The Carolina Hurricanes, already struggling to produce goals night after night, will now be without two of their most dynamic forwards for the near future.
Alexander Semin was ruled "out indefinitely" with a concussion diagnosis Tuesday, joining Jeff Skinner on the injured list. Per Fox Sports reporter Chantel McCabe via Twitter:
Muller confirmed Semin is out with a concussion. He will go through further testing to determine the severity. 65 out with flu today.— Chantel McCabe (@CanesChantel) November 19, 2013
The injury is believed to have been caused during Carolina's game last Saturday in St. Louis (a 4-2 loss). Star Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo hit Semin hard behind his net but was not assessed a penalty or suspension for the play:
Was Pietrangelo's hit on Semin legal?
According to ShiftChart data, Semin took four shifts later in the second period but did not play in the final 25 minutes of the game.
It's the Russian winger's second concussion in the past five months—a growing worry among the 'Canes medical staff, who have also treated Skinner with a concussion three times so far over his brief career.
Semin had a concussion at the end of last season when the Canes shut him down. Not good news at all to hear he's out with another one.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 19, 2013
Semin's expected time off the ice will only add to Carolina's exponentially increasing man-games lost total, which currently ranks fourth-highest in the NHL. From expected first- and second-string goalies Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin to top-four defensemen Joni Pitkanen (out for the year) and Tim Gleason, the entire roster has been brutally ravaged by health issues this autumn:
|D Joni Pitkanen||21|
|D Tim Gleason||16|
|G Anton Khudobin||15|
|G Cam Ward||11|
|F Jeff Skinner||11|
|F Kevin Westgarth||9|
|F Tuomo Ruutu||5|
|F Elias Lindholm||5|
|F Radek Dvorak||4|
|F Patrick Dwyer||2|
|F Alexander Semin||1|
The Hurricanes' offense has struggled through some rough times this season. The unit currently ranks 28th in goals per game, 20th in shots per game and 27th in Fenwick close.
Losing Semin will certainly not help them move up the standings in any of those categories. No. 28 currently ranks second on the team with nine points and first in Corsi rating; his flowing zone entries and offensive playmaking abilities have been among the team's few offensive bright spots.
The lack of his and Skinner's impact was clearly evident in Monday's 4-1 loss to Boston, as described by stat analyst Corey Sznajder via Twitter:
No 53 or 28 + tons of dump and chase = not much offense off zone entries.— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) November 19, 2013
Carolina has recorded fewer than 10 scoring chances in the last three games. Get well soon 53 & 28.— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) November 19, 2013
Are injuries a legitimate excuse for the 'Canes problems?
At one point, the 'Canes were blessed with over a minute of a five-on-three advantage, down 2-1 in the second period.
They then proceeded to attempt two dump-and-chase offensive zone entries, an absolutely inexcusable last resort up two men. The Bruins cleared the puck three times, and the sequence ended without any significant scoring pressure.
If the Hurricanes' attacking play without Semin's guiding presence continues like it did Monday, Raleigh's holiday season could shape up as a painfully horn-less and loss-laden one.