Higgins Attacked by Zombies, is Now Infected

It appears that Chris Higgins has suffered from a zombie ravaging to one of his feet (and his general torso area), and will miss a number of games as doctors desperately try to cure the infection before he succumbs to hopeless cravings for human flesh. He’s listed as day-to-day.

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All joking aside, Chris Higgins has a swollen foot and will see an infection specialist about the injury. He’s not actually listed as day-to-day yet it was just a joke, they’ll evaluate his injury tomorrow and list him appropriately. Higgins played the final two rounds of the playoffs on a broken foot last season after blocking a shot in the second round against the Predators. He also missed 18 games in 2010 with injuries to his feet and according to Ben Kuzma, Higgins was dealing with a similar issue at the time. Meanwhile Jeff Paterson suggests he could be dealing with a staph infection. Despite his recurring podiatric issues, Higgins has been probably the Canucks best, most consistent forward through the first quarter of the season, and his absence will, of course, necessitate some line-juggling.

To begin with Victor Oreskovich has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves, and his stint with the team could extend past Higgins’ return if "Oreo" is able to bring the physical element the team lost when Volpatti went down for the year. Victor Oreskovich has some assets – he’s fast, he hits hard and he has an uncanny ability to control the puck low in the offensive end. Despite these assets, he’s rarely in the offensive-zone and while he passes the eye-test, his underlying numbers were quite awful in his thirty or so games last season.

The American Express line has been dynamite all month, and has morphed into the Canucks best even-strength line. In Higgins’ absence, look for one of Hansen, Raymond or Hodgson to bump up into the top-6. Based on chance differential, Hodgson has been significantly better than Hansen so far this season, but Vancouver sports media folks on twitter seem to be unanimous in the expectation that Hansen will be tapped to play with Booth and Kesler.

I find this pretty surprising, and will be curious to see if AV throws something of a curve-ball and bumps Hansen up to play with the Sedins, while Burrows joins Booth and Kesler. I expect Raymond to join the top-six eventually, when he’s up to speed, but it makes sense for him to take it slow as he re-adjusts to NHL hockey. Higgins’ injury is really too bad, and not just because the Notorious H.I.G. is in the midst of an impressive offensive season, but also because I was enjoying the puck possession game and chemistry that was developing between Hodgson and Hansen on the third line.