Injuries are a way of life in hockey, and every team copes with them during the course of a season. At times, however, it seems as if the injury bug bites hard on a particular squad, and right now, it is the Predators that have been bitten.
Stellar defenseman Shea Weber took a shot off his foot in the Dallas game on Saturday. It is hoped that he will miss only one to two weeks. In talking with the staff on Tuesday night, there is a concern that his recovery time may be three to four weeks.
Forward J.P Dumont tweaked his back at the Tuesday skate and was very sore afterward. It was going to be determined on Wednesday morning when the team left for their west coast trip if he would be travelling. According to the latest news, the back was extremely sore and he did not go with the team when they left this morning.
Dumont has 11 points in nine games and has been integral to the production of this offensively challenged team. It is hoped that he can join the team later on this road swing.
Rookie center Colin Wilson did not make the trip either. He has once again aggravated the groin strain that plagued him during preseason camp. He is currently receiving treatment and it is hoped that he will be in the lineup when the Predators return from the road.
On a positive note, the team will welcome back captain Jason Arnott for Thursday's game against Anaheim. Arnott has missed six games since injuring his shoulder against Washington. I had a chance to speak with Jason last week and he has regained the strength and mobility in the shoulder, and he is ready to return to the ice.
Jordin Tootoo will be making his first appearance of the season since injuring a hip flexor and quadricep at the end of training camp.
Andreas Thuresson has been recalled from the Predators' AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, and he will take Wilson's roster spot.
The injury bug strikes just as this team is building positive momentum and stringing together wins. One response is to hang your head and bemoan the loss of key players. The other is to lace 'em up tight and skate hard.
Lace 'em up, boys.
This critical early season road trip will be a test of the mettle of this team. Young players will be given a chance to shine and veterans will have to shoulder a bigger load on offense. So be it. The adversity this team is facing now can steel them for the fight for the playoffs.