The Edmonton Oilers were already set to finish the season without one promising young player after rookie Taylor Hall fought his way to an injury, but now they must play their final 14 games without Sam Gagner.
Gagner will miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his hand on Thursday, according to TSN. Gagner continued to play in Wednesday’s game versus the Washington Capitals after a teammate’s skate cut that hand, which could be cited if someone compiled an epic anthology “Why hockey players are tough.”
The 21-year-old forward seemed prime to match or exceed his career high of 49 points, with 42 in 68 games played. His numbers haven’t changed much during his four-year NHL career, although his 17:45 time on ice average indicates that his profile might be growing.
The Islanders defensive unit this year has been hampered by numerous injuries. Team leader Mark Streit has missed most of the season, Mike Mottau is out for the year, and newly acquired Mark Eaton has been out for some time now bothered with a hip injury. While the Islanders have rebounded of late while hoping and waiting for these guys to get back, they can stop wondering about Eaton’s return now.
Eaton will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hip. Katie Strang of New York Newsday reports that Eaton will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Coincidentally, it’s the same hip and injury that ended Mottau’s season earlier this year.
For the Isles, with the injuries it’s allowed a handful of players to get a long look at the NHL level and at least one of them, Andrew MacDonald, is taking full advantage of the opportunity. Through 25 games, MacDonald has no goals and 11 assists with a -4 rating while he’s playing an average of 22:39 a game. that’s some solid work for a guy that started the year in the AHL.
What happened to Alexander Frolov? This question isn’t exclusive to the injury he suffered on Saturday, but instead focused on the fact that the New York Rangers and former Los Angeles Kings forward’s career has been steadily going downhill for years.
The Canadian Press reports that Frolov will miss the rest of the 2010-11 season because of season-ending surgery on a torn ACL suffered during Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. Frolov hurt his right knee in that game.
One has to wonder what the future holds for a player who seemed like at least a minor star-in-the-making at one point when he was skating with the Kings. By the end of Frolov’s six NHL season 08-09, he already had two 30+ goal campaigns and three more 20+ goal outputs. Yet his point totals have dropped each year since his career-high of 71 in the 06-07 campaign; he only had seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 43 games this season. That’s the kind of pace that he was on in his 31-point rookie season in 02-03, his previous career low.
Frolov won’t get a chance to turn things around this season because of that surgery. Considering the trouble he faced finding a job in free agency last summer, it’s not crazy to wonder if his NHL career is in jeopardy.
Yesterday, we passed along the good news/bad news scenario facing the New York Islanders, as Matthew Martin was suspended for two games (bad) while Kyle Okposo practiced in full gear for the first time since his preseason injury (good).
Sadly, the hard-luck Isles face a double shot of bad news today. The team announced that they placed goalie Rick DiPietro and defenseman Mike Mottau on the injured reserve. While it’s unclear how long DiPietro will be out, the team confirmed that Mottau’s season is over. Mottau’s injury requires hip surgery, so he’ll miss the rest of the 2010-11 campaign.
Both players have been dealing with plenty of adversity, injuries-wise. DiPietro’s had well-documented knee problems for years and swelling in his right knee showed the first signs that he isn’t out of the woods just yet. Mottau missed 10 games with a scary eye injury, but the only good news seems to be that his eyes might not be the issue this time around.
It’s been a dreadful season in Long Island. The only solace they can take is that they’re likely to get another lottery pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. It’s tough to imagine that DiPietro will be much more than an albatross as they try to take more deliberate, painful steps toward respectability.