The Edmonton Oilers have had their share of injury problems this season, but this one has to take the cake. While skating in warm-ups before their game in Columbus tonight, Taylor Hall fell and was cut in the face by teammate Corey Potter’s skate. According to a team spokesman, Hall “fell and a teammate tried to avoid him and his skate cut him.”
In the aftermath, Hall took a deep cut above the eye and according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “may require more extensive repairs.” In this case, “extensive repairs” consisted of 30 stitches for the Oilers winger. Initial reports said that Hall was sent to the hospital, but later it was clarified that he was being attended to by the Oilers medical staff at Nationwide Arena.
For anyone wondering how he could be cut around the eye while he wears a visor, he was not wearing a helmet during the warm-ups.
The injury means the Oilers were forced to start the game without Hall, superstar rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle tonight. For those keeping track at home, that means the Oilers are without 45 goals and 64 assists between those three productive forwards.
Then again, the Oilers were able to rack up a pair of goals as they raced out to a 2-0 lead through the first period of action…
Update (10:04pm EST): …and after scoring the first two goals of the game, the Oilers watched Columbus rattle off four straight goals for the 4-2 win.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu leaves with upper body injury
Mikko Koivu was forced to leave the game earlier after he was rocked by a Vladimir Sobotka check less than eight minutes into the game against the St. Louis Blues. The Minnesota Wild announced in the first period that his return was questionable and that he’d suffered an “upper body injury.” It didn’t take long for the status update to be amended to “will not return” for tonight’s game.
For a little more detail on the injury, Wild beat writer Michael Russo described the aftermath of the hit. He said Koivu “immediately cradled his arm close to his body and skated to the bench like it was his shoulder.”
We’ll eagerly await an update that offers more than upper-body injury.
For the Wild, this is just the latest in injury in a season that has seen way too much action in the trainer’s room. Minnesota has already seen forwards Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard sidelined for extended periods this season—the latter two players still out indefinitely with concussions. The last thing they need is their best center and leader to miss any time as they frantically look to right the ship after a recent 2-7-1 stretch.
Good thing the Wild were able to get the season started on the right foot. Despite the recent struggles, the Wild are still right in the middle of the pack for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. If the beginning of the season proved anything, it was that this team has the potential to be dangerous when they have all of their guns healthy.
There was a frightening moment in the middle of the second period of the Jets/Devils game when Blake Wheeler took a slapshot from Petr Sykora straight to the throat. Wheeler was forced straight to the locker room and was unable to return to the ice as New Jersey escaped with a 2-1 victory.
After the game, Jets head coach Claude Noel shared a little more about Wheeler’s injury. He explained after the game that Wheeler was forced to the hospital to undergo additional tests. Thankfully, all of the tests came back negative and the team is saying that all will be well with the power forward. In fact, the word is that he’ll be able to travel with the team to Ottawa for their game on Monday night against the Senators.
Wheeler has taken has game to a new level this season. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher is starting to fulfill the potential that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. He’s leading the Jets with 23 assists, 32 points, and a plus 10 rating. It may have taken a few years (and a few teams), but he’s finally starting to play like the guy who had scouts salivating over his impressive mixture of size, strength, and skill.
For anyone watching the game live, they know it looked like it could have been much worse.