A lot of things have gone right for the St. Louis Blues this season, but they’ve had to roll with some injury punches.
From Alex Steen to Andy McDonald and David Perron, the Blues have fought off adversity. Now it’s apparent that one of their pleasant (if subtle) free agent surprises will be on the shelf for at least a bit longer as Jason Arnott was placed on the injured reserve.
Arnott is dealing with an injured shoulder suffered thanks to a tumble into the boards on Feb. 3. There’s no word on how significant the issue is (aside from the fact that he’s on the IR, of course).
The Blues signed Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner to matching one-year, $2.5 million contracts this summer. Arnott’s been a nice fit with 12 goals and 24 points while Langenbrunner has a respectable 18 points.
St. Louis scores by committee, but it will miss Arnott’s experience – and most importantly – his hard shot and scoring touch.
The Detroit Red Wings could tie the NHL’s all-time record for consecutive home wins with 20 this weekend, but they’ll need to do it without two important pieces.
Ansar Khan reports that the team will be without workhorse goalie Jimmy Howard and underrated scorer Danny Cleary for what could be a historic weekend. The team will re-evaluate the two players next week.
Howard is dealing with a broken finger that has prompted the Red Wings to give mixed signals. GM Ken Holland says that it’s the type of thing that takes 4-6 weeks to heal yet Howard claims he’s day-to-day, so expect more twists and turns with his situation.
Khan reports that Cleary is expected to get his knee drained, which should sideline him for the next two games. The bigger question is whether or not he’ll get a shot in that knee; if so, the timeline seems to be three-to-five days.
Both injuries seem rather tricky, and with the Red Wings on top of the league, you’d think the franchise would err on the side of caution (especially with Howard). That being said, the St. Louis Blues and rest of the Central Division still looms large, so perhaps there’s a worry that missing a beat will mute Detroit’s chances.
(H/T to George Malik.)
The New Jersey Devils’ current hot streak is impressive in several ways, but one of the most underrated facets of their 2011-12 season is that they’re getting things done without Travis Zajac.
OK, the top center did play eight games, but he didn’t really seem himself as he produced three points. The Devils decided to shut him down for a bit longer and it looks like the team will continue to be without him for some time, as Mike Morreale reports that he’s expected to miss another month recovering from his Achilles injury.
Zajac is expected to take about two weeks to get back on the ice and two more to work up to game action. That slates him for approximately mid-March, which could potentially give him about a month to ramp up for the playoffs (if the Devils remain on that trajectory).
Zajac tends to get overshadowed by Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk while Patrik Elias’ resurgence and Adam Henrique’s emergence have made him reasonably replaceable this season. That being said, he’s been one of the league’s more underrated forwards, so the Devils could be downright dangerous if he can come back close to 100 percent.
Sure, other positions have taken blows too, but Pittsburgh Penguins centers have only been slightly safer than Spinal Tap drummers this season.
Obviously you know about Sidney Crosby, but there was also Evgeni Malkin for a while. Jordan Staal must have felt left out because he’s on the shelf, too. Alan Robinson reports that Staal is on his way back from that knee injury, but naturally for the Penguins, every bit of good news must be laced with some bad stuff. In this case, word is that a high-ankle sprain will sideline sometimes-center Tyler Kennedy for 4-6 weeks.
Kennedy isn’t a superstar (six goals and 22 points in 42 games), but he’s been able to slide into different roles depending on injuries, culminating in him achieving career-bests in goals (21), assists (24), points (45) and even games played (80) amid last season’s wave of calamities.
Many believe that the Penguins essentially chose Kennedy over Jaromir Jagr last summer and some will argue that he’s worth it (even if he won’t rack up the same gaudy numbers). Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, it sounds like he’ll miss even more time than the aging Hall of Famer has missed this season.
The Vancouver Canucks either are unaware or aren’t giving much of an update on Henrik Sedin’s wonky ankle. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the the team provided a tiny morsel of information, though: Sedin is currently listed as day-to-day.
Day-to-day is a borderline comical reading because it can mean whatever a team wants it to mean. We’ve all seen day-to-day injuries match the assumed meaning (a minor issue resolved within a week), but there have been plenty that stretched to months or even became season-ending nightmares.
It’s not wholly a matter of smoke and mirrors from teams, though, as certain ailments really can be mysterious.
Still, if you’re a Canucks fan or own Henrik Sedin in a fantasy league, the basic update amounts to a standardized shoulder shrug.