There seems to be a rash of injuries of late in the NHL. Some have been pre-existing issues that have carried over from before the season began. It does seem like there are a lot of big name players that are on the IR, some for longer then the others but the numbers continue to rise. What is the most alarming is the number that are big name or franchise players.
Now every year there will be players hurt but not as many superstars in these numbers and this early. Being an Olympic year the schedule will be a little off balance and crammed up to accommodate but thus far it has been pretty laxed for most teams and most have had a decent amount of rest so that shouldn't be to blame for this problem. When you are seeing players like: Phil Kessel , Milan Lucic Simon Gagne, Johan Franzen, Patrik Elias, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Ilya Kovalchuk, John-Michael Liles, T.J. Oshie, Daniel Sedin, Sheldon Souray, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, David Booth, Marian Gaborik, Roberto Luongo, Andrei Markov, Jonathan Toews, Kari Lehtonen, Marian Hossa (and that is just the big name guys) hurt makes you wonder why that is and can’t help but worry teams about what they are going to look like after a tight schedule and then the strain of the Olympics. These are actually injury situations and unrelated to the flu situation, either swine or other.
All these injuries I guess may be better that they happen now, early, and not later during a stretch run towards the playoffs but you don’t want to get to a point where you take yourself out of contention early. In addition to what the teams are losing with these players out the same can be said of some of the players who need this time to play their way onto an Olympic team. There are a handful of players who have pretty much sealed their fate by being injured. Gagne, Savard and Lucic are three right off the bat that needed to have a strong start to be in the mix.
In a less important angle, well less important unless you are the owner of some of these players is that of the fantasy owner or hockey pool participant who needed these guys healthy all year. You know, so the secretary at work that joined the league for fun doesn’t win because they thought that certain guys had a cute names and that is why they picked them.
It is never good for any league, especially the NHL to lose too many stars at one time. In a gate driven league the more stars you can have active and playing at a high level the better for everybody. For some of the teams in the southern US only associate a team with 1 maybe 2 guys, if they are hurt and not in the lineup that is just one more reason not to go or to watch.