing on the fourth line and cycling in and out of the lineup recently as other Rangers players have returned to action.

With Erik Christensen and Vinny Prospal back in action, Drury’s role and need on the team has been reduced and minimal playing on the fourth line. It’s been a very disappointing year for Drury missing action other times this year breaking his finger on two separate occasions.

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson will miss an indefinite amount of time as he deals with an ailing lower back problem. Alfredsson has been having a rough season for Ottawa scoring just 14 goals and 17 assists, numbers that still lead the team in scoring. For a Sens team that lacks a distinctive offensive touch, losing Alfredsson hurts not just from a captain’s standpoint but also from their production on the whole. Alfredsson tells the Ottawa Sun that he hopes it’ll just be a couple of weeks for him until he returns.

Calgary’s Alex Tanguay will be out indefinitely with a concussion. Tanguay was not on the ice this morning at Flames practice leading to questions about what was up with him but the answer isn’t one the Flames were hoping to get. Tanguay was injured Monday night against Chicago. Rene Bourque will take his place on a line with Jarome Iginla, a move that could spark the slumping Bourque.

Finally, Vancouver has updated the status of injured defenseman Keith Ballard. Ballard was injured in a collision with Ottawa’s Milan Michalek that led some in Vancouver to accuse Michalek of delivering a slew foot to Ballard. An MRI revealed a sprain in Ballard’s knee and he’ll be out for 3-4 weeks. Ballard is fortunate to have that be it for the injury as the way his leg folded up underneath him when he was brought down made the situation appear worse than it was.

Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

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Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs


Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 28-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury

Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

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If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

“I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

“I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?