Health problems have plagued the Stars all season, and that trend continued on Thursday as forward Jason Spezza was knocked out of action in a loss to the Jets.
Now, it sounds like Spezza will be out for the foreseeable future.
“Right now we really don’t have a time frame on it, but it’s more than days,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said, per the Stars’ Sean Shapiro. “I’ll just be honest. It’s an upper body injury that doesn’t have anything to do with anything old.
“It’s not a concussion. It’s going to take a week or two, maybe longer.”
The hit in question:
As mentioned above, it’s been a nightmare season for Dallas in terms of injuries. Only two players have appeared in all 52 games — Tyler Seguin and Devin Shore — while the likes of Cody Eakin, Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky and Jiri Hudler have all missed at least 20 games each.
As a result, Dallas has struggled with consistency and developing chemistry. It’s also been robbed of a projected lineup that was armed to the teeth with offensive ability.
The Stars are only three points back of St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but also need to leapfrog three teams — Vancouver, Winnipeg and Calgary — to get there. Being without Spezza, who sits third on the team in assists, will make that task more difficult.
In his second game back from a concussion, Patrik Laine has returned to his scoring ways.
The Winnipeg Jets rookie is now up to 22 goals on the season. He opened the scoring Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks, blasting home a one-timer after being left wide open in the slot. Yeah, he’s not missing from there.
Slick pass from Bryan Little to set up the goal, too.
That’s a good sign for the Jets, who began tonight’s game four points out of a playoff spot.
That’s Laine’s first goal since returning to the Jets lineup, after being sidelined since Jan. 7. He made his return on Tuesday, recording an assist and three shots on goal in almost 22 minutes of ice time versus San Jose.
There was a positive development for the Winnipeg Jets and their rookie scorer Patrik Laine on Friday.
Per reports, Laine was back skating with his teammates during Friday’s practice, albeit while wearing a yellow non-contact jersey, marking another step in his return from a concussion suffered on an open-ice hit from Jake McCabe on Jan. 7.
“It doesn’t matter how long you’re out of the games. I’m still young, and I have a lot of games ahead of me. I don’t have to rush anything,” said Laine, per NHL.com. “It’s easier to work out now, and be able to go out on the ice with the team. Hopefully I can get back soon.”
Laine has missed the last six games, and the Jets have lost four times in his absence. There have been rumblings about the future of head coach Paul Maurice in Winnipeg due to his team’s struggles.
Selected second overall last June, Laine has been as advertised in his freshman campaign: A scoring forward with a terrific and accurate shot. He leads Winnipeg in goals with 21. Certainly, the Jets have missed his ability to finish over this recent stretch. But at age 18 and given the nature of his injury, it’s imperative he not be rushed back.
“He comes back in (Saturday) and if he’s right where he left off and felt good, we would start to push the heart rate a little bit and gradually work up from there,” said Maurice, per the Winnipeg Sun. “If he feels good (Saturday), he’ll get some light bumps in.
“He’s absolutely not getting back into a game until he’s at 100 percent and clear. And then I’m more interested in getting him in the next game.”
The Jets play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
It sounded like Clarke MacArthur was making significant progress from the concussion he suffered during training camp, but on Friday morning, Senators GM Pierre Dorion announced that MacArthur’s season was over.
The news isn’t surprising given the Sens forward’s history with concussions (it’s believed he suffered four different concussions during an 18-month span), but the fact that he had been cleared for contact in December led people to believe there was a chance he could come back.
According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Dorion said MacArthur is “devastated” by today’s news.
It certainly seems like the Senators are doing the right thing by shutting him down. The 31-year-old also missed all but four games in 2015-16 because of a head injury.
As of last September, MacArthur said he didn’t plan on hanging up his skates.
Dorion said he’s trying to acquire another forward via trade to replace him, but with limited teams willing to be sellers, the prices are extremely high.
In other Sens news…
Dorion told members of the media that goalie Craig Anderson will return to Ottawa’s crease in late January or early February.
Anderson has been with his wife, Nicholle, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
Marc Staal, the New York blueliner that’s dealt with concussion issues throughout his career, is reportedly dealing with another concussion — one that held him out of the Rangers’ final two games prior to their bye week, per the Post.
Staal, who has been working out at the club’s practice facility this week, did not go through the NHL’s concussion protocol after he was held out of last week’s games in Philadelphia and Columbus with what was announced as an unidentified “upper-body” injury.
It is unknown whether the alternate captain, who reported he was not feeling well following the Jan. 3 game against the Sabres, will be available for Friday’s game against the Maple Leafs at the Garden or Saturday’s match in Montreal.
Staal has dealt with two concussions prior to this — one in 2011, courtesy a hit from brother Eric, and a second two years later following a headshot from then-Devils forward Reid Boucher.
Prior to getting hurt, the 29-year-old had been a staple of the Rangers’ lineup this year. He was averaging 19:33 through 40 games, chipping in offensively with three goals and six points.
With Staal out, Adam Clendening has been thrust into the defensive rotation — and has fared well. In Saturday’s comeback win over the Blue Jackets, he scored his first goal and recorded his first multi-point effort of the campaign.