Jason Garrison and Alex Edler (pictured here with their teammates at the BC Lions game earlier this week) aren’t locked out.
They’re injured instead.
Defensemen who play for the Vancouver Canucks have traditionally gotten injured at such a rapid rate, that the team’s fans have come to believe that the position is cursed. In fairness, this perception may be amplified by the fact that the Canucks employed Sami Salo for most of the past decade. Still, every season it seems, at the worst possible moment, the Canucks’ defensive-corps will suffer a critical injury (or two, or three).
In 2010 for example, Willie Mitchell was already out with a concussion and Sami Salo was playing through a testicle injury after being struck in the nether regions by a puck a couple of games previous, when Alex Edler got injured in the first period of an elimination game. The Canucks lost.
In 2011, the club was well poised to win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history, then critical contributor Dan Hamhuis threw an ill-advised hip-check at an offside Milan Lucic in game 1, hurt his groin, and was unable to return in the series. The Canucks lost in seven – in case you forgot.
On Friday afternoon, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis joined the Team 1040 mid-day show with Blake "happy endings" Price and Matt Sekeres and revealed that the lockout has done nothing to dent the curse. Read past the jump for more.
The idea that Garrison and Edler might be injured, was first picked up on by the Vancouver Sun’s Elliot Pap, who wisely read into a throwaway Kevin Bieksa comment regarding Garrison and Edler’s status for the upcoming Bieksa’s Buddies hockey game:
Vancouver Canuck defencemen Alex Edler and Jason Garrison have been conspicuous by their absence at UBC while their locked-out teammates continue to skate three times a week in player-directed practices.
Could it be they are not locked out because of injury, and still on the payroll, like rehabbing centre Ryan Kesler? No one connected with the Canucks or the players involved would comment Tuesday, or could be reached for comment, but Kevin Bieksa admitted earlier Tuesday that Edler and Garrison were "unhealthy."
Today, Sekeres and Price asked Gillis directly about the health status of Edler and Garrison. The General Manager and President of the Canucks confirmed that neither player is locked out – rather, both are rehabbing with the club. For Garrison, he apparently has a nagging groin injury that cropped during "pre-lockout training," per Jeff Paterson:
Jason Garrison to see specialist re nagging groin issue suffered during pre-lockout training
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) October 12, 2012
Edler’s case is perhaps the more interesting (and concerning) one. According to Mike Gillis, Alex Elder has a "bulging disc in his back," via David Ebner:
— David Ebner (@DavidEbner) October 12, 2012
While Gillis claims that he’s "not concerned" long-term, this has to be worrying to the Canucks and their fans. Alex Edler, of course, missed the latter half of the 2010-11 regular season after back surgery, you may remember, so this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with an ailment in this crucial area. Could Edler’s bulging disc have played into the team’s decision not to extend him before the start of the lockout?
Obviously the lockout is bad news for Canucks fans, and could be awful for the team – especially if the work stoppage claims the entire season. It’s hard to describe injuries as a "silver lining," but with injuries to both members of the Canucks’ prospective second pairing, as well as critical two-way contributor Ryan Kesler; perhaps missing the first couple of months of the regular season is a blessing in disguise for the Canucks.