The Vancouver Canucks lost a key forward as they began a do-or-die road trip against the Nashville Predators, as Sven Baertschi won’t return to Tuesday’s game after suffering a concussion.
(Somewhat unusually, the Canucks specifically labeled it a concussion rather than an “upper-body injury.”)
Baertschi suffered the injury thanks to a check by Predators forward Cody McLeod, a play that did not draw a penalty.
Today already ranks as a tough day for the Canucks health-wise, as news surfaced that Anton Rodin underwent knee surgery.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without forwards Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin tomorrow at home to Calgary.
Head coach Mike Sullivan said today that Hagelin has been diagnosed with a concussion after being forced to leave Saturday’s victory over St. Louis. The 28-year-old winger was well enough to skate by himself this morning, so it seems unlikely that he’ll be out for too long. Hagelin was reportedly injured after taking a hit to the head from Blues forward Alex Steen.
Malkin has not played since Jan. 24 due to a lower-body injury, but he too shouldn’t be out for much longer.
“Geno will not play tomorrow,” said Sullivan. “He was in a non-contact jersey today, but we are very encouraged with his progress.”
Tomorrow will be the fifth straight game that Malkin has missed. The Penguins have gone 3-1-0 without him.
The Pens are also missing forward Conor Sheary, and they will for a while longer. Sheary is on IR with an upper-body injury.
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.