Vancouver’s ability to withstand crucial injuries will be tested once again, and this time it’s their defense that suffers another blow. Dan Hamhuis was knocked out of today’s game against Columbus with a concussion after hitting his head on the ice after a huge hit involving Rick Nash and his defensive partner Kevin Bieksa.
Hamhuis was immediately supervised under the league’s new concussion protocol and did not return to the game. The concussion is the second one that Hamhuis has suffered this season. He missed five games in February after taking a big, and questionable, hit from Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf. Suffering another head injury nearly two months later will certainly ensure that Hamhuis’ recovery time is extended.
Losing Hamhuis is a big setback for the Canucks blue line this late in the year when they were finally starting to get everyone back into action. Having been without the likes of Bieksa, Keith Ballard, and Sami Salo for significant chunks of this season and still going without Alexander Edler and Andrew Alberts now. Coming back into focus now will be the Canucks depth and with Aaron Rome and Chris Tanev set to likely see more time, players they weren’t banking on being big on minutes will now likely be helping the Canucks make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Championship teams persist through adversity and the Canucks have certainly had plenty of that this year including Manny Malhotra’s season-ending eye injury. Can they overcome this shot to their defense? If the regular season is a proper measuring stick, they should be able to do just fine.