2011 NHL Playoffs: Top 5 Injury Impacts

Andy KulaszewskiContributor IIApril 8, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs: Top 5 Injury Impacts

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    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 9:  Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings skates with the puck in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 9, 2011 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Kings defeated the Wings 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty I
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    The injury bug seems to have demolished some teams over this season, with some of the major players being hit at the worst time: just before the playoffs. I'm going to take a look at which injuries are the top five most impactful.

Sidney Crosby

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    ATLANTA - JANUARY 27:  A fan of Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins holds up sign during warm ups to the 56th NHL All-Star Game due to injury at Philips Arena on January 27, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Crosby makes number five on my list. I debated even including him because the Penguins sure haven't seemed to miss him all that much looking at the standings. But love him or hate him, he is one of the best players to put on an NHL uniform.

    It's not so much that the Penguins will lose because they don't have him, but rather more of a point that Sid the Kid has 15 more points than the second-highest scorer on the Pens...in exactly half as many games. The Penguins do well, but however they do end up doing in the playoffs, imagine what it could have been with his firepower on the ice. He may be back, in these days no one really knows what's going on behind the scenes, but until he does the Penguins will certainly miss his finesse.

Henrik Zetterberg

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    NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings is hit by Anton Volchenkov #28 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The NHL sure has been good at hiding injury statuses this year. Henrik left Wednesday's game against the Hurricanes limping and even as of today no one will mention what's wrong or how long he will be out. If it's longer than two weeks the Red Wings better step up.

    The Wings have been less than their normal selves in the last quarter of the season and have dropped to third place behind the Sharks. Much of the reason the Wings have even kept that high in the standings was for the work of Z. With Datsyuk out of the lineup, Zetterberg stepped up his play and put up huge numbers (good enough for eighth in the league in points). He still leads the team and with the Wings streaky play of late, if they run into a hot goalie in the first round (which they seem to every year), without Zetterberg's play, they may be in for a shock.

Jonas Hiller

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 16:  Goaltender Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on against the Edmonton Oilers at the Honda Center on January 16, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Some people may disagree with this just because of the phenomenal play of Ray Emery of late. But Emery has been out of the league for a while now and out of playoff competition for even longer. He's got a full 10 games under his belt and has played well, but only time will tell if he can keep that up.

    Jonas Hiller has proven himself time and time again as one of the most clutch goaltenders in the NHL. How can you not take note that the Ducks are at a disadvantage without him? Without the All-Star goalie, the Stars just don't have the same chance as they would with him.

    (Sorry about the video, it's tough to find video of a Vertigo Injury)

Ryan Callahan

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    NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 09: Ryan Callahan #24, Chris Drury #13 and Nigel Dawes #10 of the New York Rangers look to block a shot by Andy Greene #6 of the New Jersey Devils on April 9, 2008 during game one of the 2008 NHL conference quarter-final series at the P
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    What a tough break for the Rangers. After writing this, I sure hope they make the playoffs so this actually makes sense. But anyway, a horrible turn of events for the Blueshirts with Callahan fracturing his leg while blocking a shot from the world's hardest shooter.

    Callahan has emerged this year as one of the Ranger's top forwards (second in scoring only to Brandon Dubinsky) and as a leader for this team. If the Rangers can pull off the eighth seed without him in the lineup, surpassing the powerhouse Capitals is going to be a major and more than likely fatal obstacle.

Anze Kopitar

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Anze Kopitarl #11 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck as he falls to the ice in front of Kurt Sauer #44 of the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period at the Staples Center on December 26, 2008 in Los Angeles, Califor
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Was there any question here? Not only was he the title picture, but he is also the Los Angeles Kings' top scorer and one of their main leaders that is undoubtedly out for the remainder of the season. Kopitar leads the Kings in points by over 15, and is the team leader in assists and second in goals. With Dustin Penner not showing any signs of filling his shoes the playoffs may not last long for the Kings.

    Quick has been hot, but it takes both offense and defense to win in the playoffs and Anze had both. He leads the team in plus/minus as well and without him the Kings lose not only a terrific goal scorer and playmaker but solid two-way player as well. He is without a doubt the biggest injury to come this late in the season.