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.
Some good news if you’re a fan of the Boston Bruins.
John-Michael Liles, who’s missed the last 20 games because of a concussion, will return to the lineup for Sunday’s tilt against his former team, the Carolina Hurricanes.
Liles suffered the injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 27, after he took a scary fall into the boards.
“It wasn’t good,” Liles told the Boston Herald in late December. “It was definitely scary. It was kind of an unfortunate break. I was driving the net, had a lot of speed, and my feet got taken out. There wasn’t much I could do going that fast and that angle I was going. I was able to shield my face from (Czarnik) and their D-man. By doing that, I kind of hit the boards full-speed with nothing breaking the fall.”
Liles was skating on Boston’s third pairing with Kevan Miller during the pre-game warmup. He’ll probably be eased back into action with some limited minutes in his first few games.
The Winnipeg Jets didn’t have an issue with Jake McCabe‘s hit on Patrik Laine, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy with the end result.
On Sunday morning, Jets head coach Paul Maurice confirmed that the star rookie suffered a concussion on the play. There’s no timetable for his return.
“Patty’s got a concussion,” said Maurice, per the Jets. “He got tested out last night, see doctors again today. So he’ll start the stages of recovery with that. We’ll wait till the symptoms subside and then you start increasing workload and getting back on the ice.”
Maurice also mentioned that forward Drew Stafford will be taking Laine’s spot with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers.
“It’s our best player, arguably,” Stafford said, per NHL.com. “So it’s not good any time you see a guy in that kind of a position on the ice with his helmet and the way he was. I’ve been there before, it’s not a good feeling. I don’t really want to comment on the hit, it’s not my place to do that. I just hope Patty’s OK. It’s just unfortunate.”
Laine currently leads all rookies in points with 37 and he’s tied with Leafs forward Auston Matthews for the lead in goals with 21.