Six weeks after suffering a potentially career-ending injury, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond is back skating.
And it’s nothing short of a miracle.
That’s what the Jets’ team doctor said, telling the Winnipeg Free Press that Redmond’s recovery from a lacerated femoral artery is one for the medical journals.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle considering what’s he’s been through,” said Dr. Peter McDonald. “We’re all aware of what happened.
“Considering the magnitude of the injury and the insult, not only to the leg but the whole body, it’s quite miraculous.”
McDonald said the injury — which occurred in late February after Antti Miettinen’s skate sliced open Redmond’s leg during a pregame skate in Carolina — was life-threatening, and there was only a 50-50 chance he would return to play hockey.
Talk about a turnaround in fortunes.
Redmond is now “highly probable” to participate in Winnipeg’s training camp this fall, and could return to full team activities even sooner.
The former Ferris State standout recently returned to Winnipeg after an extended stay in a Raleigh hospital, and McDonald said he’s stunned at how quickly Redmond, 24, has regained his muscle strength.
“We just did strength tests on [Redmond] and the leg is performing at 75 per cent, which is incredible considering all the muscles in his inner thigh were severed,” he explained. “They seem to be healed up fine and there are no residual problems that we can detect.
“He’s had a positive attitude the whole time and he’s a great kid. It’s really just incredible.”
Some good news if you’re a fan of the Calgary Flames.
Johnny Gaudreau, who missed 10 games with a finger injury, will be back in their lineup for Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Flames forward was injured in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 (he was slashed by Eric Staal), and after he underwent surgery, the team announced that he’d be out six weeks.
In the end, he missed less than three weeks of action.
“I’m ready to play,” Gaudreau said, per NHL.com. “I think the finger’s healed up pretty well there. I’m just excited to get things going here.
“I think they did a great job with my finger and we did a great job rehabbing it. They keep tell me it’s going to be harder to break the nine other fingers than to re-hurt this one. It feels good. It feels good when I shoot. I’m excited to finally get out of there.”
He’ll be playing with some added protection, as Calgary’s equipment manager made this glove for him:
Before Gaudreau got hurt, the Flames had a 6-10-1 record. But thanks to improved team play and some strong performances from goalie Chad Johnson, they managed to go 6-3-1 in, while Gaudreau was out.
The 23-year-old has five goals and six assists in 17 games, but he had scored three goals in three games before getting hurt.
—Gaudreau injury a reminder as to how star players are treated
—Boudreau: Flames made “mountain out of a molehill” over Gaudreau slash
Garret Sparks made waves for all the wrong reasons last week, as he was suspended by the Maple Leafs for remarks he made on social media.
Sparks officially made his return on Saturday night in the Marlies’ 3-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack. He stopped 27 of 30 shots.
“It’s been a lot to deal with. I understand what I did,” Sparks said, per TSN.ca. “[The incident] wasn’t me. That’s not who I want to be known as, it’s not the image I want my reputation to have.
“I should know the difference between what I can and can’t say. It’s just holding myself to a higher standard of professionalism.”
The 23-year-old actually returned to the team on Tuesday, but didn’t play until yesterday.
With Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen dealing with an illness, the Leafs recalled Antoine Bibeau, which opened the door for Sparks to make his return.
Sparks has been limited to just five AHL games this year, but he was between the pipes for 17 NHL games in 2015-16.
The Colorado Avalanche are one of those teams that’s hard to figure out.
They have plenty of offensive talent on their roster, and going from Patrick Roy to Jared Bednar was supposed to help get the most out of their star players.
But through 23 games, that hasn’t been the case.
Going into Sunday’s action, they find themselves in the basement of the Western Conference with a 9-13-1 record.
It doesn’t help that they’ve had to deal with a number of injuries. They were dealt an even bigger blow on Saturday, when they announced that Erik Johnson (leg) would be out for six-to-eight weeks.
Gabriel Landeskog and Fedor Tyutin are also dealing with lower-body injuries.
“Injuries are no excuse, but it helps to have some of those guys in the lineup,” Bednar said, per the Denver Post. “You’re missing a pair on ‘D.’ I still can’t help but feel we have more to give. .. You still have to stick with it and work through it. That’s the only way you get out of it is to work out of it.”
Colorado had an opportunity to get things on track, but they finished their latest homestand with an 0-4-1 record. Yikes!
One of the biggest problems with this team is that they can’t seem to find the back of the net with any regularity.
No team has scored less times than the Avalanche, who are tied for last with a league-worst 49 goals for. They’ve also been shut out five times already in 2016-17.
Their power play was so bad against Dallas that Bednar decided to start the man-advantage with John Mitchell and Blake Comeau at one point.
“We were awful. I totally get why he did what he did,” forward Matt Duchene said after Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Dallas. “It’s frustrating. We’re just not executing right now. I think we’re overthinking things because we haven’t been winning.
“We’re not playing good hockey right now.”
The Chicago Blackhawks were dealt a blow yesterday, when they announced that starting goalie Corey Crawford would miss two-to-three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy on Saturday.
With Crawford unavailable yesterday, Chicago was forced to look for an emergency backup in the Philly area. Ultimately, they settled on former temple goalie Eric Semborski.
On Sunday, they got their goaltending situation in order, as they recalled Lars Johansson from the AHL.
Johansson, 29, is in his first season in North America. He played the previous 10 years over in Sweden with Mora IK, Vasteras IK and Frolunda HC.
In the AHL, he’s posted a 6-7-1 record with a 2.63 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in 2016-17.
His numbers in the minors might not look good, but Johansson had the best goals-against-average (1.74) in the top league in Sweden last year.
The Blackhawks also sent forward Nick Schmaltz to the minors.
Schmaltz, who was Chicago’s first-round pick in 2014, made the team out of training camp, but has played limited minutes.
The 20-year-old has just one goal and three assists, while averaging 11:46 of ice time in 2016-17.
Playing a larger role with AHL Rockford should be good for his confidence.