Initial reports indicated that underrated New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac’s Achilles tear would sideline him for about three months, which would mean that he might only miss a month or two of the 2011-12 season. It’s possible that still might be the case, but Tom Gulitti reports that Zajac’s window of recovery could be quite a bit murkier.
Zajac discussed the rehab process with players who suffered similar injuries and found that while some people take about three months to recover, other need four or even up to six months to return to action. The 26 year old forward seems like he’s going to take a measured approach to the situation, even if the top-heavy Devils could suffer significantly from losing their top pivot for an extended amount of time.
He discussed the injury situation and how hard it will be to sit back and watch training camp and other activities he once took for granted in his earlier years.
“It hasn’t really sunk in too much yet that I won’t be there for camp and I won’t be around for exhibition (games) and even the start of the season,” Zajac said this afternoon in his first interview since he was injured. “I think once I get to Jersey and see some guys playing then it will be a lot tougher. That I’m away from it now is probably a good thing because I know if I was around the rink right now I would probably be pushing myself to do something and trying to get back quicker than I probably should.”
“It depends on how hard I push it and how my body reacts to everything,” he said. “From what I hear, that (taking four to six months) could happen, but, hopefully, I’m on the lower end of the time frame. We’ll see. I’m definitely not going to rush back and ruin the rest of the year by coming back too early.”
Hopefully Zajac backs up his words about being careful, because it will be unusual for the center to miss being in the lineup. He played all 82 regular season games during the last four seasons and played in 80 contests during his rookie year in 2006-07. After putting up 62 points in 07-08 and 67 in 09-10, Zajac is probably eager to show that his disappointing 10-11 season (13 goals and 44 points) was an unusual down year.
That eagerness could be dangerous if he doesn’t use the right amount of caution, though.
(H/T to Rotoworld.)
Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.
They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.
Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.
Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.
You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:
Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.
Read about that blowout here.
Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.
Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”
It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.
The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.
This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.
Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.
On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.
We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.
Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.
After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.
Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.
The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.
Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:
Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.
Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.
Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.
It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.
After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.
The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.