Ever since Victor Hedman left in the middle of Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, people have braced themselves for the worst. Today, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman delivered the news that people were afraid to hear: the budding star defenseman will be sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.
As everyone around the hockey world has learned, concussions are impossible to predict. When responding to a question about Hedman’s timetable for a return, Yzerman said: “You’re concerned obviously with what’s going on around the league right now. But it’s day to day.”
Unfortunately, Hedman has been unable to practice since leaving the game against Philadelphia after only four minutes of ice time. Yzerman explained that right now, Hedman is “trying to do normal day-to-day activities.”
Take that however you wish.
Even though Hedman’s offensive statistics haven’t been what the organization would like to see for the 2009 second overall pick, he’s working over 22 minutes per night for the team that has depends on him in every situation. He’s one of Tampa’s leading penalty killers and has drawn some of the most difficult assignments on a nightly basis.
Now, he’ll be battling with a much different foe while he tries to work his way back to the ice. In the meantime, the Lightning will have to find a way to improve upon the team defense that is tied for the second worst in the entire league.
Losing one of their best defensemen isn’t going to help.
Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”
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.