Checking in on some NHL injury situations….
Maple Leafs goalie situation still complicated
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek is expected to miss at least the next six weeks due to his third groin injury of the season, head coach Sheldon Keefe announced on Thursday morning.
He played just seven minutes of the Maple Leafs’ game against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday before exiting the game and being replaced by Erik Kallgren.
Goaltending has been a major issue for the Maple Leafs in recent months due to both poor play from Mrazek and Jack Campbell, and injuries to both of them. Campbell has been sidelined since March 10 with a rib injury and should be back soon (perhaps as early as Saturday), but his play had badly regressed prior to the injury.
Despite the struggles and injury situation the Maple Leafs did not add a goalie at the trade deadline, though it was not due to a lack of effort as they reportedly tried to work out a deal for Marc-Andre Fleury.
This is going to be the big question for the Maple Leafs as the playoffs approach. The rest of the team has played very well this season, but goaltending could be a pretty significant Achilles Heel unless something dramatically changes soon. Even before his injury Campbell’s save percentage had consistently dropped after a great start to the season through the end of November. Since December 1, though, his save percentage has been just .889, not only one of the lowest marks in the league during that stretch, but also lower than Mrazek’s .890 mark.
Along with the Mrazek news, Keefe also announced that defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin will not play in Thursday’s game for precautionary reasons after he was punched by Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall on Tuesday. Hall was fined for that punch.
The other piece of injury news for the Maple Leafs is that veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin is also getting closer to a return.
Hurricanes’ Kotkaniemi to miss at least a few weeks
The Carolina Hurricanes will be without Jesperi Kotkaniemi for at least a couple of weeks, head coach Rod Brind’Amour announced on Thursday morning.
Kotkaniemi was injured in the closing seconds of the Hurricanes’ recent win over the Washington Capitals following a hard hit from Lars Eller and an awkward fall to the ice. The Hurricanes were not happy with the hit given the score of the game and how much time was remaining.
You can see the play here,
Eller was given a two-minute minor for charging on the play. There was no supplemental discipline from the league.
Kotkaniemi has 11 goals and 15 assists (26 total points) in 63 games this season for the Hurricanes after signing with the team as a restricted free agent in the offseason. He recently signed a long-term eight-year contract extension with the team.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.