While Twitter was abuzz with semantic arguments about whether Taylor Hall cheap-shotted Cal Clutterbuck’s thigh or knee with his hip or knee, it dawned on me: things have been really bleak in the NHL lately.
Thursday’s round of action really put the exclamation point on that thought. As if bad times for the likes of Erik Karlsson and Marian Hossa weren’t enough, people were getting carted off on stretchers and/or had their careers put in jeopardy with dangerous hits or total accidents.
To keep things in order, I thought I’d section them off one-by-one:
HALL OF A MISTAKE
There have been some debatable hits so far - we can go back and forth on Jannik Hansen’s brief suspension for the Hossa hit all day - but for my money, Hall’s hit on Clutterbuck was as obvious as it gets. (Devin Setoguchi agrees.)
Let there be little doubt that the NHL runs a “star system.” If the shoe was on the other foot and Clutterbuck was the offender, I’d be willing to bet a key organ that he’d get a few games. Since the top pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was the guilty party instead, I’m a bit less confident to throw around predictions. At least about how hard the Shanahammer will come down.
Still, I’d be shocked if the NHL doesn’t slap him with at least a three-game suspension. (Then again, the league has raised eyebrows before plenty of times, so you never really know where the wheel will fall until the official announcement is made.)
Stat guys (quite reasonably) believe Taylor Hall is the locomotive who drives the Edmonton Oilers’ better moments, so it’s not just Hall owners who should root for a short suspension. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle subscribers could also lose out.
No update about Clutterbuck yet, but he was stretchered off on Thursday. So if you employ him to rack up hits, I’d recommend either punting that category or finding a replacement.
SCARY MOMENT FOR ANISIMOV
Jeez, the hockey world really held its collective breath for Artem Anisimov last night. You know things are bad when an update about someone being able to move and being awake and alert is a good sign. He took an awkward spill with Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey, who appeared to also hurt his left leg on the play.
The fantasy impact is pretty minimal. Despite flashes of brilliance, he’s not really an exemplary guy in any major categories. Maybe someday he’ll dominate more with that big frame, but honestly, I’d be happy just to see him play again after that scary injury.
HITS KEEP COMING FOR THE SENATORS
Maybe the Ottawa Senators won’t win the “most man games lost to injury” prize this season if teams like the Blue Jackets dominate the quantity of wounded category, but the quality of Sens’ injured players is stunning.
Karlsson’s done for the season, Jason Spezza is close to that and now even Craig Anderson is at least banged up. The team describes his issue as a sprained ankle, leaving him day-to-day after a collision with Chris Kreider. Day-to-day is a vague, taunting label that could hamstring your lineup since you can’t just stash him on the IR like some frozen chicken, yet it could also mean it’s no big thing.
It might be a good idea to stock up on Ben Bishop in the meantime, although the same backup rule applies as always: only drop fringe guys for someone like Bishop. In fact, considering Robin Lehner’s pedigree, Bishop is far from guaranteed a ton of starts if Anderson gets hurt.
HARD TO READ
Someone floated the idea of “The Curse of the Philadelphia Flyers LW,” and it seems like there might be some substance to that silly idea. Sophomore forward Matt Read is the latest victim of that hoax, as torn muscles in his rib cage will sideline him for a whopping six weeks.
That’s a bummer, as Read scored a team-leading seven goals and a promising 13 points in 18 games. It’s your call (and highly dependent on your roster and number of IR slots) whether to drop him or stash him, but it’s a tough break either way.
People who own other Flyers wingers should be darkly pleased, though. The odds of Jakub Voracek (who continued his red-hot run with another goal on Thursday) regressing sharply are now lower, even as Scott Hartnell approaches a return. This could also be good news for guys who might have had to fight for top-six duties and guys who might bounce around a bit in line combos such as Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds.
ONE OTHER NOTE
In Thursday’s other disturbing injury, Zach Redmond was cut badly in practice, requiring three hours of surgery. That’s already a freak occurrence, but get this: the rookie defenseman was wearing Kevlar socks that might have saved Erik Karlsson. It’s unlikely he’s too high on many radars, although he did do some nice things (four points, 12 PIM) in his first eight NHL games. Hopefully he can resume play in the reasonably near future.
After the jump: some actual good injury news and more from around the NHL.