After seeing Kyle Turris‘ successful debut during Saturday’s shootout win against the Penguins, the Predators likely daydreamed about how their center situation would look with Turris and Nick Bonino in the mix. They got their wish, but maybe weren’t specific enough.
The good news is that Bonino was activated off of IR. The bad news is that two players went on IR today, and both are expected to miss significant time: Scott Hartnell and Yannick Weber.
Hartnell’s absence complicates things, possibly prompting a different mix than what we might expect once the Predators get close to 100 percent (or if they do, some teams just don’t have that luck … ask the Boston Bruins).
Hartnell is expected to miss three-to-five weeks, while Weber is out two-to-four.
Both players seemingly got hurt during Saturday’s victory against the Pens.
If this is when Weber got hurt, then the Predators might be lucky that he’s only expected to miss a month, tops:
The indication is that Hartnell got hurt this way:
Not great, but maybe both situations could have been worse?
So far, Hartnell’s return to Nashville has been solid, if unspectacular. The 35-year-old remains feisty, and generated seven points in 16 games, production that goes from OK to very much welcome when you consider his bargain $1M price tag.
This Fansided post by George Matarangas outlines some options to replace Hartnell. Personally, Colton Sissons and Pontus Aberg stand out as the two best possibilities to move up.
The Predators continue to use Weber, 29, sparingly; one would assume that his loss will be felt, but might not sting too badly. For the second straight season, Weber is averaging a bit more than 11 minutes of ice time per night.
A huge addition for the Capitals
The biggest injury note for Tuesday’s Predators – Capitals game (which airs on NBCSN tonight) is actually from Washington’s side: it looks like Matt Niskanen is set to return from an upper-body injury.
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in Washington, at times, as the team adjusts following a summer of difficult losses. One thing that got lost in the shuffle is that the team’s been insanely lucky with injuries during Presidents’ Trophy runs, while they lost a key guy like Niskanen for quite some time.
In his absence, quite a bit of the burden’s fallen on John Carlson.
While the plan appears to be to ease Niskanen in, we’ll see if the Capitals can fight the temptation to rely on the versatile defenseman sooner rather than later. Either way, this is a significant boost for the Caps, as Niskanen is often underrated when people discuss some of the league’s better blueliners.
Both the Preds and the Washington Capitals figure to get some key pieces back tonight as they face off on NBCSN, even if some pieces are missing.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.