If Rinne’s injury is serious, Predators could be in for a big fall

Jared Clinton
(John Russel/Getty Images)

Pekka Rinne picked up the win last night, but the Nashville Predators may have suffered their biggest loss of the season.

With more than 17 minutes remaining in the third period, with Nashville up 2-1 over the visiting Vancouver Canucks, Predators defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Canucks winger Chris Higgins collided and slid towards Rinne’s net. They made contact with the Vezina favorite, and the three players slid into the boards. What may have looked like an innocuous collision left Rinne attempting to stretch out in his crease before leaving the ice. He did not return. Read more

Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman “day-to-day” for lucky Lightning

Jared Clinton
Victor Hedman (Getty Images)

Ask the Tampa Bay Lightning about how much an injury can hurt a team as they head toward the playoffs. They know all about it.

Last season, when goaltender Ben Bishop went down with a hand injury just days before the playoffs began, it destroyed any hopes the Lightning may have had in their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal swept Tampa Bay in four games, and the Lightning headed home much earlier than some had expected. That’s why Lightning fans are probably counting their lucky stars on Tuesday. Read more

Olli Maatta’s season is likely over after shoulder injury

Jared Clinton
Olli Maatta (Getty Images)

It has been a season to forget for Olli Maatta.

The Pittsburgh Penguins sophomore defenseman, who has been on the sideline more than he’s been in the lineup this season, will now reportedly miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury that he suffered on Dec. 6. The injury adds to a list of injuries that make you wonder what one player could have done to deserve such a terrible deal. Read more

Jimmy Howard injured, stretchered off after groin injury

Jared Clinton
Howard

Shortly after being named to the NHL All-Star Game roster, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has gone down with a groin injury, and it doesn’t look good for the Detroit netminder.

Less than two minutes into the first period, Howard ventured behind the net to stop a Capitals dump-in during their Saturday evening game in Washington, misplayed the puck, and appears to have injured his groin when making the stretch to stop what would be a Troy Brouwer goal. Howard remained down on the ice for several minutes before being stretchered off. Read more

Red-hot New York Rangers bucking Stanley Cup finalist curse

Kevin Klein (left) is having a big year for New York (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Traditionally, the teams that have lost the Stanley Cup final have often struggled in their next campaign, which is understandable given the grind and letdown of coming so close the prior summer.

But the New York Rangers have won 11 of their past 12 games, including Wednesday night in Anaheim against an NHL-leading Ducks squad. It’s almost miraculous for a team that has already withstood injuries to top players such as Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Dan Boyle. The recent hot streak is the team’s best since 1993-94 – a year of note, as any Rangers fan will tell you – and it has catapulted the Blueshirts into the Eastern Conference’s top wild card slot. Given that New York has two games in hand on Washington, but trails the Capitals by only a point, things look even sunnier.

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Lightning defenseman Gudas sidelined four months with knee injury

Jared Clinton
Radko Gudas. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the midst of a dream season on a team that will surely compete for the Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas will be forced to the sidelines with a knee injury.

The knee, which he had arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday morning, will keep Gudas watching for the next four months, which would put him in line for a return come playoffs. The Lightning have had outstanding injury luck this season, but they’ll need to look to Syracuse to shore up their blueline with Gudas out of the lineup. Read more

With five defensemen down, how is Winnipeg going to stay competitive?

Jared Clinton
Michael Hutchinson Featured

Someone ought to ask Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff who exactly they wronged to deserve losing five of their six starting defensemen, because at this point it’s starting to get cruel.

Before Monday’s game, it was revealed that Jets blueliner Grant Clitsome would be sidelined with an undisclosed injury and that he would be on the shelf on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s believed he’ll be out for at least a week or two. Clitsome adds to a list of injured rearguards that includes Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Jacob Trouba, and Mark Stuart. With so many defensemen sidelined, how will Winnipeg survive in the tough Western Conference? Read more

Concussions may force Minnesota’s Keith Ballard to retire

Jared Clinton
Keith Ballard (Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)

The first well-documented instance of Keith Ballard suffering a concussion in the NHL came in 2010. Ballard, then 27, missed only five games. It was an unfortunate sign of what was to come, as five years later, concussions may claim Ballard’s career.

According to Minnesota Star Tribune’s Michael Russo, Ballard has suffered three concussions in the last 14 months. The first of those three came on Oct. 15, 2013, and it’s the one that may have started the whole spiral. Coming almost three years to the day of the head injury in 2010, Ballard hasn’t been the same since suffering the early 2013-14 concussion. Now, as he waits for the symptoms of the concussion he suffered on Dec. 9 to clear, he admitted to Russo that retirement is on his mind. Read more