News from Tuesday... the St. Louis Blues may be without Chris Stewart for the remainder of the regular season, as he is dealing with an ankle injury. The original announcement from earlier in the week said that the rugged winger would be out 4-to-5 weeks, which would put him back in the line-up around the end of the regular season or the beginning of the playoffs and even then, these ankle injuries are not quite a guarantee to forecast for healing.
Well, I won't ruin all of Mike's statistics with this one injury, because the unfortunate part is that this isn't the only one. We'll start with his projected games played for the remainder of the week, since Stewart will now be removed from the count... Mike isn't in bad shape, having 25 games with (relatively) healthy players, actually on the high side of the scale right now.
There is a little bit of a defenseman rotation now in Boston, as I had pointed out with Dougie Hamilton earlier in the week. On Thursday night, Hamilton drew back into the Bruins' line-up and out came Torey Krug. There is no sense that there is anything sinister going on in Boston, rather with how deep their blueline is now and how long the season drags out, this may be a good thing for these players going forward. It doesn't help the hockey pool teams losing players for a game or two, but that's not what the NHL clubs are concerned about.
So, it was a game lost for Derek Wyllie, who's team sits in 16th place, 14 points back of 15th and near the Basement Dweller position for Week Twenty-Two. Wyllie's team has 21 games left in the projected totals, which isn't close to the top, but still workable.
Kind of flying under the radar over the last week was the lack of play for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson, who sat for three straight games, starting from late last week. There were some reports that his play had really dropped off, hence the time in the press box. On Thursday, Blake Comeau started a 2-game suspension, so Atkinson was able to draw back in and it sounds like he could get another game, giving himself a chance to earn a place back in the line-up on a regular basis. Atkinson was held pointless in a 4-3 shootout win over the Sharks on Thursday, which likely doesn't bode well for his chances of sticking now.
Not great news for Derek Wilton, who has seen his roster take a pretty good beating of late. Despite those roster troubles, the remainder of his roster has been keeping him afloat, as he goes into Friday's action in 4th place, but only 1 point up on 5th and now 11 points back of 3rd.
On Tuesday night, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson had to take the night off from playing, as he dealt with a stomach ailment. As it turned out, he missed out on a 6-2 thrashing that the Leafs took from the San Jose Sharks. Franson was able to return, only missing the one game, on Thursday night, as the Leafs visited the Los Angeles Kings, where Franson chipped in with an assist and had a +2 rating.
With Franson scoring at a shade less than half a point-per-game rate this season, missing one game to illness and coming back with a point is about right, so it's hard to say that Mike missed out on a game there, because Franson likely wasn't going to get a point in that 6-2 loss. Anyways, in the regular standings, where he goes into Friday night's action in 9th place, 9 points out of 4th and the jersey prize.
Having a remarkably tough year in the NHL is Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal. Neal suffered his second concussion in the span of 12 months, which will now have his name firmly attached to the injury prone list for the 2015 season. Neal suffered the injury earlier in the week, wasn't able to practice on Thursday and on Friday, the announcement dropped that it was definitely a head injury and he'll now be listed as out indefinitely. Of course, the remainder of the regular season is now in doubt.
Neal did okay for Dale C. in the pool, 49 points in 44 games, but as his 2nd round pick this year, it is a severe disappointment. Dale currently sits in 8th place, 7 points out of 4th. Dale is also in the third segment mix, sitting in 3rd place, 16 points out, but losing Neal will be a huge hit to his team.
On Thursday night, it was supposed to be the triumphant return of Jonathan Bernier, who was dealt to the Maple Leafs from the Kings in the off-season, giving him the shot to be the number one guy. In the time between, Bernier was able to lock up that number one job with his excellent play, but he was only able to play one period in his return, allowing a couple of goals on 10 shots, before leaving the game with a lower-body injury. There are not very many reports on the severity of the injury, so we'll have to wait and see.
Got to think that Mike is tired of seeing his name already on this post, but this is the third post within the post with his name on it. Mike is 23 points back in the third segment race, which is actually good enough for a tie for 4th in the race. If these injuries keep popping up, the mentions of races will fade pretty quickly, one would think.
On Friday, the Vancouver Canucks announced that they will be without centre Ryan Kesler for at least the next couple of weeks with a knee sprain. Kesler was injured in the team's last game in Winnipeg on Wednesday night and will begin missing time with tonight's game in Washington. Kesler went back to Vancouver, from Winnipeg, to get tests done on his knee, but it doesn't sound like it'll cost him the rest of the regular season, but if the Canucks have any hope of making the playoffs this year, they will have to win without one of the team's few productive players.
It is tough to say whether or not this will work out to be an actual concern for Allan in the standings, as he has opened up a 20-point lead in the standings and he has an 11-point lead in the third segment standings as well. It is the second serious knee injury his team has picked up in the last week, but the rest of his team keeps chugging along.