Was it the Hockey Gods crying foul over the debut of “Victor E. Green Bobblehead Night”? Or maybe the Sedin twins sticking needles in a Tyler Seguin voodoo doll? Or perhaps a jaded lover’s Valentines Day curse? Regardless of the root cause, Stars fans are left holding their breath this morning after a Pyrrhic victory over the Florida Panthers last night at the American Airlines Center.
Stars Forwards Decimated
The Stars 2-0 win appears to have cost them Ales Hemsky, Patrick Eaves and Tyler Seguin. After the game coach Lindy Ruff went so far as to say the players will “miss some time”. While the loss of Hemsky (Lower Body) and Eaves (Head) hurts, any significant loss of Seguin would be devastating. The NHL’s 3rd leading scorer was entering the Panthers zone with just under 7 minutes left in the 3rd when Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov upended him with a hit at the knees. Seguin had to be helped off the ice and did not return. He appeared to be favoring a leg.
Will The Punishment Fit The Crime?
Will the Punishment Fit the Crime?
How long Kulikov gets suspended will be determined by the severity of Seguin’s injury and Kulikov’s prior suspension history. Does it really matter? If Seguin ends up missing the rest of this season Kulikov could miss the next two seasons and it wouldn’t offset the impact to the Stars. I expected a little more on-ice retribution from the Stars but it never came. I have to imagine if Antoine Roussel (currently serving 2 game suspension) played it would have ended differently. I picture Antoine watching the video replay and calling Kulikov’s cell phone to let him know about a “particular set of skills he has, and how those skills can make him a nightmare for people like Kulikov….” In all seriousness, by my account the hit was a clear violation of the NHL Player Safety Department’s definition of Clipping.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Optimistic view: Seguin’s injury won’t be season ending and the return of Val Nichushkin bolsters the Stars roster as they ride into the playoff stretch run. The injuries to Hemsky and Eaves will also prove to be short-term or their replacements (i.e. Youngsters- Sceviour, Ritchie and Mckenzie) will excel with additional ice time.
" You don't use it as an excuse, you use it as an opportunity." Lindy Ruff on how call ups are going to be needed to fill gaps in lineup.
— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) February 14, 2015
Pessimistic view: Seguin’s season is over and Hemsky and Eaves miss significant time. Nichushkin’s return is delayed and the Stars fall out of the playoff race but not far enough to draft Connor Mcdavid or Jack Eichel.
Realistic view: Seguin’s injury appears to be serious and baring a significant trade his minutes can’t be replaced. A Nichushkin return and further development from Sceviour, Ritchie and McKenzie would help. Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn pick up some of the slack to keep the Stars in the wildcard hunt through the end of the regular season.