Wild’s Ballard unable to finish practice, likely to miss fourth straight game


There was little news on the Keith Ballard front out of Minnesota on Monday, and that wasn’t a good thing.

Ballard, the veteran defenseman that’s missed the last three games after taking a puck to the face, didn’t practice today — this after leaving Sunday’s skate early because he wasn’t feeling well.

“We tried getting him on the ice,” head coach Mike Yeo told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “So let’s just hold him off for a couple of days and see what happens.”

The Wild aren’t saying it, but there are signs suggesting Ballard could have a concussion. The 30-year-old rearguard got hit with the puck during a 2-1 win over Buffalo on Oct. 10, and has basically been out of commission ever since — five days after the incident, Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune reported that Ballard looked “foggy and hurting.”

Minnesota is home against Nashville on Tuesday and will likely be without Ballard for the fourth straight game. Though he hasn’t made a huge impact for the Wild, Ballard was averaging close to 16 minutes per game and had a plus-3 rating through six contests, so his contributions will be missed.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.