The United States’ 2014 Winter Olympic roster announcement captured the hockey world’s attention on Wednesday, but America’s snubbed list won’t have anything on Team Canada. One big X-factor is Steven Stamkos’ recovery from a broken leg; while he’s still a tossup, the latest Canadian Press update is highly optimistic.
“It’s at the stage now where you make so much progress the first four or five weeks and now it’s about maintaining that, getting stronger, working out in the gym, going on the ice and trying to make sure you feel better every day, and I am so it’s definitely positive,” Stamkos said.
The latest update isn’t just positive for the 23-year-old, it’s also a little repetitive, as he continues to wrestle with seemingly conflicting forces of ambition (the Olympic dream) and caution (avoiding prolonged health concerns).
“That’s one of the harder things, but your body is pretty good at letting you know what you can and can not do,” Stamkos said. “We’ve come to a stage now where everything has gone extremely well. You don’t want to push it and over-do it and have a setback.”
Walking that tightrope is probably easier said than done. We’ll find out soon enough how Canada will handle this situation, which could also mean finding out who would be the replacement if Stamkos can’t go.
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.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.