Injuries Having the Biggest Impact Early in 2013-14 NHL Season

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

Injuries Having the Biggest Impact Early in 2013-14 NHL Season

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    The season is not even a month old, but injuries are always a factor in the NHL.

    Every team has its share of bumps and bruises, but there have also been injuries that have taken out some of the NHL's most important players. Several players appear to have been targeted with head shots, which have resulted in scary injuries to the players on the receiving end.

    Here's our look at the most devastating injuries of the 2013-14 season.

G Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

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    Injury: According to NHL.com, Pekka Rinne has a spontaneous bacterial infection of the hip (announced Oct. 24). Rinne had arthroscopic surgery on his hip in May.

     

    Out: Rinne will likely miss four weeks.

     

    Strategy: Carter Hutton will take over as the starting goalie, and the Predators have recalled goalie Magnus Hellberg from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

     

    Impact: Rinne is one of the best goalies in the league. Unless Hutton proves that he can handle the pressure and the workload, the Predators could fall in a deep hole.

LW Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

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    Injury: Max Pacioretty suffered a strained left hamstring when he fell awkwardly in an Oct. 15 game against the Winnipeg Jets.

     

    Out: Pacioretty has missed a week of action and will likely be sidelined for at least two more weeks before he can play again.

     

    Strategy: Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien told NHL.com that it would be up to the rest of the players on the Canadiens roster to make up for the loss of Pacioretty.

     

    Impact: While the Canadiens won their first game after Pacioretty was injured, they have lost their last two, both one-goal decisions. 

D Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild

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    Injury: Jonas Brodin suffered a broken cheekbone when he was hit in the face by the puck in the Minnesota Wild's Oct. 22 game against the Nashville Predators.

     

    Out: Brodin, 20, is out indefinitely, but it's not all bad news. When he was first injured, it was feared that he had suffered a broken jaw, but that scenario did not occur.

     

    Strategy: Brodin is already one of the Wild's top players, and he had been averaging 23:14 of ice time per game prior to his injury. Head coach Mike Yeo is looking for defensemen Nate Prosser and Matthew Dumba to take up much of Brodin's ice time.

     

    Impact: Prosser and Dumba are both impressive young players in their own right, but Brodin sees more ice time than any other Wild defenseman besides Ryan Suter. Brodin's loss will likely hurt the Wild in late-game situations, as their remaining defensemen are likely to be overburdened and could be prone to fatigue-induced mistakes.

LW Rick Nash, New York Rangers

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    Injury: Rick Nash suffered a concussion in the Rangers' 9-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks Oct. 8. He has not played since.

     

    Out: Nash was injured when he was elbowed in the head by defenseman Brad Stuart, who was suspended for three games because of his errant hit. There's no timetable for Nash's return from the concussion, and the Rangers will be forced to wait until he is symptom-free from the injury.

     

    Strategy: The Rangers are off to a halting start, and head coach Alain Vigneault is still searching for offense. The Rangers have promoted Chris Kreider from the minors with the hope that his explosive skating speed will jump-start the offense.

     

    Impact: The Rangers have dropped five of their first seven games. Nash is probably the Rangers' most talented offensive player, but they are also without Ryan Callahan (thumb) and Henrik Lundqvist (undisclosed).

G Tim Thomas, Florida Panthers

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    Injury: Tim Thomas has suffered two lower-body injuries that have forced him to leave games this season. After being forced out of the Oct. 22 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Thomas was placed on injured reserve by the Florida Panthers.

     

    Out: Thomas, 39, went down to make a save in the third period against the Blackhawks and had a difficult time getting up and returning to his normal position. Thomas skated to the bench at the next whistle and was replaced by Jakob Markstrom. It has not been determined when Thomas will return to the lineup.

    Strategy: Markstrom is the team's goaltender of the future, and now that Thomas is injured, he is also the goalie of the present. The Panthers recalled Scott Clemmensen from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League to serve as Markstrom's backup.

     

    Impact: The Panthers signed Thomas to a professional tryout contract during training camp, and he made the team and has resumed his career after taking a one-season hiatus. Thomas is having a difficult time staying healthy, however, and the Panthers need him in the lineup if they are going to have a chance to be competitive.

D Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

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    Injury: Rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba suffered a neck injury when he fell face first into the boards in an Oct. 18 game against the St. Louis Blues. Trouba got tangled with Jordan Leopold of the Blues and fell awkwardly.

     

    Out: Trouba will be out through Oct. 31, but his time on the sidelines could last longer if he does not recover quickly.

     

     Strategy: The Jets brought up defenseman Adam Pardy from St. John's of the American Hockey League to fill in for Trouba. Pardy has played in more than 200 NHL games in his career.

     

    Impact: Trouba has looked like he will quickly become an impact player for the Jets. He is a big hitter who looks to put his imprint on every game. While he is young and makes mistakes, the Jets want Trouba in the lineup because he makes all opponents think twice before they come in his corner.

LW Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers

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    Injury: Taylor Hall suffered a knee injury while playing against the Ottawa Senators Oct. 19.

     

    Out: Hall will be out at least four weeks as a result of taking a knee-on-knee hit from the Senators' Eric Gryba.

     

    Strategy: The slow-starting Oilers are asking Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle to step up and produce in Hall's absence. All three of those players are going to have to carry more scoring and offensive responsibility on their shoulders if the Oilers are going to emerge from their funk with Hall on the sidelines.

     

    Impact: It's a critical time for the Oilers, who are also without Sam Gagner (broken jaw). After Hall was injured in the game against the Senators, the Oilers came back to win that game, and they also beat Montreal Oct. 22. They may have to rally around their fallen young star.

LW Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins

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    Injury: Loui Eriksson suffered a head injury that resulted in concussion-like symptoms when he was hit by Sabres enforcer John Scott when the Bruins played at Buffalo Oct. 23.

     

    Out: Eriksson spent the night in Buffalo while his teammates flew back to Boston for their Oct. 24 game with the San Jose Sharks. It is not known how long Eriksson will be out, but he is expected to return to Boston shortly, according to NHL insider Darren Dreger.

     

    Strategy: Look for the Bruins to put Brad Marchand back on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith if Eriksson is out for an extended period of time. That's what Claude Julien did after Eriksson was forced out of the game against the Sabres.

     

    Impact: Eriksson has been feeling his way out slowly with the Bruins after being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars. The Bruins have a lot of depth and can withstand a short-term injury, but if Eriksson is not back quickly, his absence will hurt them.