One of this year’s feel-good stories has come to an abrupt end.
Vancouver forward Mike Santorelli has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery, the Canucks announced on Thursday. The procedure comes with a 5-6 month recovery window and wipes out any chance of Santorelli coming back this year.
Formerly of the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers, Santorelli, 27, had a unsuccessful stint with Winnipeg last season before the Canucks signed him to a two-way deal in July, with the expectation he was bound for the farm team in Utica.
Turns out expectations were a tad low. Not only did Santorelli — a Vancouver native — make the big club, he proceeded to score 10 goals and 28 points in his first 48 games, all while averaging a career-high 18:34 TOI per game.
During a 3-1 win over Colorado in December, fans at Rogers Arena began chanting Santorelli’s name as he factored in on all three goals, scoring twice while setting up a third.
The injury is a tough blow for the Canucks and Santorelli, as he heads into the offseason facing great uncertainty. He’ll be a UFA coming off major shoulder surgery, hopeful that his half-season cameo with Vancouver will be enough to warrant another shot either with the Canucks, or another NHL club.
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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.
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.