On Wednesday night, Canuck fans everywhere had their hearts stop as Dan Hamhuis was hit from behind by Anahiem's Ryan Getzlaf.
Hamhuis was on his back for about five minutes motionless while Rogers Arena was silent. He left the game and did not return.
It was reported after the game that Hamhuis felt fine, however, concussion symptoms can take time to develop. It seems unlikely that a player can be “okay” after being on the ice for so long motionless and then leaving the game.
Coach Alain Vigneault could be trying to calm down the fans and the team, but we don’t know for sure. Team 1040 also reported that Hamhuis being "okay" seemed unlikely.
Trouble on the back end has been a problem for the Canucks for years. Last season, Canucks lost defenseman Kevin Bieksa from a skate cut for over two months, an injury that had occurred to him for the second time.
Another big injury last season that affected the Canucks was the absence of ex-Canuck Willie Mitchell. In mid-January, Mitchell got hit by Penguin’s Evgeni Malkin, causing a season ending concussion. He did not participate in the playoffs.
This injury caused the addition of Andrew Alberts from Carolina at trade deadline. Alberts was not immediately admired by the fans. His continuous penalties and giveaways created a lot of hate for the ex Hurricane.
After his poor end of season and playoff performance, Alberts was given a clean slate for the 10/11 season, where he has greatly improved and formed himself into a steady sixth defenseman.
Defenseman Sami Salo has yet to play a game this season after being injured in the summer.
Alex Edler, arguably the best Canucks' defenseman this season, is also out indefinitely because of a back injury. He is the points leader for defenseman on the team, and has become very valuable.
This has been Edler’s breakout season on both ends of the ice. His absence will be hard to fill, though he is scheduled to be back around the start of post season.
Acquired in the offseason, defenseman Keith Ballard was injured Monday night against the Ottawa Senators. At first, his injury looked painful and season ending; however, after testing it appeared to only be a sprained knee. Ballard will be out three to four weeks.
Fortunately, Defenseman Sami Salo is about to make is long awaited return after three games of conditioning in Manitoba. But at what cost? How long until he is out again, or will he tough it out and continue playing until the end of season?
His leadership, powerful shot and defensive skills are much needed by the Canucks. When healthy, Salo can be the best player on the ice.
At this time, Canuck fans look back and wonder how Luc Bourdon would have fit into this team.
Would he have saved the Canucks in this situation? One thing is for sure, they would love to have him right now. RIP.
Rookie’s Chris Tanev and Lee Sweatt will have some time to get used to the NHL. Tanev has played well for a rookie defenseman for the Canucks and he will continue to play until the back-end becomes healthy.
If Hamhuis is injured, his spot will be difficult to fill. He is a stay at home defenseman who doesn’t take many risks. He is very effective in this category, much like ex-Canuck Willie Mitchell. Aaron Rome’s play is similar, he always chooses the “safe” play; however, he is not as mobile.
Look for time on ice increases for defenseman Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff as the Canucks continue down the stretch.
Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts will play as the third and fourth defenseman to help the Canucks until injured players return.
The Canucks will need goalie Roberto Luongo to play at his best to make up for the beat up back end.
The Canucks have their greatest test yet. Do they have enough depth to continue winning?