With Ryan Kesler on the shelf already after having his wrist and shoulder operated on in the off-season, potential linemate David Booth joined him in the Canucks' infirmary. It was confirmed today that Booth has a groin strain and will miss 4-6 weeks while he rehabs the injury. Stepping up in Kesler's and Booth's places are Andrew Ebbett and Zack Kassian, but may be a far cry from what Kesler and Booth normally bring to the table in terms of talent. Chris Higgins may get some time on that line, and he's proven he can fill the net at the NHL level. Either way, though, the Canucks have found themselves two-thirds of a line down and we haven't even broken camp yet!
It sounds as though Winnipeg will be without a solid defensive forward as Antti Miettinen will miss at least the season opener against the Ottawa Senators with the mysterious "upper-body injury". Head coach Claude Noel confirmed the injury.
"He's going to be out indefinitely. We're doing some further testing on some things on him to assess the situation. It's not day to day. He won't be a player for Saturday."While Miettinen isn't relied upon for scoring like Booth and Kesler are in Vancouver, he's a valuable penalty killer and a solid defensive player - something the Jets can definitely use. If Miettinen's injury is serious, could this be the break that Mark Scheifele needs to stay in Winnipeg all year?
The Calgary Flames have yet to see Jarome Iginla in high-intensity practices as he recovers from a groin injury. While the Flames insist that the exclusion of Iginla is "precautionary", you have to believe that the Flames are going to keep him out of practices until his groin is 100% ready. The Flames open their season on Sunday, and everyone in the Flames organization has been saying Iginla will suit up for their game, forward Roman Cervenka is going to be sitting until his serious medical condition - blot clots in his leg - is cleared by a hematology specialist.
Boston forward Marc Savard returned to the injured reserve list after being found medically unfit to play at this point in the season. I can't imagine how hard it is for Savard to be stuck on the sidelines, but I am very glad he isn't being put back in the line of fire after having his brain scrambled a few times. Savard's long-term health is far more important than a 48-game NHL season, so here's hoping the extra time off will help his head become less foggy. Here's hoping Marc Savard will look at the future and realize that hockey isn't worth potentially ruining his life. Stay on the sidelines, Marc, and get your head right.
With speculation confirmed today that Flyers forward Claude Giroux will be named captain in the coming days, that should pretty much close the book on Chris Pronger returning from his concussion problems. If this is truly the end of Pronger's career, I can assure it's not the way he wanted to go out, but, like Savard above, his long-term health is far more important than suiting up for one more game. If anyone in or around the Flyers organization can speak volumes about this, Pronger should be asking Keith Primeau. In any case, I hope the big defenceman can recover, but I'd rather see him healthy and happy than suffering a lifetime of pain.
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will be without Anze Kopitar for what appears to be a couple of weeks as he recovers from a knee injury. Missing Kopitar will be a large part of their offence on the sidelines, but the Kings may benefit from an earlier return if Kopitar's schedule works out. Either way, the Kings need all the offence they can find if they play like they did last season, and Kopitar is a large part of that offence.
Needless to say, there are some important players on the mend right now, and opening night might be missing a few of the league's brightest stars as they work through their injury troubles. Short camps and short seasons mean that we could see a spike in injuries this season. Let's hope that the stars remain healthy to ensure the fans come back.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!