It’s commonplace for hockey players to play hurt during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Specifics on players’ injuries are often kept as hush-hush as possible (see: “lower-body” and “upper-body”) until after the post-season comes to an end or a team is eliminated.
On Thursday, the day after his team was knocked out of the playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters who was playing hurt.
The list included several players, including goalie Jimmy Howard, who, according to the Detroit Free Press, pulled a hamstring at the end of the first-round series win over the Anaheim Ducks.
“We had lots of players banged up,” Holland said, as per the Detroit Free Press.
“All teams do. It’s the playoffs. You’re playing every other night. Players are getting beat up every second night. It’s a lot of hockey.”
Other injured players included Daniel Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and Mikael Samuelsson.
Cleary was playing what was reported as a second-degree separation of his left shoulder and a fractured finger.
The most recent long-term injury of these playoffs for the Red Wings occurred early in Game 7 against the Blackhawks, when Valtteri Filppula suffered what the Detroit Free Press reported as a high-ankle sprain.
Click here to see exactly how Filppula was injured.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.