A couple of key injuries to Minnesota Wild defensemen have the team's lightly flickering playoff hopes in danger of being snuffed out sooner, rather than later. On Thursday night against the Flames, the Wild lost Box 11 defenseman Jared Spurgeon and Box 13 defenseman Marco Scandella to upper-body injuries of varying degrees. Spurgeon suffered a concussion after taking an elbow from the Flames' Alex Tanguay and he is now listed as out indefintiely, which is a mighty big blow to a team that is likely the next Western Conference team to get the boot from playoff contention. Scandella reportedly blocked a shot up high on his body and he had to leave the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury, but he is listed as day-to-day, questionable for their next game, Saturday evening in Buffalo.
It looks like Ryan Ellis was a healthy scratch again for the Nashville Predators and with their current depth on the blueline, this could be a motion to keep as many blueliners fresh down the stretch and into the playoffs. Ellis looks to be in a group of bottom pairing defensemen, who will get some looks in the last couple weeks of the season, possibly playing for limited spots in their opening night roster for the playoffs. This is just a guess, but I think it has some real merit to it. I would imagine that Ellis will figure into about half the games in the last couple weeks and sit the others.
Box 25 forward Eric Tangradi was a healthy scratch for the Penguins on Thursday night, as it looks like he and Richard Park seem to be on a rotating schedule in the line-up (or so it appears from sitting here). Tangradi may have some usefulness in the playoffs, so that is likely why he remains with the team, so he can play occasionally and practice regularly. Again, this is just some reasonable speculation, but I wouldn't count on him much for regular minutes down the stretch here, as he only has 1 assist in 21 appearances this season.
The San Jose Sharks are back to scratching Box 9 forward Benn Ferriero, who has been a regular scratch in the second half of the NHL regular season for the team. Ferriero was thought to be a pretty good young prospect for the Sharks this season, but that really hasn't panned out, especially with the team making some more acquisitions for their bottom six at the trade deadline. I can't see Ferriero being a very good prospect for at least the next season or so.
The St. Louis Blues have lost the services of the oft-injured defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo yet again, this time to an undisclosed lower-body injury, which he suffered on a play, where he managed to take a 2-minute penalty on Kings forward Dustin Brown for interference and then crashed into the Blues' net. There is no word of how long that the veteran defenseman will be out exactly, but this could be a concern going forward for the playoffs, since Colaiacovo has been included on the sheet in Box 10. If you're looking at him as a possibility, I would look elsewhere until the word has become official as to how long he'll be out.