The Sabres lost the services of Box 17 forward Thomas Vanek on Thursday night against the Bruins, as he left the game with an upper-body injury. The coaching staff after the game only said that the injury was not to the head, which leaves shoulders, neck and arms to consider, for the most part, but he's going to be day-to-day nonetheless. Vanek has been somewhat disappointing in the second half of the season, after a rocket of a first half, but he did have a mild resurgence since coming back from another upper-body injury about a month ago.
A couple of Columbus injuries to report here this morning. Box 7 forward Derek MacKenzie has now been sidelined indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, which certainly has the potential to end his season, but by the sound of things, the symptoms are somewhat minor, so it isn't out of the question that he could participate in games in the last month of the season. In the Columbus' game against the Kings, Box 15 goaltender Steve Mason had to leave the game with a lacerated hand after his teammate accidentally caught his blocker hand with his skate. The initial word is that the injury does not appear to be serious, but to avoid infection, Mason will likely be held out of the weekend's activities. He will be day-to-day going forward.
The pest we know as Steve Ott was held out of Thursday night's contest against the Sharks with back spasms and he should be considered day-to-day for right now. In 61 games this season, the Box 6 forward has 10 goals and 23 assists for the Stars and was a very popular player at the trade deadline, but the Stars decided that they were way too close to the playoffs to start trading away assets they could certainly use getting to and when they are in the playoffs. Ott's 33 points are not too bad, but they are still about 20 points back of the leaders in his box, which is a significant enough jump to have traded him away during the year.
Another lower-body injury has taken a goaltender prisoner from the Minnesota Wild nets, as Box 16 goaltender Josh Harding had to leave Thursday night's game against the Coyotes with one of his own. The extent of the injury is not known, as of yet, but we now get to have some advanced scouting of Matthew Hackett for the 2013 season, as Niklas Backstrom is also out with a lower-body injury of his own for the next few weeks. Harding will be re-evaluated on Friday and we'll likely hear something before the end of Friday or early on Saturday. The Wild don't play again until Sunday evening, when they host the Flames.
An upper-body injury has sidelined the newly-acquired defenseman Pavel Kubina and he is currently listed as out day-to-day. The Flyers just cannot catch a break this season, when it comes to injuries, so the recalls keep coming for the team. Replacing Kubina until he is healthy is young defenseman Brandon Manning, who made his NHL debut on Thursday night, in the 5-0 win over the Panthers. I can't imagine seeing Kubina on the shelf for too long, so keep an eye on him for the playoff pool this year.
The free fall of the San Jose Sharks has to be very worrisome for the management and coaching staff, as they have not had any results go their way, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Stars on Thursday night. The Sharks now sit in 8th spot in the West, on the verge of possibly getting the boot out of the picture on the weekend. On Thursday, the roster shake up had Box 7 forwards Michal Handzus and T.J. Galiardi and Box 14 defenseman Justin Braun sitting out as healthy scratches. The Sharks tried to acquire some depth at the trade deadline, but when some of that is getting scratched with a month to go in the season, you know there is something terribly wrong going on there.