With the 2011 Stanley Cup finals – and therefore, the playoffs – over, it’s time to get answers/speculate some more on the injuries that hampered both teams. We’ll address the newly crowned champion Boston Bruins later on, but let’s get to the wounded warriors on the losing end first.
(Source: The Vancouver Province.)
First, let’s get to the players who discussed their injuries a bit more openly.
- Alex Edler said he was playing with two broken fingers.
- As many suspected, Christian Ehrhoff was dealing shoulder issues. He needed shots before games and probably lost quite a few mph from a blazing (but often wildly inaccurate) slapper. Ehrhoff told the Vancouver Province that he’ll probably need surgery.
- Chris Higgins said his foot never felt “quite right” but didn’t go as far as to say that it was broken. He did imply that he might need surgery, though.
Now let’s get to two players who weren’t quite confirmed.
- Ryan Kesler was one player who wouldn’t speak on the record about injuries, preferring that people avoid using his issues as a crutch to explain the Vancouver Canucks falling just a win short from their first-ever Stanley Cup win.
- Dan Hamhuis was rumored to miss most of the finals with a torn groin muscle, but wasn’t around to confirm or deny the reports.
Kesler wasn’t willing to lean on the injuries excuse, but teammate Jeff Tambellini knew that something wasn’t quite right.
“I think every stride hurt him,” said Tambellini. “He never showed it. He never talked about it. We never heard about it all day and this guy is at true warrior. The fact he even came back is mind-blowing. To skate with the puck as much as he did. He took his game to a different level this year and should be rewarded by the rest of the league. Everybody appreciates what he brings and playing as hurt as he was outstanding.
“He put himself on a superstar level and it’s going to be great to watch the rest of his career.”
But that didn’t make it any easier. Tambellini walked into a dressing room Wednesday that looked more like a hospital ward.
“There were probably shooting six guys up today,” said Tambellini. “We dealt with a lot of adversity this year and to do that and come up one game short is a real credit to this group.”
Obviously, every team deals with some injuries, especially this late in the game. Still, stories like these show over and over again that hockey players fight through pain (and sometimes injuries) for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. The Canucks fell one game short of that goal, but they deserve credit for their efforts in defeat.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer