Joffrey Lupul

Leafs put Lupul (forearm) on IR, recall Frattin

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Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul has been placed on injured reserve after breaking his forearm Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Leafs have recalled Matt Frattin from the AHL Marlies.

While Frattin is a solid replacement as far as AHL call-ups go — he had 15 points in 56 games for Toronto last year — there’s no denying the Lupul loss is a profound one for the Leafs.

Under normal circumstances, Lupul’s injury would be a significant one but, in a shortened season, it’s even more severe and could cost him a huge chunk of playing time. The Leafs said he’ll be examined on Thursday to gauge the severity.

In terms of recovery period (for a professional athlete), do consider that New England TE Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm on Nov. 18 and returned to play on Dec. 30 with a heavily bandaged/padded arm.

But, also consider he re-broke his forearm in the AFC Divisional playoff against Houston.

As for other issues, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star points out this won’t help Lupul’s reputation as a injury-prone player:

His reputation in some eyes as a little brittle won’t be helped, unfair as that is given that this was totally a freak injury.

Lupul misses almost all of 2010 with complications from back surgery. Last year, he suffered a shoulder injury that ruined what was a career season. He was so intent on making this season a good one he decided not to join Canada at the world championships, preferring instead to rehab his shoulder.

He reluctantly went to Russia during the lockout to get his game going, and according to GM Dave Nonis, came to camp in “excellent” shape.

Oh, Lupul also signed a five-year, $26.25 million extension with the Leafs four days ago.

As they say, timing is everything.

Update: Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle says he expects Lupul to be out at least six weeks.

Update 2: Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press notes that six weeks would cost Lupul around 22 games — roughly half the season.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.