Teemu Selanne is only five goals away from 600 in his NHL career. Unfortunately, he'll be stuck on 595 for the next few weeks.
The winger, who just returned from a broken bone in his hand, only played three games before being struck in the jaw during Wednesday night’s matchup against the Boston Bruins.
He had two goals in those three games.
A shot from defenseman Ryan Whitney deflected off a defenders stick and then off the ice before hitting Selanne on the side of the face.
This season, Whitney has managed to take two Ducks' players and put them on the IR for substantial periods of time. The first was a shot in practice injuring Ryan Carter's foot, and now Selanne's jaw.
That can't feel too good for the defenseman.
After writhing in pain on the ice, Selanne was taken off to the locker room. The initial prognosis is a fractured jaw, and he'll be out of the Ducks lineup for at least the next four weeks.
The Olympics are about four weeks away, but we're talking about Selanne—I highly doubt he will miss the Olympics.
As for the Ducks, they can recover from losing Selanne.
No, they need to.
The important thing to remember is the Ducks have been finding help in the lineup from unexpected places.
Rookies Dan Sexton and Matt Beleskey are scoring goals. The power play is struggling, but getting plenty of chances. More importantly, the Ducks have a goaltender showing no remorse for the opposition.
The chance of Selanne returning to play another season in the NHL is still questionable. The Ducks need to start figuring out how to do things without him, and as unfortunate as this is, now is as good a time as any.
The Ducks must contemplate what they'll do with the current lineup they're running. If the two top lines continue to contribute the way they have been, the Ducks may get over the shock of losing Selanne for the second time this season as a minor bump in the road.
However, if they begin to suffer again, they might be interested in making a trade to add additional scoring, something they thought they had accomplished in the offseason.
One thing is for certain: the emotions and enthusiasm for the game that Selanne posses will be missed the most. His desire and passion for the game drives the locker room.
Ultimately, the Ducks haven't just lost a fabulous athlete and power play threat; they've lost a bit of heart.
Here's hoping he returns sooner than later.
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