Jordan Staal
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‘Canes put Staal on IR with concussion, no timetable for return

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Things had been going Carolina’s way lately — the ‘Canes were 6-2-0 in their last eight, and rallied to beat the Panthers on Sunday night — but that all changed on Monday, as GM Ron Francis announced Jordan Staal had suffered a concussion.

Per the Raleigh News & Observer, there is no timetable for Staal’s return.

Staal suffered the concussion early in the first period of yesterday’s game, and didn’t return. It was a big hole to fill for the ‘Canes — and it will be, for the foreseeable future.

The 28-year-old has a pretty big role in Carolina, and is the club’s top defensive center. He averages a healthy 18:29 TOI per game, and is one of the club’s best faceoff men, winning draws at a 60 percent clip.

Last year, Staal scored 20 goals for the first time since being acquired by the ‘Canes. He was off to a modest offensive start this year, with five goals and nine points through 21 contests.

The next few weeks could be crucial for the ‘Canes, as they adjust to life without No. 11 while trying to climb back into playoff positioning.

It’s expected that Teuvo Teravainen and/or Elias Lindholm will get minutes down the middle with Staal out, as could rookie Sebastian Aho. Whether or not they can fill all the holes remains to be seen — Staal featured prominently on the penalty kill, and mans the power play — but head coach Bill Peters doesn’t have a ton of options at his disposal.

Carolina did recall Phil Di Giuseppe from AHL Charlotte on Monday. He’s proven to be a fairly effective offensive producer in the past — in his rookie year, he scored seven goals and 17 points in 41 games.

Pre-game reading: On Patrick Sharp’s scary concussion experience

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— Up top, does Artemi Panarin ever score an ugly goal? Another beauty one-timer last night in San Jose, albeit in a losing effort.

Patrick Sharp on his latest concussion: “Most injuries you can circle a date, but the injury I suffered was a day-to-day thing I thought I had experienced in the past, but never quite like this. … The type of injury that I had, you hear some scary stories from around the league. … I’m thankful I was able to come out of it and feel healthy and strong.” (Dallas Morning News)

— Following the unveiling of the Vegas Golden Knights, the Hockey News takes a look at the top 10 expansion logos of the modern NHL era. The winner? The Vegas Golden Knights, apparently. (Hockey News)

Martin Hanzal is a very important part of the Arizona Coyotes, both as a player and rode model for the team’s many youngsters. But the big center is also a pending UFA who’s had his name bandied about in trade rumors. So his situation is definitely worth monitoring. The Coyotes are already seven points out of a playoff spot. If they don’t re-sign him, you have to think they’ll trade him before March 1. (Arizona Republic)

— What’s it like to be the first NHL goalie from Denmark? The story of Frederik Andersen, who’s rebounded nicely after a tough start for his new team in Toronto. (Canadian Press)

Matthew Benning has some solid NHL bloodlines. His father, Brian, played over 500 games in the league as a defenseman. His uncle, Jim, was an NHL d-man too, and is currently the GM of the Vancouver Canucks. Now it’s Matthews’ turn to play — and play pretty well, apparently — as a rookie defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers. The 22-year-old was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins, but opted not to sign with them, due in part to all the young d-men in their system. (Edmonton Journal)

— TSN’s stats guy, Travis Yost, asks the question: Why has Joe Thornton stopped shooting the puck? To which we’d like to know: When did he ever start? (TSN)

Tweet of the Day

OK, fine, that was an old tweet, but Hutton signed a contract extension today, so you know he’s gonna bust out some moves.

Enjoy the games!

Lack suffers concussion at practice, ‘Canes recall Leighton

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Eddie Lack #31 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on December 11, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Fairly hectic sequence of events for Carolina ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Leafs.

Netminder Eddie Lack, who has barely played over the last two weeks, suffered a concussion at Monday’s practice and was immediately placed on IR, the club announced.

In a corresponding move, the ‘Canes recalled veteran journeyman Michael Leighton from AHL Charlotte.

Acquired from Vancouver at the 2015 draft and signed to a two-year extension months later, Lack has struggled to find consistency in Carolina. It’s unlikely this recent development will help any. As mentioned, he’s all but ceded the net to Cam Ward — the NHL’s reigning second star of the week — and has played just twice in November.

One was a 4-1 loss to New Jersey, in which he allowed three goals on 20 shots. The other was a 28-second appearance against Anaheim on Nov. 10.

There’s been no word on a possible timetable for Lack’s return. As mentioned, Carolina plays tomorrow night in the first of an extremely road-heavy stretch — the Toronto game is one of nine roadies the club will play from now until Dec. 10.

Additional stops are in Montreal, Ottawa, MSG, Boston, MSG again, then a three-game West Coast trip to Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose.

 

Hornqvist ‘day-to-day’ with concussion suffered against Washington

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins
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Pittsburgh lost badly in Washington last night — 7-1 — but that lopsided scoreline might not be the biggest concern.

On Thursday, the Pens announced that forward Patric Hornqvist suffered a concussion against the Caps, and is out day-to-day. Veteran winger Chris Kunitz was also injured (lower-body), and is also day-to-day.

The Hornqvist ailment is garnering most of the attention, given he had a pretty rough ride against the Caps.

From the Post-Gazette:

Symptoms of Hornqvist’s concussion didn’t present until after the Penguins’ 7-1 loss to the Capitals at Verizon Center, Sullivan said.

Hornqvist had a few physical battles with Tom Wilson, but nothing to indicate he was concussed. There was a sequence where he was checked from behind by Matt Niskanen, and his head hit hard into the goalpost.

The veteran Swede was off to a terrific start this year, with five goals and 13 points through 16 games while averaging just under 16 minutes per night.

Pittsburgh is back in action on Friday, when it takes on the Isles in Brooklyn. From there, the Pens have a pretty road-heavy schedule coming up: four of their next six will be away from PPG Paints, with stops in Buffalo, MSG, Minnesota and then back at Barclays.

 

Duchene, out with concussion, shocked that ‘vicious’ Trouba hit went uncalled

Matt Duchene
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Matt Duchene has been out of the lineup for nearly a week after taking a headshot from Jets d-man Jacob Trouba.

Now, the Avs forward is speaking out about the hit — and not in the fondest of terms.

‘I thought it was pretty vicious,” Duchene told the Denver Post, adding he was “shocked” there was no penalty on the play. “I knew where [Trouba] was and he kind of threw his arm out in desperation. I think it was an unfortunate reaction, but it caught me in the head, chipped a tooth, knocked a tooth loose as well, and obviously gave me a concussion.

“I obviously wasn’t too thrilled with that play.”

The play in question (Trouba also avoided supplemental discipline, FYI):

(Link here, if you’re unable to view)

Duchene has missed Colorado’s last two games while recovering from his concussion, and will be out again tonight when the Avs take on the Stars in Dallas.

This makes for a tough scenario for Avs head coach Jared Bednar, who is also without the services of captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body).