Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard will miss his third consecutive game tonight with an injury that isn’t totally clear to his team, according to NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley.
Alain Vigneault said that the Canucks aren’t sure if it’s “neck-related or concussion-related.” Ballard is dealing with headaches but Vancouver is unsure of the root cause, so he’ll be out until the team’s doctors figure that out.
As Woodley points out, the line between concussion and neck-related injuries blurred in a high-profile way with Sidney Crosby’s neck issues, so it’s not surprising that the Canucks are handling this situation with kid gloves. The bigger surprise to some might be that Ballard’s a more prominent piece of the puzzle in Vancouver after being a fairly routine (and expensive) healthy scratch during the 2010-11 season and playoffs.
A lot of things have gone right for the St. Louis Blues this season, but they’ve had to roll with some injury punches.
From Alex Steen to Andy McDonald and David Perron, the Blues have fought off adversity. Now it’s apparent that one of their pleasant (if subtle) free agent surprises will be on the shelf for at least a bit longer as Jason Arnott was placed on the injured reserve.
Arnott is dealing with an injured shoulder suffered thanks to a tumble into the boards on Feb. 3. There’s no word on how significant the issue is (aside from the fact that he’s on the IR, of course).
The Blues signed Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner to matching one-year, $2.5 million contracts this summer. Arnott’s been a nice fit with 12 goals and 24 points while Langenbrunner has a respectable 18 points.
St. Louis scores by committee, but it will miss Arnott’s experience – and most importantly – his hard shot and scoring touch.
The Detroit Red Wings could tie the NHL’s all-time record for consecutive home wins with 20 this weekend, but they’ll need to do it without two important pieces.
Ansar Khan reports that the team will be without workhorse goalie Jimmy Howard and underrated scorer Danny Cleary for what could be a historic weekend. The team will re-evaluate the two players next week.
Howard is dealing with a broken finger that has prompted the Red Wings to give mixed signals. GM Ken Holland says that it’s the type of thing that takes 4-6 weeks to heal yet Howard claims he’s day-to-day, so expect more twists and turns with his situation.
Khan reports that Cleary is expected to get his knee drained, which should sideline him for the next two games. The bigger question is whether or not he’ll get a shot in that knee; if so, the timeline seems to be three-to-five days.
Both injuries seem rather tricky, and with the Red Wings on top of the league, you’d think the franchise would err on the side of caution (especially with Howard). That being said, the St. Louis Blues and rest of the Central Division still looms large, so perhaps there’s a worry that missing a beat will mute Detroit’s chances.
(H/T to George Malik.)