Columbus Blue Jackets fans probably know the drill by now.
The Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 for their first regulation road win of the season, but it naturally came at a huge cost. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline passes along word from Columbus head coach Scott Arniel that James Wisniewski broke his ankle during the game.
The somewhat good news is that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said it’s not necessarily a season-ending injury and that doctors will examine the damage on Friday.
Either way, Wisniewski has suffered through a disastrous debut season as a member of the Blue Jackets. He started it off with that notorious eight-game suspension. Things have been a little rocky on the ice, too, as his solid 17 points have been overshadowed by a -18 rating.
Suspensions and injuries have been a frequent nuisance in Wisniewski’s career; the 75 games he played in 2010-11 were a career-high. Still, this season seems like a concentrated combination of every issue that nagged him during his career: sloppy defensive play, discipline issues and now health problems have plagued his 2011-12.
You never know with hockey players, but it would be surprising if Anze Kopitar recovers from his broken ankle within the best-case-scenario window of six weeks. It probably isn’t a big shock, but for Los Angeles Kings hoping for the best, we have bad news: Kopitar will need surgery on that ankle.
Kopitar underwent an MRI exam today, with the results showing that he will need corrective surgery for that injury. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the Associated Press.
PHT provided reactions to the injury, as I discussed the fact that the Kings must find a way without Kopitar while Joe broke down how head coach Terry Murray might juggle his lines to try to recover from the loss.
Even if Kopitar comes back in six weeks, it’s far from a guarantee that the Kings will make it that far into the playoffs. They would likely need to make it to the Western Conference finals for him to play in another game before the 2010-11 season, which is possible but maybe not very plausible in the hyper-competitive West.
Then again, maybe the Kings will take a “nothing to lose” attitude to the playoffs as they cope without their best forward. It’ll be interesting to watch, even if the hockey might not always be pretty.
If the Florida Panthers truly believe they have a chance to break their lengthy playoff drought, that journey just got a bit tougher.
On Frozen Pond’s George Richards reports that Panthers center Shawn Matthias will miss six to eight weeks due to a broken ankle suffered in the team’s last game before the All-Star weekend. The semi-good news is that the reported window of time won’t cover the rest of the 2010-11 season, unless he suffers a setback. Still, the injury could keep him on the shelf into the late stages of March, when the Panthers are usually scratching and clawing to stay in the Eastern Conference bubble. (Then they usually end up just a few strides behind the bottom seeds in the playoffs.)
The team won’t be able to use the Matthias injury as a go-to excuse for why they didn’t make the playoffs because he’s only averaging a little less than 12 minutes of ice time per game. Still, the young forward already matched his modest career high of 16 points from last season, so it’s sad to see his moderate progress halted.
Matthias became a member of the Panthers system thanks to a trade that sent Todd Bertuzzi to the Detroit Red Wings in February 2007.
Things have been a little bit rocky lately for the Tampa Bay Lightning, even if they’re still having a much more positive campaign than last season. Vincent Lecavalier went down with an injury and was only mildly effective when he was playing. Simon Gagne just came back from neck problems and seems like he’s finally contributing something after going without a point in his first games with the team.
Perhaps most disturbingly, Steve Stamkos and the Lighting cooled off a bit lately, as the club went 1-2-1 in their last four games (including 6-0 and 8-1 beatings).
If the Lightning are going to right the ship, they might have to do it without one of their most underrated players. Damian Cristodero reports that Steve Downie is being evaluated today for what might be a broken ankle.
Downie is the tough-as-nails compliment to Stamkos and Martin St. Louis on one of the league’s most productive lines, so a significant injury would be a big blow. That being said, it’s not very easy to empathize with Downie; while he seems like he rejuvenated his career, he has a lengthy history of underhanded behavior.
While he’s far from an angel, the Lightning would still miss him if he’s out for a considerable amount of time. We’ll pass along word once it surfaces.