Any sports fan can tell you that injuries are a part of the game. But not all injuries are created equal.
Sometimes, injuries make very little difference, as players are not out of action for long or are replaced by another player who is able to step up and play as well as—or better than—the player who was hurt.
But sometimes, injuries change the course of a team's season. Some players cannot be adequately replaced, and the absence changes the course of the team's year.
Here is a look at some of the most important injuries in the NHL this season.