NHL Star Injuries Pile Up

  • Monday, November 2, 2009 6:59 PM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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The number of high-profile NHL players in the injury penalty box is starting to add up and it is only November.

With the Swine Flu and Seasonal Flu skating around, we might need Tamiflu instead of Gatorade on the bench and new no-touch rules in place -- meaning no roughing up star players such as Alex Ovechkin.

The Washington Capitals star is the latest player to miss time due to an injury. Ovechkin suffered an "upper-body strain" in Washington's overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center last night. The Great Eight was apparently injured during a second period scrum with Jason Chimera.

Ovechkin will definitely miss the Capitals' next game Wednesday night in New Jersey and might miss this weekend's home-and-home series against the Panthers.

Without the league's reigning MVP and leading scorer, the Caps are going to need to tighten up on defense. Perhaps it will be good for the team to learn how to play without an automatic goal scorer such as The Russian Machine.

But the Caps aren't the only team having to make adjustments. There have been a number of star players that have succumbed to injuries so far in this young season. Here is a rundown of the fallen stars:

• Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastian Giguere is out with a groin injury until early November.

• Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk is on injured reserve with a foot injury. He is expected to return to the lineup in mid-November

• Boston's Marc Savard is also out with a foot injury. He is expected to return late November.

• Carolina's Eric Staal has an upper body injury and is doubtful for Wednesday's game against Florida.

• Both the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews are beat up. Hossa is out until late November with a shoulder injury while Toews is questionable for Nov. 5 at Phoenix. Toews has already missed four games due to "concussion-like symptoms" from a hard hit against Vancouver.

• Dallas Stars center Mike Modano is out until early November with a rib injury.

• Detroit Red Wings center Johan Franzen suffered a knee injury and will be sidelined until at least mid-February.

• Nashville Predators star Jason Arnott is out until early November with an arm injury.

• Pittsburgh has lost both Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin. Gonchar is out until late November with a wrist injury while Malkin is out with a shoulder injury and is expected to return mid-November.

• Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo is questionable for tomorrow night's game against the Rangers with a rib injury.

Other notable injuries include Kari Lehtonen, Milan Lucic, Valtteri Filppula, Rick DiPietro, Donald Brashear, Jason Spezza, Simon Gagne, Danny Briere, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setaguchi and Phil Kessel.

Click here for the full injury report.

Swine Flu Hits Hockey

  • Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:03 PM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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Hockey players are supposed to be some of the toughest guys on the planet. I mean when you are from towns such as Moose Jaw, Canada and Moscow, Russia then you are likely to have Superman-like immunity.

However, a recent rash of Swine Flu victims is challenging that notion.

The four cases reported so far have NHL teams scrambling to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.

Washington Capitals left wing Quintin Lang joins Edmonton's Ladislav Smid (pictured above), Colorado's Peter Budaj and Doug Weight of the New York Islanders in being diagnosed with the dreaded virus.

The Canadian Press reports that Smid did indeed test positive for the Swine Flu, but the 23-year-old defenseman didn't miss a game and was back on the ice after resting for two days. Other Oilers players have been hit harder by the seasonal flu. The players are taking the initiative to stay away from the rink if they feel sick.

After Avs backup goalie Budaj came down with H1N1, the team put a plan into effect, reports The Denver Post. If a player is diagnosed he will be isolated while preventative medications will be given to his teammates.

Newsday reports that Weight has returned to the Isles lineup following his bout with the Swine Flu, in which he missed three games. Weight chose to isolate himself from his family and teammates while he was recovering.

According to The Washington Post, some of the precautions the Caps are taking include hand sanitizers being placed around their Arlington, Virginia practice facility. But when hockey players share the same locker room, water bottles, equipment, towels, sweat and blood, is it really possible to stop the flu from spreading?

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said the following to the Post's Capitals beat writer Tarik El-Bashir:

"I'm hoping to shake fewer hands. It gets in your hands and fingers, and germs get in your cuticles. Everybody you meet is nice and wants to shake your hand. You don't want to be rude and say no, but . . ."

Injury News Update: The latest injury news comes from Pittsburgh where it was revealed today that Penguins star Evgeni Malkin will be sidelined 2-3 weeks with a strained right shoulder. The loss comes soon after it was announced that defenseman Sergei Gonchar will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist.