PRO HOCKEY TALKPHT Select Team

Playoff infirmary report: Who’s hurt, who’s coming back?

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Patrick Kane, Chicago (broken clavicle)

Originally thought to be out for 12 weeks, Kane cut his recovery time nearly in half and will suit up for Game 1 of Chicago’s series against Nashville. Kane hasn’t played since Feb. 24 but was lighting it up — as per usual — prior to getting hurt, with 64 points in 61 games.

Mark Giordano, Calgary (torn biceps)

There was some optimism earlier in the week when the Flames captain resumed skating and told reporters “I feel like hopefully the rehab is going better than expected.” That said, the injury and subsequent surgery came with a 4-5 month recovery period, so any possible Giordano comeback would come in much later playoff rounds.

Max Pacioretty, Montreal (upper-body)

Pacioretty, Montreal’s leading goalscorer with 37, has been out since getting knocked into the boards versus Florida in the third-final game of the season. He’s been ruled out of Game 1 against Ottawa and Habs head coach Michel Therrien is playing it coy about a potential return date.

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh (concussion)

Letang is unlikely to return this season following a hit from Arizona captain Shane Doan in late March.

Christian Ehrhoff, Pittsburgh (concussion)

Though he’s been cleared for contact, the Pens d-man won’t be available for Game 1. Neither will fellow blueliner Derrick Pouliot.

Travis Hamonic, New York Islanders (undisclosed)

Details on the d-man’s health are far and few between. Will the Isles say what his injury is? No. Have they given a timetable for return? No. All we really know is that Hamonic hasn’t been on the ice at all since taking a hipcheck from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi last Friday, and his status is uncertain.

Kevin Klein, New York Rangers (broken arm)

Out since mid-March, the Rangers blueliner was originally expected to be ready for the playoffs — but now it sounds like his Game 1 status is in question. Klein also didn’t practice on Wednesday, casting further doubt on his ability to suit up for the opener against Pittsburgh.

Jason Garrison, Tampa Bay (upper-body)

When the Bolts d-man was hurt in late March, the club put a 3-4 week timetable on his return. As such, Garrison likely won’t be available for the early parts of the Detroit series; that said, the Lightning did get some good news as fellow blueliners Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr looked as though they’d be back in.

Mike Fisher, Nashville (lower-body)

The veteran Preds center missed the final two games of the year, but will draw in for Game 1 against Chicago.

John Gibson, Anaheim (upper-body)

After picking up a knock in practice, Gibson didn’t skate on Wednesday — which points to Frederik Andersen getting the start for Anaheim in Game 1 of its series against the Jets. At this point, it’s worth monitoring this situation to see if Gibson is even healthy enough to back up, as the Ducks have recalled veteran Jason LaBarbera from AHL Norfolk.

Mathieu Perreault, Winnipeg (lower body)

Injured in last Thursday’s shootout loss to Colorado, Perreault hasn’t been practicing or skating but, per Jets head coach Paul Maurice, he is getting better.

“We don’t want to turn it into a bigger problem than it is,” Maurice said, per the Free Press. “He’ll get back out on the ice. He may play based on how he feels after he skates. I expect him to go sooner rather than later.”

Justin Abdelkader, Detroit (hand)

Injured blocking a shot late in the season, Abdelkader is listed as questionable for Game 1 against Tampa Bay. His official status will be announced following the morning skate.

Help on the way? Pens clear Ehrhoff for contact

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Positive development for the Pens just two days prior to their playoff opener against the Rangers — d-man Christian Ehrhoff has been cleared for contact and listed as day-to-day, per head coach Mike Johnston.

Getting Ehrhoff back in time for Thursday’s Game 1 would be a major boon. The Pens were forced to play with just five healthy defensemen at times down the stretch, thanks to a tight cap situation and injuries to Ehrhoff, Derrick Pouliot, Kris Letang and Olli Maatta. The latter two remain out while Pouliot was held out of today’s practice with an unspecified ailment.

If Ehrhoff returns, it would give the Pens a much-needed veteran presence on the back end. The 32-year-old German has 73 games of playoff experience and went to a Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver in 2011 — but he’s been plagued by concussion issues repeatedly over the last few months, bouncing in and out of the lineup.

If Ehrhoff can’t go for Game 1, the Pens will have some other options available — there are no salary cap constraints in the playoffs, so the likes of Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin could step in.

Report: Penguins’ Letang (concussion) is done for the season

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The Pittsburgh Penguins, now fighting for their playoff lives, will be without defenseman Kris Letang for the remainder of the season, according to a report that surfaced Friday evening.

From Dejan Kovacevic of DK on Pittsburgh Sports:

Kris Letang will not play again for the Penguins this season, “even if we make a deep run in the playoffs,” general manager Jim Rutherford told DKonPittsburghSports.com after tonight’s game at Consol Energy Center.

And from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

If the Penguins earn a playoff spot, it is “not likely” defenseman Kris Letang will play, general manager Jim Rutherford said.

Letang has been out since March 28 because of a concussion that occurred after a hit into the boards by Arizona’s Shane Doan.

“Based on his present condition,” Rutherford said, “it’s not likely he’d return this year.”

On March 28, Letang was hospitalized after taking a hit from Arizona Coyotes veteran forward Shane Doan and diagnosed with a concussion.

Related: (Video) PHT Extra: What’s ailing the Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens to play with just five d-men in crucial tilt versus Isles

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Pittsburgh will be undermanned in the first of two games that could decide its playoff fate.

On Friday, head coach Mike Johnston announced that injured d-man Derrick Pouliot would miss tonight’s game, meaning the Pens will ice just five blueliners when they host the Isles at Consol.

A rash of poor health and cap constraints have left Pittsburgh in this position. Olli Maatta, Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff are out with various ailments and, as a result, journeyman Taylor Chorney was recently brought up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton because his (relatively low) cap hit fit within the financial parameters of a recall.

The Pens are asking a lot of Chorney, 27. He’s played almost exclusively in the AHL over the last three seasons and, since appearing in 42 games in his rookie campaign, has skated in just 22 NHL contests.

So the Pens will play tonight with a blueline comprised of Chorney, Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, Ian Cole and Ben Lovejoy. It’s the same five-man unit that struggled in Tuesday’s loss to Ottawa after Pouliot exited with his injury; Martin played over 29 minutes, Scuderi over 25 while Cole and Lovejoy were both over 21 (Chorney, playing in just his fifth game of the season, played 13:34.)

The Penguins blew a 3-0 lead against the Sens, eventually losing 4-3 in OT. That said, Pittsburgh still controls its own destiny for the playoffs — if they beat the Isles and Sabres, they’re in (and could pass New York for third in the Metropolitan Division.)

(Video) PHT Extra: What’s ailing the Pittsburgh Penguins

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Penguins fans got some promising news today from coach Mike Johnston, who suggested injured defensemen Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff could be back for the playoffs.

There are still issues with this team, like forward depth. But as we discuss, a healthier blue line would sure help:

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