As we discussed earlier today, Brian Rafalski had surgery on his knee today and now we have a better idea of how much time he will miss after getting it scoped.
TSN reports that the 37-year-old Detroit Red Wings defenseman will miss three to four weeks recovering from the arthroscopic knee surgery procedure. Red Wings GM Ken Holland said that doctors “cleaned up loose particles” in the crafty American defenseman’s knee.
I’m not sure if at-or-around a month qualifies as “not missing much time” as coach Mike Babcock said, but this is a big (but obviously not permanent) blow to Detroit’s blue line. He scored 42 points in 2009-10 and registered 55 points or more from 06-07 to 08-09. Rafalski is the team’s second most important defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom, averaging 23-24 minutes per game since he signed with the Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.
The team might decide to put him on the injured reserve, possibly even the long-term IR. His salary cap hit is $6 million per year, so that would at least give Detroit some considerable breathing room to try to piece together a makeshift blue line.
It’s pretty difficult to look past the increasing age up and down the Red Wings’ roster, but we’ll see if the talented bunch can keep it together while their second best defenseman recovers from this injury. At 37, you have to wonder if Rafalski’s best days are behind him.