If you thought the Colorado Avalanche signing defenseman Greg Zanon was a little odd, there’s a good reason why they did it.
Courtesy of fan blog Eurolanche, defenseman Jan Hejda let’s it be known he’ll miss 4-6 months after having wrist surgery. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post finds out from the Avalanche that Hejda had surgery right after the season ended which helps push up his date to return. Nice of the Avs to let us all in on that tidbit.
With Hejda out until at least the start of the season, Zanon being brought on board makes sense as a replacement. They’re both defensive-defensemen but, as Dater points out, when Hejda returns they’ll have a logjam on the blue line. As it is now they’ve got seven defensemen signed and still have Erik Johnson to get signed on long term. With eight guys, someone is likely to get moved later on.
It was a poorly-kept secret Ilya Kovalchuk was playing through pain in the Stanley Cup finals. He didn’t look like the dynamic offensive powerhouse he was in the first three rounds and having to deal with the physically punishing Kings made matters worse.
Today, Devils coach Peter DeBoer confirmed what everyone believed to be true in that Kovalchuk was playing through a back injury. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reports DeBoer saying Kovalchuk’s back was in such rough shape he was playing “well below 100 percent.”
Kovalchuk had just one goal, an empty-netter in Game 4, during the finals but finished the postseason tied for the playoff lead in goals scored with eight and third in points with 19, one behind both Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. While that offense all came in the first three rounds for Kovalchuk, you wonder how differently things would’ve turned out if he was fully healthy. Kovalchuk finished fifth in the NHL in points this season.
St. Louis Blues captain David Backes and head coach Ken Hitchcock emphasized the fact that they didn’t want to discuss injuries after being swept by the Los Angeles Kings because they told Jeremy Rutherford that it would seem like making excuses. Still, if you subscribe to the reasonable theory that “everyone is injured” during the playoffs, then it’s merely a fascinating exercise, so we’ll make note of developments as they come in.
The first interesting bit is that Jaroslav Halak wasn’t the only prominent Blues netminder who wasn’t 100 percent in the playoffs. Rutherford reports that Brian Elliott was dealing with an ear infection during the semifinals.
It’s not as easy to assess how an ear infection might have affected Elliott, but perhaps it had some impact on his balance (they can in some cases). That makes for an unusual ailment, yet far from the strangest thing a player’s dealt with in the playoffs (Backes specifically denied issues with his appendix). One might assume that flying wasn’t exactly a “treat” either. Fighting through an ear infection isn’t on the same scale as many of the other injuries – not pains – that have made some hockey players’ toughness almost legendary, but it makes you wonder how “off” he might have been.
Beyond those questions, one must ask: does that make the question of giving Jake Allen a try any more reasonable?