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?
It’s a minor note, but worth sharing regardless. The Devils are looking to take a demanding 3-1 series lead over Philly tonight and they might have to do it without grind liner Ryan Carter.
Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports Carter missed the team’s skate this morning and he’s “getting treatment” making him unlikely to play in tonight’s Game 4.
In his place could be young energy forward Tim Sestito. Sestito plays a physical brand of hockey and isn’t afraid to throw the body or his fists on occasion. Tim is the brother of Flyers forward Tom Sestito. No, Tom won’t be suiting up for Philly.
Carter has been spending his time on the Devils’ third and fourth lines doing his part to frustrate the Flyers’ top scoring lines. Should he miss tonight’s game, Sestito has his hands full in trying to corral the likes of Claude Giroux and Danny Briere.
Last summer, the Montreal Canadiens took a leap of faith that Andrei Markov could recover from knee issues, signing him to a hefty contract extension that looks even riskier today. P.K. Subban is much younger, but it’s hard not to wonder about history repeating itself in a negative way after the Habs announced that the young blueliner (and impending restricted free agent) will not play in the 2012 World Hockey Championships because of a “minor knee injury.”
Here’s the full release from the Canadiens:
Montreal Canadiens assistant general manager Larry Carrière announced tonight that defenseman P.K. Subban will be returning to Montreal and will not participate in the World Hockey Championships. Subban suffered a minor knee injury that would have sidelined him for approximately two weeks.
He will be re-evaluated by the team doctors.
Perhaps it really is just a minor issue, but either way, the Canadiens face a lot of tough questions during this off-season. The most pressing problem comes at the top, where the Habs must make decisions about their next general manager and head coach.
It doesn’t stop there, however, as that new GM will need to sign young cornerstones Subban and Carey Price. Heavens forbid that we’ll look back at the triple-low-five with regrets.
A surprise out of Philly this morning as Devils GM Lou Lamoriello addressed the media regarding the condition of Ilya Kovalchuk.
Lamoriello says Kovalchuk will miss tonight’s Game 2 against the Flyers thanks to a lower body injury, an ailment he developed during the first round against Florida. Kovalchuk looked less-than stellar in Game 1 and has appeared to play hurt through most of the playoffs. Lamoriello says Kovalchuk is day-to-day.
Whenever he’s been asked about whether he’s hurt or not, Kovalchuk has said he’s perfectly healthy. When he was pressed about his health after Game 1, however, he bristled at the question continuing to insist he was fine.
Seeing is believing, however, and now the Devils will have to make due without one of their most important players. Taking Kovalchuk’s spot in the lineup will be Tim Sestito and finding a way to juggle the lines without Kovalchuk will be a tall task for coach Peter DeBoer.
Bruins coach Claude Julien already has his hands full with trying to get his team to beat Caps goalie Braden Holtby. He might have bigger issues on his hands today trying to do that without a pair of starters.
Julien tells CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty that forward Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Joe Corvo will take warmups before this afternoon’s Game 6 in Washington. This comes after seeing both players suffer injuries in yesterday’s Game 5 with Bergeron dealing with an upper body injury and Corvo smarting after blocking a shot off his leg. Bergeron took a pair of hits to the head and saw his time greatly reduced in the third period.
If Bergeron can’t start today, Jordan Caron will get the call to take his place in the lineup while if Corvo can’t start, Mike Mottau or Andrew Bodnarchuk will take his spot on the blue line. If the Bruins were looking for their backs to be further against the wall, they might just get that should either or both guys be out.