The last man standing is.. Ryan Kesler?
As of January 22nd, 2014, the Vancouver Canucks sit at 10th in the league when it comes to most man games lost due to injury on the year, which shouldn’t come as a surprise (if anything, that seems a bit low, but I guess there’s some bias at play here). They were without the two Alexs (Burrows, Edler) for an extended period of time, and are now dealing with some serious trouble icing 4 NHL-caliber centers with Henrik Sedin and Mike Santorelli both out (with the latter expected to be a long-term, serious injury).
It’s not *all* bad, though, as there’s some good news on the injury front coming out of Wednesday afternoon’s practice. Two players that have been out for a while now are expected to be back shortly, and one seems to have avoided anything serious following a scare during last night’s victory in Edmonton.
Read on past the jump for the details, but while you’re doing that, make sure you keep your phone near you. If you’ve got any sort of experience playing hockey – and NHL 14 most definitely counts in this case – you may just get the call from the Canucks!
We received something of a scare this afternoon when Elliott Pap tweeted out the following:
No Henrik at practice. No Brad Richardson. Jordan Schroeder between Booth and Kassian. Other 3 lines same as Edmonton game. #canucks
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) January 22, 2014
Oh boy. For those scoring at home, that would leave the Canucks with Kesler-Dalpe-Schroeder-Lain down the middle heading into Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators. Get ready for some hard hitting analysis: that wouldn’t be great.
Despite the fact that the Preds haven’t been great this year, and have a medley of issues of their own, you’re asking for trouble when you start asking guys to do stuff that’s pretty clearly above their capabilities as hockey players. Especially when it comes from the center ice position, which is far less forgiving than say, on the wing.
But it appears that this was more of a maintenance day, than anything else:
Richardson (leg) didn’t practise Wednesday but will play against Preds on Thursday. Schroeder (ankle) will play with Utica this weekend.
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) January 22, 2014
I’d say that Richardson and the Canucks are both lucky that he won’t miss any time after the vicious lumberjack chop Jordan Eberle gave him last night. It was, dare I say, criminal:
GIF via Schneider’s Teeth
As for Schroeder, it makes plenty of sense that they’d give him a couple of AHL games to get his legs under him before throwing him into the fire. After all, he has only really played in 3+ competitive games dating back to April 1st (with the 3 separate injuries sprinkled in there). Even when he gets back I’ll need to see him, you know, stay on the ice for a couple of games before getting my hopes up that he can give the Canucks anything of use. For his sake, I hope he can, seeing as he’s an RFA this summer.
We don’t unfortunately know much more about Stanton’s availability for the time being, but he has skated with the team for a couple of days now and should be getting closer to a return. While Yannick Weber has filled in admirably, including having himself a whale of a game on Saturday night v. Calgary when Bieksa and Garrison were booted out, I’m sure that the team will welcome Stanton back with open arms. So will Kevin Bieksa, who’s recent outbursts – 47 penalty minutes in his past 5 games, including 3 fights – are probably more of a cry for help than anything else now that I think about it.
This’ll catch up to the Canucks eventually, especially since they can’t play the Edmonton Oilers all the time. Here’s hoping Henrik Sedin is able to return by the 29th (though now that his ironman streak is over with, I suspect they’ll be more likely to give him an adequate period of time to heal up and rest).