Hockey fans – particularly admirers of the Pittsburgh Penguins – might just be crossing off the days until Sunday. It’s far from a guarantee, but that’s the soonest that Sidney Crosby claimed he might return.
With the Toronto Maple Leafs in town to face the Penguins, Pierre McGuire received the chance to engage in a lengthy interview with Crosby. Check out the Penguins star’s thoughts on his latest steps in recovery, his views on the team he captains and plenty of other issues:
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The Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs game already carried potential for serious damage, but that mostly seemed in the form of the Buds’ playoff hopes. Instead, it’s been a more direct, literal way, as the game already provided a significant amount of bumps and bruises.
Obviously, losing Lupul would be far-and-away the biggest deal. (Losing Lupul would be about the only thing worse than dropping the game, I’d imagine.)
Then again, it would totally take care of that “awkwardness with Randy Carlyle” angle for a bit, right? Silver linings.
The Bruins’ injury updates are related to previous incidents instead of tonight’s events, however. Fluto Shinzawa reports that a) Nathan Horton hasn’t resumed skating and b) Tuukka Rask’s injury will likely keep him out closer to six weeks than four. Ouch.
Would you consider your back part of your lower body?
NHL injury reports occasionally bring about such “philosophical” discussions, but it seems like those usually don’t happen until the playoffs – when teams employ such smoke-and-mirrors tactics that they might as well just call every issue a “bodily ailment.” Perhaps the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t trying to be coy with the initial reports of Kimmo Timonen’s issues, but CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio sheds some light on the situation.
Apparently the Finnish blueliner is dealing with back problems, although the good news is that it doesn’t appear to be a major disc-related headache. The best news is that Panaccio reports that “he isn’t expected to be out long.”
Even one game might be a blow to Timonen, however, as he appeared in 248 consecutive games.
Strong season for Timonen
Timonen’s been a great asset for Philly so far in 2011-12, as his 36 points leaves him just one point behind last year’s mark and three behind the 39 he scored in 2009-10. He still has a shot of beating his best-ever numbers with Philly (44 points in 07-08), but his chance of matching his overall career-high of 55 points from his Nashville Predators days took a big blow – even if he only misses minimal time.
Ultimately, the Flyers probably only care that he’s close to 100 percent by the time the playoffs roll around in early April, though.
If Tuukka Rask is going to make a further impact for the Boston Bruins this season, it will likely be if Tim Thomas falters in the playoffs. Boston announced that Rask will miss anywhere between four and six weeks with a groin injury/abdominal strain suffered while making a save this weekend.
This development is an even bigger bummer than usual for both parties.
From the Bruins’ perspective, they’ll likely need to lean on Thomas more than they might like going down the stretch. Boston still has a three-point lead and three games in hand on the Ottawa Senators for the Northeast Division title, but that gap could close rapidly if they need to turn to Michael Hutchinson or some other green backup to keep their 37-year-old star fresh going into the playoffs.
Update: the Bruins decided to be proactive as far as Thomas’ freshness by signing Marty Turco, who will join the team as long as he clears waivers. Rask won’t have to look over his shoulder, either, because Turco wont be eligible for playoff play.
Rask’s loss isn’t just in the starts he would receive. As a pending restricted free agent going into this summer, he might not get a chance to boost his numbers that much more.
Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom tweaked his groin making a save early in last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was already clear that it wouldn’t be an easy situation, but NHL.com’s Brian Hedger tracked down a more specific estimate. The Wild revealed that the issue will likely sideline him for two to four weeks.
Backstrom’s loss looks to be backup Josh Harding’s gain. A two week window could give him 6-7 starts while a month-long reading could provide as many as 15 opportunities.
Naturally, that would assume that Harding would play each game, which is far from a guarantee. That being said, head coach Mike Yeo points out that there aren’t many back-to-back games* so new backup Matt Hackett might not see much time.
The Wild currently sit at 12th place in the West, trailing the eighth-ranked Dallas Stars by five points (71 to 66). It certainly doesn’t look like a promising situation for Minnesota, although Harding could profoundly improve his value on the free agent market if he can help them turn things around.
* – The Wild have to back-to-back sets, to be exact:
- March 24 and 25 (at Buffalo, at Washington)
- March 31 and April 1 (vs. Los Angeles, at Chicago)