NHL teams, or at least the ones who keep their professionalism intact, resist resorting to excuses when an important player goes out of the active line chart and they plummet in the standings.
Still, the most ideal scenario is not to be placed in a position for potential excuses to begin with. That could be the result of an unfortunate injury beyond everyone’s control or even an ill-timed, lengthy suspension that the player in question brings on himself and his team.
Some players this season have already been conspicuous by their absence with stints on the sideline or through ill-advised penalties. The rest have made their impact speak for itself, leaving sufficient grounds to make an educated assertion that they are the last individual their team will want out of action.
Even for those who are not realistic postseason contenders, finishing the 2012-13 regular season with dignity is the least they can do to fill their priorities list. Losing a key cog could hinder that cause just as much as it could derail a better team’s endeavor to nab the best available seed in the playoffs.
Here is one player each team needs in the lineup to ensure a satisfying homestretch in 2013.
Unless otherwise indicated, all information for this slideshow was found via nhl.com.