Dennis Wideman admitted to hospital with ‘gruesome’ hematoma in his leg

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As you may already know, Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman will be out an indefinite amount of time with a leg injury. As it turns out, the previously mentioned week-to-week window might not even be sufficient (though it could be), as CSN Washington reports that Wideman has been hospitalized with hematoma in his leg.

For those of you looking for an explanation on what exactly hematoma is, CSN Washington describes it this way: “A hemotoma can refer to just a bruise, but in some cases, it can cause serious swelling. TSN reports Wideman’s swelling is significant enough to require surgery to drain blood from the injury.”

(Read more about that gross-sounding injury in Bob McKenzie’s TSN report.)

It sounds like Wideman’s surgery could be pretty serious, with his target return date being anyone’s guess. The team already was dealing with injuries to its most potent offensive defensemen, so this makes things that much tougher. Mike Green is shaking off what seems like a bad concussion and even Tom Poti is out, so the team must continue to transition to a defense-first approach.

For whatever amount of time those three blueliners are missing, the offensive focus shifts to guys such as stellar rookie John Carlson. As talented as Carlson might be, it’s likely that the team won’t be able to attack in the same way with Wideman on the shelf.

On the bright side, it seems like Wideman is at least exhibiting a somewhat sick sense of humor about the situation. Mike Knuble told Katie Carrera that Wideman is sending some “gruesome” pictures of the injury to his Washington teammates.

Knuble: “It’s pretty grotesque how Dennis is opened up right now. I think he’s pretty much high all the time to deal with the pain.”

We’ll keep you updated as more information surfaces regarding the condition of Wideman, Green, Poti and any other Capitals who might get banged up. If Washington can manage to avoid gruesome scoreboard results without their blueline offensive catalysts, it would say a lot about a team that has shown plenty of resilience already.

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.

Video: An early taste of the Tkachuk-inspired violence in Kings vs. Flames

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BREAKING: the Los Angeles Kings really don’t appreciate Calgary Flames rookie-pest-forward Matthew Tkachuk thanks to that elbow on Drew Doughty (and the fallout from all … that).

Tkachuk responded by critiquing Doughty for “complaining to the media,” so there was testiness from the start.

There was jawing before the game. Then Jake Muzzin rebuked Tkachuk’s kind offer for a fight. Finally, Keith’s son dropped the gloves with Brayden McNabb:

It wasn’t the only bout of the opening frame, and there could be more blood to come beyond this Jarome IginlaDeryk Engelland feud:

Players from both teams better keep their heads up (and on a swivel) tonight. The Flames have to hope that this doesn’t result in injuries, judging from what happened to Johnny Gaudreau.

Avalanche sign Toews-like first-rounder Tyson Jost

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Things have been pretty bleak for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but at least they can look to a high pick in the next draft … and maybe dream about how their top pick from 2016 may pan out.

The Avs signed Tyson Jost, the 10th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Colorado notes that he’ll jump right into some NHL action to close out this season.

It’s a nice sneak preview, as NHL insider Bob McKenzie noted on an NBCSN appearance (see above) that doing so will not burn the first year of Jost’s entry-level contract. Nice.

Even nicer? McKenzie also compares Jost favorably to … (drum-roll, though the headline spoiled it) Jonathan Toews.

Most obviously, the two both starred at the University of North Dakota. For the sake of fun, here are their numbers in their final years in the NCAA:

Jost: 16 goals, 35 points in 33 games, +17 rating (2016-17)
Toews: 18 goals, 46 points in 34 games (2006-07)

Naturally, Toews enthusiasts in particular will tell you that points aren’t everything … but maybe there are some shades of the two-way Blackhawks center there?

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy raved that Jost has “man-strength already” back around the 2016 NHL Draft, as you can see in this profile.

“Jost oozes confidence and already looks like NHL captain material for the future.”

Hey, that does sound at least somewhat Toews-like, doesn’t it?

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In other signing news, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed UMass-Lowell’s CJ Smith. More on that below.