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Wild ‘strongly recommend’ skate protectors after Parise, Koivu injuries

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With frozen rubber discs flying around at skate level, NHL players are highly susceptible to foot injuries — just ask the Minnesota Wild, who have already lost Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella.

In light of those injuries, the Wild are now thinking about preventative measures. From the Star-Tribune:

In unfortunate irony, before the injuries to Koivu, Spurgeon and Scandella, [Wild GM Chuck] Fletcher met with several of his players in an attempt to persuade them to wear protection on the outside of their boots.

Next week, Francois Blondin, an orthotist and prosthetist out of Montreal, is coming to Minnesota to make moldings of each Wild player’s skates. It will then be up to each player to try out the custom-made shot blockers to see if he can play with them.

Fletcher says he will “strongly recommend” Wild players use the protective gear, noting that clubs aren’t allowed to mandate players to wear it.

The issue of skate protectors — and making players wear them — has been raised among various NHL clubs this season. Calgary all but demanded players don them after Mark Giordano, Lee Stempniak and Matt Stajan were injured taking shots to their feet, and Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle expressed frustration when Joffrey Lupul got hurt taking a puck to the foot, saying he wanted all his players to wear skate protectors during practice.

Players routinely have two major issues with skate protectors. One, they tend to make the boot feel heavy. Two, they can affect skating (especially with crossovers), something Wild forward Jason Pominville touched on.

“My problem was when I turned and did crossovers, a part of it would hit the ice and make you slip. That’s the major problem I hear from guys,” he explained. “But after what happened to Zach and Mikko and Spurg, management’s trying to get everyone to get them in here, and I’ll definitely try it.”

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.