Sabres forward Jason Pominville was believed to be returning to action soon following his recovery from a concussion suffered after a hit from behind by Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson, but it appears that won’t be happening anytime soon. John Vogl of Sabres Edge tells us that Pominville has failed his final neuro-psych tests to see if he’s recovered from the concussion and his return to action will now be delayed from it. Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is disappointed by the setback.
“The disappointment is everybody really thought after the days of practice and the work he put in that he was going to be playing, and I was one of them, too,” coach Lindy Ruff said in Philips Arena. “There’s been no ill effects from practicing. He’s gone full go. He’s gone through battle drills. He had no headaches, stuff like that. There have been no side effects to exercise. Normally, what sets a guy back is he will have headaches or he won’t feel right, or he may feel dizzy or lightheaded, but Jason has had none of that, so it’s a little bit of a different area for us.”
Some fans felt that Pominville’s hit wasn’t as bad as it seemed but it’s clear that that’s not the case and that, still, there’s more to concussions that we just don’t know enough about. The Sabres could use Pominville’s presence on the ice, however, as the team is struggling. The good news though is that he’s close and just passing the final test will help him get back to action. That said, Pominville says the test itself can be tricky even if you haven’t had a head injury.
“It’s one of those that, even without having this concussion, it’s a pretty tough test,” Pominville said. “You’ve got to remember different shapes, different words. It’s all memory stuff. They show you a sheet for maybe 10 seconds, and you’ve got to remember as many things as you can that are on the sheet and draw it exactly the same way.
“It’s stuff that’s pretty interesting, but at the same time if you have a bad day you might not pass it. If the first time you did you had a great day, it might be tough to get back to that level.”
Not to make light of things, but I’m sure that there’s more than a few of us who couldn’t pass these tests after a long night of slamming down beers with our friends. Of course, all we’ve got to do is roll out of bed and do whatever it is we do the next day. Meanwhile, Pominville is a professional hockey player who had his brain smacked around in his head. This is one of the many reasons why I’m not a professional athlete.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.
Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.
Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.
The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.
Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.
After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.
Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.
MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.
But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.
“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”
Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.
“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”
Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.
Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.
Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.
SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.
Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.
The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.
Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.
Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.