Injuries at the World Cup of Hockey
Injuries at the World Cup this year has to be a main talking point coming out of the tournament and into the NHL regular season. With so many big name players getting hurt in the tournament, and quite a few needing time off from the start of the season to get healthy, you have to wonder if restrictions, and changes will be needed for the next tournament.
Major players getting hurt in the tournament, and who could miss some time at the beginning of the NHL season are:
Matt Murray. Murray broke his hand in the game against Russia. He broke his hand on his glove side, and that is a major concern for the penguins organization as it is at least a two month injury until he is back in the lineup. Two months to start the season off without your potential number one is a real concern for any team, especially the defending Stanley cup champions where they will want to get off to a fast start and not have to battle back in any hole. Murray will be rusty when he comes back, especially on his left side, so it could be at least two and a half, to three months until Murray is fully healthy again. It is a good thing the Penguins did not trade away Fleury.
Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad should potentially be ready for opening day according to reports, but that doesn't change how scary a concussion at such a young age can be, especially on a franchise player like Ekblad. Florida will want him playing every game, and watching him go down in the tournament was a scare for any fan around the league. Hopefully he is ready to go at the start of the season.
Michael Backlund. Backlund also got a concussion in the tournament and will most likely miss the beginning of the season from it. Backlund plays a big role in the depth of the top 6 in Calgary and will really be missed there at the beginning of the season, hopefully the flames are able to still do well without him, and are able to just build from him coming back a few weeks in. Calgary should not rush him coming back and they should make sure there are no symptoms of the concussion when he is ready to come back.
Marion Gaborik. Gaborik has a foot injury and will be out for up to 8 weeks! This is a big blow for the kings as they will need all the depth scoring they can get with their lineup and losing Gaborik makes things very difficult for them. If they happen to lose another forward early on in the season wins could be very tough to come by in LA so hopefully Gaborik is able to come back as soon as possible.
Tyler Seguin. Seguin ended up with a foot problem as well, but is apparently going to be ready for the season on day 1. The first star to go down in the tournament raised a lot of concern for player safety in the tournament and the impact it would have on the regular season. This injury was originally thought to be a lot worse, and was expected to have a bigger impact on the Stars start to the season but thankfully for Stars fans it does not look like that is the case as he should be back.
Its a very good thing the NHL has a new concussion protocol for every game, and more people watching for bad hits, and are looking out for player safety in all situations as concussions are becoming a more regular occurrence and injuries, especially ones with the head are something the NHL are trying to shutdown. For the next world cup I think dates will need to be changed for either the tournament, so it is farther away from the start of the season, or the season needs to be started later so that players can get proper rest either from fatigue, or from injury.