When you have full grown men skating on razor thin blades at top speeds on a frozen rink, is it really a surprise that hockey is a dangerous sport?
From concussions to feet surgery, literally head to toe, the hockey world is no stranger to prolonged injuries, and for some fans, it can seem like a lifetime until their beloved top-line scorer returns from a sports hernia.
In the next 15 slides, I'll just skim the surface of some of the most consequential injuries of this 2010-2011 season thus far. Most of these require a bit more than putting ice on it to heal the wounds that both the player and the team suffer.
One of the most recent injuries on our list is the nasal sinus fractures suffered by the Anaheim Ducks' Captain, Ryan Getzlaf, during their December 28th showdown with the Phoenix Coyotes.
As seen in the video, Getzlaf took a shot to the face, and immediately went down. The alarming amount of blood is gut-wrenching, so why is this injury so low on our list? Getzlaf has already missed two games, and Anaheim has managed to come out on top of both. Even though they are missing their first-line center, they found a suitable solution with giving top-line winger, Bobby Ryan the nod in the face off circle.
So even though Getzlaf is currently listed as out indefinitely, with alternate captains like Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, the team will be left in good hands in terms of leadership, and with his teammates stepping up to fill the void he left offensively, Anaheim still will keep pushing forward despite losing their young captain to injury.
Brian Campbell was one defender that Chicago had to start their season off without, with Campbell suffering a knee sprain causing him to miss all 13 games in October.
During his absence, the Blackhawks jump started their season with a 7-6-0 record, and since his return, Campbell has helped them to preserve a 14-11-3 record. In the 28 games played this season, Campbell has posted 13 points and a team-leading +13 rating, while only taking a single minor penalty, making him an important asset, and a reliable player to avoid unnecessary penalty minutes and shorthanded situations.
Campbell has definitely contributed to Chicago since his return, and expect him to continue doing so now that he is well adapted in the rhythm of this year, having not missed a game since his return and debut at the November 1st game against the Rangers.
Devon Setoguchi, who missed nine games during the second-half of November and first part of December with an undisclosed upper body injury.
Despite missing just over two weeks of play-time, the Sharks right winger is still ranked in the top 10 on the team in both points and goals. With 12 points in only 30 games played, Setoguchi is a solid wing addition to the Sharks who are currently second in the Pacific Division, ranking them 4th in the Western Conference. For former Presidents Trophy winners, those rankings could be seen as a disappointment.
So with Setoguchi back, there is another dependable presence on the right wing and hopefully San Jose can get back up to the calibre they expect out of their team.
Andy McDonald is the next up on our list of notable injuries, with the small forward out since December 5 with a concussion, and announced to be out indefinitely.
Since McDonald has been out of the lineup, the Blues have gone 7-4-1 in their most recent 12 games, however in the 25 games that he has played in, Andy McDonald has tallied up 17 points, making him a stable and dependable contribution offensively.
The 5'10 forward's presence has been missed especially with teammate, TJ Oshie, also on the injury reserve, forcing the rest of the team to step up in any way possible. Once Andy McDonald gets back on the ice his offensive contributions will absolutely be a big help to the St. Louis team.
Shane Doan's lower body injury which kept him out of seven contests in November comes in at our number 11 most influential injuries of the season to this point.
Despite missing their captain, who has 25 points in 28 games played, the Coyotes managed to stay strong with a 5-0-2 record in their seven games without Doan.
When a captain goes down with an injury, it is always newsworthy regardless of how short he is out for, just because the lack of leadership for those games is usually a very big obstacle for teams to overcome, so when the head Coyote went down with a lower body injury, there was no question that the team would struggle, however those struggles were not shown on the scoreboard.
For the team that is ranked last in the west, losing their first string goalie was a huge strain when Nikolai Khabibulin suffered with his groin injury from November 17th to December 2nd.
Khabibulin has tallied a disappointing 8-15-2 record, a .900 save percentage, and a 3.31 goals against average. During the seven games that he was sidelined the Oilers put up a record of 4-2-1.
Nikolai Khabibulin is a big name in the league goaltenders, mainly because he is a veteran presence, and he is also known for his impressive last year with Chicago back in 2008-2009. Regardless of how shoddy of a season Khabibulin is having, he is still a valuable player on the Edmonton roster and his absence was absolutely noticed while he was healing up.
The second Blackhawk to slip into our top 15 list is Marian Hossa who missed 10 games with a leg injury.
With Hossa not available for four full weeks, the defending Stanley Cup Champions still managed to pull out a 6-3-1 record, however his absence put weight on other players to step up and fill the gap that was left.
When a player, like Hossa, who is a valuable asset to a team is plagued with an injury, their road to recovery can feel longer than it is in reality, and with Hossa tallying 20 points in 25 games this season, his presence is always valuable to the 'Hawks, and with him back in the lineup, Chicago is ready to try and climb higher in the standings out of the 9th seed they find themselves in now.
One of the longest injuries to hit our list is the story of Jordan Staal's season thus far. Staal has had a rough start to the season, hitting the ice for the very first time at the Winter Classic on New Year's Day just last weekend.
Staal had to fight through both a foot injury and a fractured hand through the first half of the 2010-2011 season. To say that he's struggled is an understatement, however he has proved more than anything else that he is willing to keep fighting if that means he will persevere and be able to get back on the ice soon.
