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Injury updates: Penguins’ Murray, others deal with concussions

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NHL teams provided injury news updates on Monday, with the most noteworthy bits revolving around players dealing with concussions. Let’s sort through that mixed bag:

  • First, we’ll begin with promising news. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan considers Matt Murray to be “an option” to play on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. That said, it’s a preliminary viewpoint, as Sullivan wants to see how Murray handles practice.

You’d get the impression that the optimism is high despite that caveat, as the Penguins sent Tristan Jarry back to the AHL today. That could still change, but the team must feel a lot more confident about Murray being ready for the postseason.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

Actually, it’s worth questioning whether it’s really worth risking Price’s health in meaningless games for Montreal, especially when you note that he’s frequently suffered from bad injury luck lately. Sure, he wants to play; that ambition is part of what makes him great. Concussions can be tricky, though, and you wonder if the reward would justify the risks involved.

  • Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is in “concussion protocol,” according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky. Trouba will reportedly see specialists, which isn’t that shocking considering how shaken up he looked after getting the worst of a hard collision with Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars:

Brutal.

  • Also brutal: Noah Hanifin is out indefinitely in dealing with a concussion, via the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 21-year-old set a new career-high with eight goals this season, and despite being limited to 71 games, he matched last season’s peak of 29 points. Hanifin is starting to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2015 NHL Draft as part of a stacked Hurricanes defense, yet much like his team, it looks like his season’s going to end on a low note.

Hopefully he’ll be able to rebound fully in 2018-19.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Injury updates: Bergeron out with foot injury; Murray out with concussion

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Couple of pretty significant injury developments in the NHL on Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins both announced that key players (Matt Murray and Patrice Bergeron) are going to be sidelined for the immediate future.

In Pittsburgh, the Penguins announced that Murray, their starting goalie, will be sidelined after he was diagnosed with a concussion on Monday.

Murray was injured when he was hit with a shot in practice and had to leave the ice. The concern here for the Penguins, aside from the fact that Murray is their No. 1 goalie and has been starting to round into form lately after a slow start, is that Murray already has a history of concussions in the NHL. He is still only 23 years old.

This is the third year in a row the Penguins have dealt with an injury to their starting goalie in the stretch run of the regular season.

In Murray’s place the Penguins will turn to Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry. With Jarry struggling lately and getting pulled in two of his past six starts DeSmith is expected to get the start on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

Meanwhile, in Boston, the Bruins issued an update on the status of their top center and announced he will be sidelined for at least two weeks due to a foot fracture.

Bergeron was injured over the weekend when blocking a shot in Saturday’s game against Toronto. After an x-ray following the game came back negative, the Bruins allowed Bergeron to play in their game on Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres. At that point the Bruins medical staff did a CT scan which revealed the fracture.

Bergeron is the centerpiece of the Bruins’ top line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and is having one of the best seasons of his already spectacular career. He is playing defense that is worthy of the Selke Trophy and has 54 points in 55 games. There is an argument to be made that he should be in the MVP running (though, history suggests he probably will not win — we explained why here).

Entering play on Tuesday the Bruins are in third place in the Atlantic Division, two points back of the second place Toronto Maple Leafs and seven points back of the first place Tampa Bay Lightning. They do however still have five games in hand on Toronto and three games in hand on Tampa Bay. When it comes to points percentage the Bruins are fourth in the NHL and second in the Eastern Conference behind only Tampa Bay.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canadiens’ Phillip Danault has concussion symptoms after being hit by slap shot

The Montreal Canadiens offered an update on injured forward Phillip Danault on Monday afternoon, announcing that he is currently dealing with concussion-like symptoms and that he will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

Danault was injured over the weekend when he was hit in the head by a Zdeno Chara slap shot.

It was an especially scary moment as Danault remained on the ice for several minutes and had to be carried off on a stretcher. He was taken to a local hospital for observation before being released.

[Canadiens’ Danault takes slap shot to head]

In 43 games this season Danault has scored seven goals and added 16 assists for the Canadiens.

Along with Danault the Canadiens are also dealing with an injury to veteran forward Andrew Shaw who the team announced will be sidelined with a lower body injury and that his status will be evaluated again in 10 days.

With Danault and Shaw sidelined the Canadiens claimed forward Logan Shaw off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Auston Matthews admits experiencing concussion symptoms; could return vs. Rangers

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We now know what the “upper-body injury” was that’s caused Auston Matthews of the the Toronto Maple Leafs to miss the last six games.

After returning to full practice on his teammates Friday morning, Matthews said he was experiencing “normal concussion symptoms” after a collision with Morgan Rielly during a Dec. 9 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It wasn’t until later that night into the next morning that the Maple Leafs star began feeling off and eventually went through the standard protocol.

Matthews skated on his own last week and will travel with the team to New York City ahead of their Saturday night game against the Rangers. He’s currently listed as a game-time decision.

“I think it’s just talking with the training staff. No decision is going to be made until tomorrow but I’m definitely feeling a lot better,” he said. “I feel good out there on the ice. Obviously, just trying to get my legs back and everything.”

The Leafs have missed Matthews, who has 13 goals and 26 points in 26 games played this season, as they’ve dropped three of four games in his absence.

If Matthews doesn’t go Saturday night, he’ll get a few extra days to get 100-percent before a homecoming when the Leafs head west to face the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 28, their first game after the Christmas break.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Mika Zibanejad’s concussion a tough pill to swallow for the Rangers

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It’s a not a deathblow, but the loss of Mika Zibanejad certainly packs a devastating punch to the New York Rangers lineup that has a tough divisional schedule on the horizon.

The Rangers announced Thursday that Zibanejad is out indefinitely with a concussion after a hit he sustained from Darren Helm last Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

It’s a tough pill to swallow in the Big Apple, for a couple reasons.

Zibanejad is the team’s top goal scorer with 11 and point producer with 22. He’s also the team’s top-line center on a line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich that has combined for 58 points this season.

And there might not be a worse time for Zibanejad to be out of the lineup. The Rangers, who have won 10 of their past 13 games and sit four points adrift of third place in the Metropolitan Division, play half of their next 12 games against divisional opponents.

David Desharnais filled in for Zibanejad on Tuesday in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. He collected three assists in the game, but his long-term viability between Krieder and Buchnevich is questionable.

The loss of Zibanejad leaves the Rangers a little light on center depth as well. The Rangers traded Adam Cracknell to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday for center Peter Holland. Holland is expected to start with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League but could be an option down the middle at some point.

Perhaps the most concerning part, for both Zibanejad and the Rangers going forward is that Zibanejad has been concussed five times dating back to his final season in Sweden in 2011-12. 

His last came during the 2015-16 season when he was with the Ottawa Senators.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck