The Atlantic Division was rocked with injuries ahead of their season openers, as star players Carey Price and Patrice Bergeron have been ruled out of Thursday’s game and Eichel suffered a frightening injury.
Carey Price hasn’t suited up for a single second of NHL action in more than 322 days, and though that streak was believed to be coming to an end come opening night, it turns out Price will go until at least Saturday without getting back between the pipes.
The Canadiens announced Wednesday that Price, who missed almost the entirety of the past season with an MCL sprain, will miss yet another practice and be out of action for Montreal’s season opener against the Buffalo Sabres as he battles the flu. The announcement comes days after TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported that Price, who was dealing with the illness Monday, would be ready for Thursday’s game.
For the Canadiens and their fans, it’s an incredible disappointment that Price, 29, won’t be ready for action come opening night, but there’s at least some promise in that he’s dealing with an ailment that shouldn’t have an extremely long timeline for return. In fact, coach Michel Therrien said there's a chance Price joins the team in Ottawa for Saturday's game.
Before suffering his MCL injury in November 2015, Price was in the midst of yet another incredibly strong season, coming on the heels of an MVP and Vezina Trophy winning season. In 12 games, he had posted a 10-2-0 record, 2.06 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, leading many to believe he was on track for back-to-back Vezina wins. The injury derailed his campaign, though, and after months of trying to battle back from injury, Price was officially ruled out of action until the final weeks of the season.
Price made his return to action at the World Cup of Hockey, backstopping Canada to the championship with a 5-0-0 record, one shutout, 1.40 goals-against average and .957 save percentage.
In addition to Price, Montreal will also be without defenseman Jeff Petry to open the campaign. He will practice Friday, however.
BERGERON OUT FOR BRUINS’ OPENER
The last thing the Boston Bruins wanted to hear before the start of the season is that they would be without Patrice Bergeron for any length of time.
As the Bruins get set to open their campaign Thursday against the Blue Jackets, it was announced that Bergeron will not be making the trip to Columbus after suffering a lower-body injury. The specifics of the injury have not been reported, but Bergeron is out on a day-to-day basis, according to the Bruins.
The good news for the Bruins is that after opening the season with three games on the road in five days, they’ll return to Boston and have two days off before a meeting with the New Jersey Devils.
Bergeron hasn’t missed much action over the past several seasons, and he has only missed more than four games in four of his 12 NHL seasons. Over the past three campaigns, Bergeron has missed a grand total of five games and 14 games over the past six years.
Beyond Bergeron, the Bruins will be without defenseman Adam McQuaid on a day-to-day basis and have lost blueliner Kevan Miller for six weeks to a left-hand fracture.
EICHEL LEAVES ICE UNABLE TO PUT WEIGHT ON LEG
Buffalo Sabres’ center Jack Eichel was looking to build off of a successful 24-goal, 56-point rookie campaign, but there’s serious concern about his status as the season approaches after Eichel suffered what appears to be an injury to his left leg.
The potential injury, which resulted in Eichel being helped off the ice, occurred as the Sabres practiced Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s home opener. In the attacking zone, Eichel went to cut in front of the net when he spun and appeared to slip backwards, bending his left leg under his body. Eichel immediately appeared to be in pain as he rolled on the ice clutching his leg.
Video of the injury was posted to Twitter via News 4 Buffalo’s Tom Martin:
Coach Dan Bylsma has announced that Eichel suffered an ankle injury.
"We’re going to let it calm down here and get it evaluated and see the extent of him turning his ankle there," Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News' John Vogl.
CROSBY BACK IN PRACTICE WITH PENGUINS
Two days after being diagnosed with a concussion, Sidney Crosby was back practicing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Crosby took line rushes with the team, skating between Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist, but he donned a yellow, non-contact jersey for the outing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jason Mackey.
Meeting with media Tuesday, Crosby said he was set to take the concussion day-by-day.
"I feel pretty good. I was happy to get to skate today," Crosby told media, per the Penguins' website. "(Concussions) happen in a lot of different sports and guys have multiple concussions and are fine. I think that you just have to treat them the right way and that you handle it right, and that you're honest. I'm comfortable and confident that things will be OK."
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