The 22-year-old is expected to hit the ice again tomorrow night in his first season game of the year against Tampa Bay. The Penguins absolutely have had to work for their fourth spot in the East, and maybe Jordan Staal will be that last little push to get them above their division rivals in Philadelphia and give them the first place spot in the East.
TJ Oshie was widely expected to be one of the top producing forwards on the St. Louis Blues roster, however the Blues will have to find another way to tally goals with Oshie out indefinitely with a fractured ankle.
Oshie has missed 25 games since he was put on injury reserve back on November 11, however before that he played 13 games with St. Louis and tallied 10 points, a strong offensive force, and with a team who is ranked 19th in the league in average goals per game (2.58), that strong production is a valuable asset.
Now without Oshie out of the lineup for an undisclosed amount of time, the Blues have started to understand how to play without him leading the attack. In the 25 games that Oshie has missed the Blues have posted an average 11-11-3 record, however they absolutely need to step up their game if they intend to hold onto their spot in the playoffs.
Chris Pronger: one name, one player, yet so many different versions of the same story. The undoubtedly controversial player is one of the few in the league who you either love, or you hate, but very few people call in between those two ends of the spectrum.
The Philadelphia Flyers Alternate captain has been a very strong presence on the blue line since he was traded to Philly, and has also stepped up as one of the veteran leaders of the Flyers.
Pronger had 15 points in 31 games until he was put on injury reserve on December 16 with a need for foot surgery. The Flyers are just barely hanging onto the top seat in the East by a thread with their division rivals, the Penguins, hot on their heels. With Pronger missing, Philly might end up slipping in the standings, but they are a strong enough team to hold onto a top spot in the playoffs, however this Pronger injury is very influential for the Flyers.
The Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vincent Lecavalier is next up on our rankings, with the 5th most consequential injury of the season thus far, when he missed 15 games with hand surgery to repair a fractured bone in his hand.
Lecavalier was out from November 11th to December 15th, during which leave the Lightning posted a 7-6-2 record.
In the 23 games that he has played in this season, Lecavalier recorded 16 points, and so his injury really hampered the Lightning in more ways than one. Tampa Bay lost both an offensive force when Vinny went down, but also their main leader, and even though they made it through the 15 games without him, there was a clear sigh of relief when he returned.
Yes, a third Blackhawk has landed on our list of injuries, this time one of the more noticeable names of the young stars, with Patrick Kane.
Kane missed 8 games in December with a lower body injury, a string of games that the Blackhawks struggled with coming away with a 3-4-1 record, a total of just seven points in eight games. Those numbers could be seen as a pretty big disappointment for the former champions who are struggling to get back into the post-season this year.
Chicago's string without Kane really hurt them, and now that he's back on the roster, they have a better chance of using the young star's offensive ability and jumping into the top eight teams in the West. For now, they are an outsider looking in, but just give it time and expect Kane to step it up and propel his team up into the playoff seats.
Pavel Datsyuk has always been one of the biggest stars on the star-studded Detroit roster, and now that he's out with a broken hand, Detroit might really be in for a test of their other talent.
In the first 33 games that Datsyuk played in this season he tallied an impressive 39 points, putting him on route for the first 100-point season of his career, however all those hopes are dashed now that he's missed 6 games.
In Datsyuk's absence, the Red Wings posted a 3-3-0 record, however Detroit has still been able to hold onto the second spot in the Western Conference. All in all, this injury, though not as long as Franzen's knee struggles last year, is still very detrimental to the Detroit lineup until Datsyuk returns and continues at the calibre of play he started the year off with.
One of the biggest injury stories around the NHL this season is also one of the most recent, and it all surrounds Buffalo's Derek Roy who is likely to be out the rest of the season after being placed on injury reserve on December 24th.
Derek Roy is currently struggling with a torn left quad tendon, and for the Sabres, this season was just covered by a dark cloud. With Roy's torn tendon, his skills and points will be missed from the Buffalo lineup, with him tallying 25 points in the first 35 games of the season.
Since his absence, the Sabres have played three games, posting a 2-1-0 record, including an impressive 7-6 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins. However, Buffalo is still well outside of the playoff rankings sitting in 12th place in the East with just 36 points in 38 games. Now with Roy out for the remainder of the season, Buffalo needs to make some huge changes in order to keep any sort of post-season hopes alive.
Now that we have gone through all the individual injuries, let's look at one team as a whole: the New Jersey Devils. Below are the injuries listed alphabetically by last name, and hopefully it will explain why they all share one slide.
Goalie Martin Brodeur suffered torn bicep tendons keeping him out of the lineup for roughly three or four months.
Jamie Langenbrunner went head-first into the boards landing him with an upper-body injury including stiffness, but aside from that there was very little reports on what exactly was hurting the Devils' captain.
Zach Parise is still out, and has not played since Halloween, right now fighting to heal from a torn right meniscus, projecting him to be out approximately three months.
Brian Rolston has only appeared in 21 games this season after being sidelined with a sports hernia surgery.
Matt Taormina has also been off the roster since November 14th with a sprained left ankle, limiting the number of games he's played in to just 17 games.
Anton Volchenkov is New Jersey's defender who has only played in 26 games this year after suffering from a broken noes.
On top of all these key injuries, the Devils have been plagued with smaller injuries and illnesses as well, and this curse goes far enough to explain why NJ is ranked last not only in the East but also in the entire League.