As previously reported, defenseman Paul Martin will not be able to play for the United States in its semifinals game against Canada today.
While it was originally thought that an illness was responsible for Martin’s absence, it now looks like he is actually dealing with a hand injury, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi. The severity of his injury isn’t clear yet, so naturally there’s also no timetable for his return.
This is a potentially serious blow for the Pittsburgh Penguins though. They’ve already basically secured the first seed in the Metropolitan Division, but they will be counting on Martin to play a significant role in their playoff run.
This also might prove to be the latest in a string of major injuries to come out of the 2014 Winter Games. The New York Islanders have lost John Tavares to a torn MCL, the Rangers will have to get by without leading scorer Mats Zuccarello because of a non-displaced fracture, and the Florida Panthers lost both Tomas Kopecky and Aleksander Barkov to a head injury and knee problem respectively.
It’s worth adding that Henrik Zetterberg was shutdown during the Olympics due to a back injury, but Red Wings GM Ken Holland felt that unfortunate setback was unrelated to the Winter Games.
Meanwhile, Islanders GM Garth Snow asked why the Olympics should reap the benefits of showcasing the world’s top talent when NHL teams are assuming the risks.
There are certainly arguments to be made in support of the NHL’s continued involvement in the Winter Games, but these injuries will doubtlessly be brought up by those who feel the current NHL relationship with the Olympics should be changed.
Update: Martin is tentatively expected to miss a month, but assessment is coming before the Penguins have had a chance to evaluate him, so that timetable should be taken with a grain of salt.