Whatever was left of Toronto’s playoff chances took a major hit on Thursday as the club announced forward Nikolai Kulemin will miss the next three weeks with a broken finger. While the club is unsure if Kulemin’s injury will take the full length of time to heal, missing three weeks would essentially end his season — he’d be back in time for Toronto’s second-to-last game on Apr. 5.
It’s an unfortunate ending to what’s been an unfortunate season for the 25-year-old. He’s posted 7G-21A-28PTS in 70 games — well off his pace from last year, when he scored 30 goals in 82 games. In doing so, Kulemin became the first Russian-born Leaf to score 30 in a season since Alexander Mogilny (33 in 2002-03) and just the fourth Leaf to score 30 or more since 1999-2000 (Phil Kessel, Mats Sundin and Mogilny were the others.)
The injury also keeps Kulemin from padding his stats heading into restricted free agency this summer. It’ll be interesting to see how Leafs GM Brian Burke values Kulemin, who struggled in the final year of a deal that paid $2.35 million annually.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?