Ottawa's Mark Stone (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Ottawa's miraculous run to the playoffs was a great story, but reality has set in after just one game, as the Senators' rookie sensation was felled by a P.K. Subban slash. Has midnight tolled for Cinderella already?
The Ottawa Senators have revealed that rookie right winger Mark Stone has a microfracture in his right wrist and that's bad news for the Cinderella playoff team.
Though it is not known yet if Stone will miss any games in Ottawa's first-round series with Montreal, it certainly didn't look good last night when Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban controversially laid the lumber on Stone with a slash that got the Habs blueliner booted from Game 1, which Montreal won.
Subban will not face a suspension for his actions, though timing may have helped his case; the NHL's disciplinarians made their decision before Stone's injury diagnosis. This is important, because according to the collective bargaining agreement signed by the NHL and the Players' Association, injuries are factored in to supplementary discipline.
If Stone misses a significant amount of time, the Senators will be in a bad spot. The big winger was one of their best players in the second half of the season and Stone even has a shot at winning the Calder Trophy thanks to his offensive prowess. He finished the season with 64 points in 80 games, tying Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau for tops among rookies.
With veteran sniper Bobby Ryan cold (he has gone 13 games now without bending the twine) right now, the situation is all the more dire. Given how young Ottawa's defense corps is, the Senators' only real chance against Montreal was to outscore the Habs.
The quick Canadiens made mince-meat out of the inexperienced Ottawa blueliners in Game 1, with a flurry of odd-man rushes. And as good as Erik Karlsson is, his gifts are in creating offense from the back end more than preventing goals in his own zone.
What became apparent in Game 1 is how the Senators weren't built for the playoffs. After all, this team could only have dreamed of the post-season back at the trade deadline, so the roster wasn't bolstered (and rightly so – the Sens were prudent in their inaction). The team was a feel-good story coming into the post-season because of the amazing run they had to clinch a spot.
But lionized goalie Andrew Hammond was more than mortal in Game 1, his veil of mystery pierced by Tomas Plekanec and others. No Stone would be an unkind turn and Ottawa will have to really pull together to make this series a long one – because it doesn't get easier from here on out.