All 30 NHL teams opened their annual training camps last week in preparation for this week’s pre-season games, and first hockey action since June. Some players are battling for roster spots, rookies are hoping to make the big squad, and new players are getting acclimated to their new teammates. But just a few short days into the scrimmages and system training, some significant injuries have occurred. No matter what team you may be a fan of, nobody wants to see serious injury before the first puck even hits the ice in the NHL season.
Sens’ Kuba out 5-6 weeks
The Ottawa Senator defense added offensive star Sergei Gonchar in the offseason, but also lost a couple significant pieces. Shot-blocking machine Anton Volchenkov left in free agency for New Jersey, as did big Andy Sutton who signed with the Anaheim Ducks. The Sens were counting on Gonchar, Chris Phillips, Chris Campoli and Filip Kuba to comprise their top four. But early in the Sens training camp, Kuba’s skate hit a rut in the ice and he suffered a broken leg. Early reports suggest he could be out as many as 6 weeks. It’s a huge disappointment for Kuba, who missed most of last season with a back injury. Young defenseman Erik Karlsson and Brian Lee will now have a chance to move up in the line-up, and the injury may even open the door for highly touted prospect Jared Cowen.
Rangers Captain Chris Drury Breaks Finger
The New York Rangers are team with a few big ticket contracts, a weight of expectations for a passionate fan base, and some huge question marks in the line-up. And now they may have to start the season without their veteran captain. Chris Drury suffered a broken finger in this morning’s Rangers scrimmage and is expected to miss four weeks of action. It doesn’t appear he will need surgery, but the loss of the clutch scoring Drury will hurt the Rangers, who aren’t overflowing with talent up front.
Blue Jacket Lose a Defenseman
The Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t expected to make the playoffs this year, but they were certainly hoping to prove people wrong. They’ll have to being their quest without d-man Kris Russell. Russell jumped over the extended leg of teammate Derrick Brassard early in practice and felt a tweak in his knee. Reports say Russell has a sprained knee and is expected to miss at least 2-4 weeks of playing time. His injury will open the door for of the young defensive prospects in Columbus.
Marc Savard still Suffering
Although Marc Savard didn’t get injured at training camp, he still isn’t participating. Last season, Savard suffered a devastating concussion from a hit by Matt Cooke, and missed half the season. Although he came back to play in the playoffs for the Bruins, and was deemed to be healthy, he recently had a set-back, and is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome. While it’s not exactly good news for Boston, the injury does open the possibility of second overall pick Tyler Seguin moving into a role as a center for the Bruins. Despite center being Seguin’s natural position, there was talk about him starting at wing to allow him to get used to the NHL. While there’s no guarantee Seguin will even make the big club out of camp, there is a better chance of it happening with Savard being out indefinitely.
UPDATE: Rookie Cormier Breaks Foot
One of the pieces coming back to the Atlanta Thrashers in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade was prospect Patrice Cormier from the QMJHL. There was no indication whether or not he’d play with the Thrash this season, but unfortunately that question won’t be answered for a while. Cormier was hit by a shot in a scrimmage last week and x-rays revealed his foot was broken. There is not timetable on his return to the ice.
Bolts Goalie Leaves Practice
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith was hit in the glove hand by a puck and was forced to leave practice on Monday. The extent of the injury isn’t clear, as Smith is set to have an x-ray. Lucky for Tampa, GM Steve Yzerman signed free agent goalie Dan Ellis in the offseason. 30 year old Ellis is a proven NHL netminder and is capable of holding the fort until Smith returns. The injury is another setback for Smith, who has missed significant time over the past two seasons with concussions problems.