The first year of the Stephen Weiss era in Detroit is pretty close to being a complete bust.
Weiss, signed to a five-year, $24 million deal this past summer, is likely done for the season after suffering a setback in his recovery from sports hernia surgery in late December.
“He’s not on the horizon to come back,” Detroit GM Ken Holland said, per the Macomb Daily. “I was just in there talking to Steve, talking to our trainers, everybody is a little bit frustrated because we obviously thought he would be back by now, actually a long time ago.
“So they’re going through a check list. Everybody’s frustrated. He’s not getting better the way we had hoped.”
Weiss, 31, has only played in 26 games this year and underperformed while doing so, scoring just two goals and four points while averaging under 16 minutes a night. Signed in the hopes of replacing Valtteri Filppula as the club’s No. 2 center, Weiss came in with high expectations — “we explained the situation to him very clearly,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock said — but failed to meet them, and now has the additional concern of an injury that appears to be quite significant.
Weiss was expected to return following the Olympic break, then said last week he was a day away from coming back — only to suffer a setback, which has turned everything on its head.
“At this stage of the game I’m not expecting him back this year,” Holland said. “I think that’s the way we have to go forward. I mean he’s not even practicing. So I really don’t know what to tell you.”
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: