It only took 24 seconds before the Kings and Flyers game got real. A game that already had plenty of hype and emotion surrounding it got started in earnest when Flyers tough guy Zac Rinaldo caught Drew Doughty coming across the middle of the Flyers zone. To be clear: it was a clean hit from Rinaldo. Doughty saw him coming at the last minute, but it was a huge shoulder-to-shoulder check.
Doughty made it back to the ice for another shift before leaving the Kings bench and heading to the locker room. All in all, Doughty was on the ice for 1 minute and 34 seconds.
Doughty looked coherent after the hit and was seen working his shoulder on the bench afterwards, but it’s important to note that he suffered a concussion at the beginning of last season. He missed six games last season due to the concussion.
The Kings superstar blueliner did not return to the bench for the start of the 2nd period. The official word from the Kings PR department was an upper-body injury and he’s not expected to return to tonight’s game. We’ll keep you updated as details emerge.
Update (8:55pm EST): Kings PR says it is a “non-head injury” and the team expects Doughty to miss 7-10 days.
Fans in New Jersey may have felt their heart skip a beat when Martin Brodeur left tonight’s game vs. Los Angeles with “upper body soreness.” Brodeur had stopped 10 of the 11 shots he saw in the first period; after seeing a barrage of action to start the game, the Devils (and Brodeur) settled down and only gave up a single goal.
With about eight minutes left in the first period. After making a scrambling save while going to his right, he went to the bench to see the trainer at the next stoppage. He stayed in the net for the rest of the first period (and saw limited action), but did not return to the net for the second period. Johan Hedberg took his place between the pipes for the Devilsl while Brodeur took a spot on the end of the Devils bench. For optimists, the simple fact that he was able to return to the bench and was smiling leads one to believe that the injury isn’t that serious.
Chris Botta from the New York Times agreed (in his own way):
Devils fans certainly hope the injury isn’t serious. Without Brodeur in the lineup, New Jersey would be forced to go with Johan Hedberg and probably Jeff Frazee. Injuries wouldn’t be anything new for Brodeur though. Since playing in 70+ games for ten straight seasons between 1997 and 2008, he’s missed significant time in two of the past three seasons. Last season, the future Hall of Famer missed 26 games with MCL and elbow problems. In 2008-09, he missed 50 games with a torn tendon in his biceps. This isn’t exactly the trend Devils’ fans want to see as they look to regain their place among the Atlantic Division’s elite.
Many people believe that Pavel Datsyuk is “underrated,” but considering the cascades of adoration that come his way, that’s a little off. (Now, if you say that he doesn’t get the proper amount of Hart Trophy consideration, then you might be onto something.)
Nope, when it comes to Detroit Red Wings forwards who should get a little more attention, the list might start with Danny Cleary. Despite averaging just 1:32 minutes of power play time per game in 2010-11, Cleary scored 26 goals and 46 points (both career-highs) in 68 games. That’s more than a 31 goal and 55-point pace over a full 82-game season.
Unfortunately, Cleary hasn’t been able to make a bigger impact because of injury concerns. He missed 14 games last season, 18 games in 09-10, 8 in 08-09 and 19 in 07-08.
Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar rather than a sign of more health troubles to come, but Helene St. James reports that Cleary will miss the rest of the preseason (four exhibition games) with an upper-body injury. Red Wings GM Ken Holland said he hopes that Cleary will be ready for the regular season opener against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 7, but we shall see.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)
In the short term, the Carolina Hurricanes improved their playoff outlook with a commanding 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Yet the Eastern Conference’s current eighth seed could be in serious trouble if Eric Staal misses significant time with an upper body injury the star center suffered during tonight’s game.
Matt Niskanen knocked Staal out of the game with a body check in the second period. The big forward didn’t return to the game after the hit. It’s unclear how severe the injury might be, but reports indicate that the elder Staal brother won’t play in Carolina’s game against the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night.
Some might say that this is an example of near-immediate karma, as Eric leveled his brother (and New York Rangers defenseman) Marc Staal with a brutal hit on Tuesday night. Marc didn’t play tonight for Washington, by the way. (It must be noted that Marc seems to have a knee injury that might not be related to the brotherly loveless check, though.)
However you frame it, this could be an enormous blow to the Hurricanes’ playoff hopes. It looked like he would easily hit the 30+ goal mark for the fifth time in his seven-season career, as Eric scored 27 goals and 32 assists for 59 points in 62 games so far this season.
Naturally, we will pass along updates regarding his condition as information comes along in the next day or few days. If the injury is significant, it could force the Canes to “buy” someone a little more expensive than Cory Stillman. We shall see.
While the TSN crew indicated that he might be dealing with a hand injury during the actual telecast, the Detroit Red Wings are only saying that Pavel Datsyuk is dealing with an “upper body injury” sustained during the first period of tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
It’s not clear how significant the injury might be, whether it is a hand injury or some other part of … the upper half of his body. (I guess we should be happy that NHL teams at least let us know which half of someone’s body is injured, right?)
Datsyuk might have sustained that injury when he was tripped by former Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson. We’ll pass along more information as it comes tonight, tomorrow or later on because an absent Datsyuk would obviously be a big loss for the Wings.