The Boston Bruins have seen its fair share of injuries these last two seasons, and this season is no exception. The Bruins announced that Chris Kelly has fractured his left femur in a game against Dallas, and will be out for 6-8 months. This injury leaves Kelly, 34, in a predicament, as he is a free agent at the end of the season, and it is unclear if the Bruins will resign him. Many Bruins expressed how much his leadership in the dressing room will be missed. Brad Marchand stated, “He always says the right thing, and guys respect him.”
The Montreal Canadiens are also without one of their leaders in the dressing room. The Canadiens announced that league MVP Carey Price will be out for at least a week with a lower body injury. Price sustained the injury in the team’s 4-3 loss to Edmonton on Thursday. As a result, the Canadiens will turn to rookie Mike Condon to shoulder the bulk of the goaltending duties, and have called up Dustin Tokarski from St. John’s of the AHL to be Condon’s back-up while Price is out.
Staying with the theme of dressing room leaders, New York Islanders captain John Tavares was out for several days due to what the team and Tavares termed an illness. Tavares stated that he started to feel ill shortly before the Islanders were due to play against the New Jersey Devils. “I basically didn’t leave my room for two days…I couldn’t get out of bed.” Tavares stated.
Another player stricken with illness is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis was rushed to an Edmonton hospital after exhibiting symptoms of the blood clots that sidelined him most of last season. While tests were negative, head coach Mike Johnston offered no information on what sort of tests were completed, and stated “He’ll be re-evaluated in Pittsburgh. We want to make sure so he’ll get checked out…”
While the Penguins are grappling with the loss of Dupuis for an unspecified amount of time, the Ottawa Senators had to play two games without right winger Mark Stone. Stone was suspended for 2 games for a hit on the Red Wings’ Landon Ferraro. Stone, who had no prior suspensions in his career up until this point, was forced to also give up over $37K (US) in salary.
But all the news isn’t bleak out of the Eastern Conference this week. Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has been appointed to coach Team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, along with several other Eastern Conference head coaches in the Boston Bruins’ Claude Julien, Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, and the Washington Capitals’ Barry Trotz. Also, it is worth mentioning that the Chicago Blackhawks’ Joel Quenneville has been tapped to assist Babcock in 2016. With that set of coaches, Team Canada will be the team all the other countries will have their eyes on.
As the season continues to heat up, all eyes of Capitals fans should be on the Eastern Conference, as what happens in this conference will undoubtedly have an impact on what happens here in Washington.
Western Conference Recap
Let’s begin with the biggest news out of the week that comes out of Edmonton. On Tuesday night, 2015 1st overall pick Connor McDavid sustained a broken clavicle against the Philadelphia Flyers. McDavid had surgery on Wednesday, and is he expected to be out of action for a few months. This is devastating news for the Oilers franchise as McDavid was leading the club in points. McDavid was just coming into his own after a bit of a slow start to the season.
There is some more injury news, this time out of Minnesota. The Wild will be without the services of forward Zach Parise for a few games after he sustained knee-on-knee hit with Nashville Predators forward James Neal. There was no penalty assessed on this play.
There is some news on the Patrick Kane front to report. Kane will not face any charges for the rape incident that occurred at his Buffalo home. Kane and the Blackhawks organization released statements regarding the matter of the decision of the Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. The NHL also released a statement regarding the matter, and they said they will review all of the information that is available to them.
The St. Louis Blues announced some good news on Friday. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was activated off injured reserve and he could return to the Blues lineup on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators. Shattenkirk has missed 10 games with a lower-body injury. The 26-year old New Rochelle, NY native is coming off a 44-point campaign in 2014-15.
Speaking of the Blackhawks and Blues, they had an epic Wednesday Night Rivalry game this week. The score after the first period was 5-2 Blackhawks. “My Goodness” as Doc Emrick would say. The Blues were able to pull off the miraculous comeback as they scored three goals in the 2nd period and the eventual overtime game winner. If you like goal scoring, this was the game for you to watch.
There is some good news out of Anaheim to report. Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf is scheduled to return to the lineup on Friday night against Columbus. Getzlaf has missed the past four games recovering from an appendectomy. The Ducks went 2-2 in Getzlaf’s absence, but they have won their last two games.
The Vancouver Canucks are about to embark on a long 7 game road trip. They make stops in Buffalo, New Jersey, Columbus, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg. The Canucks have been a better road team than home team in recent years. They have only 1 blemish on the road so far this year, as they lost to Dallas in overtime. There are some winnable games on this road trip, and there is a good chance they can possibly take the lead in the Pacific Division.
Through Friday, the Western Conference has the top 5 of the NHL’s top point producing skaters. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars lead the way with 20 points apiece. Patrick Kane (CHI), Blake Wheeler (WPG), and Taylor Hall (EDM) round out the top 5 in points.
Speaking of Jamie Benn, he was named First Star of the month in October. His performance is certainly reflective of where the Stars are sitting at in the Western Conference standings right now – first place. Benn and linemate Tyler Seguin are a handful for their opponents as they play with a lot of speed. They are certainly fun to watch and they are one of the NHL’s hottest duos right now.
By Andrea Sobolik and George Foussekis