People have compared the incident to what happened to Mike Modano in his only season with the Red Wings in 2010-11. Skate-related injuries are almost always scary, so it wouldn’t be surprising if this keeps the speedy winger out for some time. We’ll keep an eye out for updates on his condition.
Helm was actually a surprise to play tonight as he missed the last 10 games of the season with a knee injury, but now he has another issue to deal with.
Steven Stamkos scored 60 goals with a bum shoulder
When Steve Stamkos notched his 60th goal the other night, he did something that only 19 other players had done in NHL history. What we didn’t know about Stamkos going into his run at 60 is that it’s more impressive he pulled it off than you think.
Stamkos does not know the injury occurred, but admitted he nearly missed the game against Carolina on March 10. He scored his 49th and 50th goals in the next game and finished with 10 more over the final 13 games to reach 60 for the season.
So not only was he carrying the team virtually by himself, he was doing it while injured? Steven Stamkos has big, brass ones. Given the torrid pace he closed the season with, it makes you wonder if Stamkos even felt anything at all. I know we’ll call Stamkos a “scoring machine” but he may actually be bionic if he’s able to withstand a bum shoulder with how he plays.
Stamkos is getting a MRI done on the shoulder to see if it’s badly hurt. If everything comes up clean, expect Stamkos to play for Team Canada at the World Championships in May.
Among stats nerds, Braden Holtby’s small sample size of success* has made him something of a punchline. The Washington Capitals must hope that he can regain that spirit, however, as Michal Neuvirth went down writhing in pain during tonight’s big game against the Washington Capitals.
Then again, there might actually be a nice indirect effect to Neuvirth’s potential leg injury, which came when former Cap Marco Sturm fell awkwardly around his knee. (Obligatory joke: Sturm isn’t content to simply hurt himself anymore.)
Alex Ovechkin scored a 2-0 goal shortly after Neuvirth was injured, and while this could just be a coincidence, I got the feeling that Washington saw its goalie go down and decide to nix the “sit on a two-goal lead” plan. (And just as I was about to publish this post, Brooks Laich made it 3-0.)
The Capitals have been guilty of trying to get by with flimsy leads an awful lot lately, although they’ve managed to squeeze out some shootout wins in all but an ugly loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There’s still plenty of time for Washington and Florida to swap fates – if you are a committed follower of the NHL’s stretch run races, you know that weird things can happen – but there might be at least a short-term shot in the arm advantage to this injury.
Still, the longer-term worry is undeniable: the Capitals might just be down to their third goalie as the playoffs approach if Neuvirth’s issue ends up being serious. (Many believe Tomas Vokoun’s Capitals days are already over.)
* – Some Caps fans based a tiny body of work last season as proof that Semyon Varlamov was the team’s third best goalie at the time. Cute.
Believe it or not, things can’t always be golden for the Swedish stud, though. Katie Strang provides an update that might make Rangers fans queasy; Lundqvist appeared to hurt his arm a bit after making a big save tonight. He spoke about how he’s feeling while wrapping the injured limb in ice in the Rangers dressing room:
“It’s stiff. I can’t really grip on the outside,” Lundqvist said. “It’s tough to have balance on the stick. We’ll see how it feels in a couple of days. It’s probably going to be pretty stiff tomorrow.”
Well, yikes. It doesn’t sound like an enormously problematic injury, but hearing that is never a great thing. The good news is that the playoffs begin in eight days, however, so that should be ample time for the world-class netminder to get healthy.
One of the (ridiculous) criticisms of Lundqvist – the guy who won a gold medal for Sweden – is that he hasn’t had much postseason success, but now the Rangers finally have a team in front of him to give him a real chance. Not being 100 percent could put a serious dent in that opportunity, though.
(Of course, most players are unhealthy to some degree in the postseason, so maybe it will just come with the territory.)
Tough start for Sabres: Thomas Vanek might be injured
There is still plenty of time left but Saturday night hasn’t gotten off to a great start for the Buffalo Sabres. As John Vogl points out, they went down 1-0 to the lowly Maple Leafs in Toronto during the first period – on a shorthanded goal, no less – and might be without their richly paid sniper. Vogl and others point out that Thomas Vanek “went to the dressing room,” which is code for “could be injured.”
Update: the good news is that Vanek’s been back in action. The bad news is that, relatively speaking, he looks a little sluggish/out of it.
To make matters just a little bit worse, the Washington Capitals lead the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in front of a Verizon Center crowd that has been boisterous regarding the return of Nicklas Backstrom. (Oh yeah, the Ottawa Senators also beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout today, to rub a little more salt in the wound.)
Naturally, if the stretch run is teaching us anything, it’s that early results don’t mean everything. Vanek could be OK and a one-goal deficit (or lead) is far from a sure thing.
Still, this isn’t exactly the way Buffalo wanted things to begin.