Whether it be injuries or the expected birth of children, NHL players are occasionally needing to leave the bubbles in Edmonton and/or Toronto. In the latest cases, Lars Eller (Washington Capitals) and Micheal Ferland (Vancouver Canucks) had to leave their respective NHL bubbles.
Capitals’ Eller leaves bubble because of expected birth of child
As noted, the Capitals announced that Lars Eller left the bubble as planned for the expected birth of his second child. This may not be the only Capitals player who will need to leave, as the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell reports that Carl Hagelin‘s family is expecting a child in September.
Obviously, the Capitals would need to perform well for that September situation to come into play.
On the other hand, they’ll wave goodbye to Eller for a while. The Capitals announced that Eller will go through quarantine protocols when he returns to Toronto.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Overall, it’s difficult to guess how much time Eller might miss. The Capitals have two more round-robin games on their schedule:
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 9: Bruins vs. Capitals, TBD
After that, the Capitals jump into the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs after an opponent is determined by re-seeding. Eller ranks as one of the Capitals’ more underrated players. He averaged a career-high 17:01 time on ice in 2019-20, contributing nice offense to go with stellar two-way play.
Along with Eller and possibly Hagelin, Blues forward Ivan Barbashev also left the bubble expecting the birth of a child. You see, NHL families tend to plan for August and to an extent September as usually a convenient time for “team-building.”
Ferland unfit to play in remaining Canucks series vs. Wild
Following a brutal 2019-20 season from a health standpoint, Micheal Ferland suffered another setback.
The Canucks announced that Ferland is “unfit to play” for the remainder of the team’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier series against the Wild. It’s unclear when Ferland got hurt, but it likely didn’t help that he followed a season ravaged by concussions by fighting Marcus Foligno in Game 1:
Ferland also was fined, not suspended, for spearing Luke Kunin.
Yet, as eventful as Ferland’s reps have been during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, it’s fair to wonder how much of a loss he would be. Ferland only managed to appear in 14 regular season games for the Canucks in 2019-20. Ferland can be a useful power forward when healthy, but it almost feels wiser to grade him as an “Incomplete” for his debut Canucks season.
Again, Vancouver ruled him out for at least this best-of-five series against the Wild.
(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild (Series tied 1-1)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild, 2:30 p.m. ET (live look-in coverage on NBCSN)
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*, TBD
• 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.