Struggling Wild lose Brodin for 3-6 weeks, GM Fletcher ‘confident’ team can get back on track

Jared Clinton
Jonas Brodin (Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)

As bad as the Montreal Canadiens have been since the holiday break, the Minnesota Wild haven’t been far behind. Over their past 18 games, Minnesota is 5-10-3, have had one of the league’s worst offenses and things aren’t getting any better.

Saturday afternoon, the Wild announced defenseman Jonas Brodin will be out three-to-six weeks with a broken foot. Brodin’s injury occurred Thursday in a contest against the New York Rangers when he blocked a shot, and, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, was seen limping post-game. Brodin was placed on injured reserve.

Losing Brodin doesn’t just hurt the Wild on-ice, though, as his name has been at the center of several trade rumors over the past few weeks. Minnesota has a plethora of talented defensemen, but have been lacking scoring punch for most of the season leading many to believe a young blueliner could be dealt to acquire some offensive talent. Read more

Couturier out four weeks with lower-body injury as Flyers push for playoffs

Jared Clinton
Sean Couturier (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

There hasn’t been much talk about the Flyers this season, so it may surprise some that Philadelphia is knocking on the door of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and could realistically even make the post-season in a divisional spot. But if the Flyers are going to improve their chances of making the playoffs over the next month, they’re going to have to do so without Sean Couturier.

Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced Friday that Couturier, 23, will be out the next four weeks with a lower-body injury. As one would expect, Philadelphia didn’t announce the specifics of the injury, but it was apparent something was ailing the Flyers center when he wasn’t on the ice for the third period of Thursday’s 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators.

Couturier had been nursing a lower-body injury heading into the all-star break, but he tweaked the injury Thursday and finds himself on the shelf. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol called Couturier’s absence “a big loss,” but said he has faith in the rest of his club to step up. Read more

Wideman, Babcock highlight need for more powerful concussion spotters

Ken Campbell
Justin Abdelkader and Zach Bogosian (Photo by Tom Brenner/ Getty Images)

If nothing else, Dennis Wideman and Mike Babcock have proved that the NHL’s protocol desperately needs to be equipped with more teeth than it now has. Well, they haven’t specifically, but the contingencies they represent have made things crystal clear.

One is a member of the NHL playing fraternity; the other is one of the 30 men who coach the best players in the world. And as it turns out, neither can be trusted to put the player’s long-term well-being ahead of winning when it comes to injuries that could lead to concussions.

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Stars’ Spezza expected to miss ‘more than a few days’ with upper-body injury

Jared Clinton
Jason Spezza (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Thanks to 20 points in his past 20 games, Jason Spezza was on a near 30-goal, 65-point pace for the Dallas Stars, but the 32-year-old pivot may be out of the lineup for a while after suffering an upper-body injury Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.

Spezza left Thursday’s game with 12 minutes remaining in the second period, but it’s difficult to tell what exactly is ailing the veteran center. Spezza, who had added to his point total with a goal in the first frame, took his final shift of the contest on a power play, but he remained on the ice for the duration of the man advantage. At the first stoppage, though, he headed to the Dallas bench and did not return.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t get into specifics of the injury post-game, but told the DallasStars.com’s Mark Stepneski that Spezza could be sidelined for “more than a few days.” Read more

Streaking Penguins lose Malkin for the weekend, Fehr long-term

Jared Clinton
Evgeni Malkin (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Penguins have won four straight and are only two points back of overtaking both the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, but if Pittsburgh wants to move past the Devils and Islanders this weekend, they’ll have to do so without the services of two centers.

It was announced Wednesday that both Evgeni Malkin and Eric Fehr would miss Pittsburgh’s back-to-back games against Tampa Bay and Florida. Malkin, who suffered a lower-body injury, will have to be reevaluated following the weekend, but the outlook for Fehr isn’t nearly as good — it’s expected he’ll be out at least a month.

“(Malkin) is not going to be on the weekend with us,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told Michelle Crechiolo. “He’s got a lower-body injury. He’s going to rehab it over the weekend. We’re going to evaluate him when we get back and go from there.” Read more

Does NHL treat diving more seriously than concussion protocol?

Dan Hamhuis and Mikael Granlund. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Thursday morning that Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov has been fined $2,000 for violating Rule 64, which deals with diving and embellishment. Burmistrov is the seventh player to receive a fine for diving, joining teammate Nikolaj Ehlers, Jordin Tootoo and Bobby Farnham of the New Jersey Devils, Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks, Zack Smith of the Ottawa Senators, and Teemu Pulkkinen of the Detroit Red Wings.

The NHL, which fines players and coaches on a graduated scale for such infractions really seems to have a bee in its bonnet for players who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Talk to any of the “hockey people” in the league’s head office and they see diving as an enormous blight on the game.

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Wideman incident raises questions about NHL’s concussion protocol

Dennis Wideman (Photo by Getty Images)

There’s a good chance Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman will become the first player in NHL history to have his suspension appealed to an independent arbitrator, but that’s not what will make this process so interesting over the next little while.

As has been widely reported, Wideman was suspended 20 games for abuse of official after crosschecking linesman Don Henderson from behind in a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. The NHL Players’ Association has already filed an appeal on Wideman’s behalf, which is expected to be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman early next week. If a further appeal is necessary, it will go to James Oldham, the league- and NHLPA-appointed independent arbitrator.

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Devils’ Cammalleri on the shelf with hand injury as busy month begins for New Jersey

Jared Clinton
Mike Cammalleri (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Devils enter Tuesday’s tilt against the Rangers just one point out of a playoff spot, but if New Jersey is going to make a push towards the post-season coming out of the all-star break, it will have to be without the services of Mike Cammalleri.

New Jersey placed Cammalleri on injured reserve Monday retroactive to Jan. 26, and he’s already been ruled out of Tuesday’s game. Following practice Tuesday, tough, Devils coach John Hynes told NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti the earliest Cammalleri will be back in the lineup is Saturday against the Washington Capitals.

“It started acting up on him again, so we’ve got to shut him down here for a little bit and give him a little bit of time and see how quickly he can get back,” Hynes told Gulitti Monday following the Devils’ first practice back following the break. Read more