When the Columbus Blue Jackets signed Nathan Horton to a seven-year, $37.1 million deal on Friday, they did it knowing the rugged power forward would need to undergo shoulder surgery, a procedure that would put him out for a while.
Today, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports Horton will have surgery next week — in Boston, day not yet determined — and be out four to six months.
Horton reportedly has a chronic shoulder injury dating back to his time with Florida. He re-injured it during a fight against Jarome Iginla in April, then tweaked it again during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.
Here’s more on Horton’s recovery plans and estimated return, from the Dispatch:
Horton is going to miss at least the first two months of the season while he recovers from shoulder surgery. So the Jackets could be without him for the first 20 or 30 games, maybe more.
When Horton does return, Richards indicated that he and Marian Gaborik — a multiyear 40-goal scorer — would be on different lines, first so they could stay in their preferred spots (right wing) but also to give opponents something to fret about.
Health concerns have been a constant for Horton throughout his nine-year career. While he’s participated in 80+ games in three seasons, he’s also missed 75 games over the last five seasons due to the aforementioned shoulder issues, and a concussion suffered during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver.
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: