The Epidemic of Injured All-Star NHL Defencemen Continues Early in 2011-2012

Adam GrahamAnalyst IINovember 12, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls to the ice after being hit in the face by a stick during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you’re an elite NHL defenceman, it might be a wise idea to put on protective bubble wrap underneath your uniform in addition to your pads, at least for the next couple of months.

Even then, it might not matter, because it seems like just a matter of time before the entire cream of the crop on defence goes down.

If you haven't been keeping track, the list of quality NHL d-men that have already missed at least three games due to injuries so far this season is staggering.

Chris Pronger, Duncan Keith, Mike Green, Mattias Ohlund, Victor Hedman, Zbynek Michalek, Marc Staal, Tobias Enstrom, Sami Salo, Andrei Markov and Ryan Whitney are the most notable of the walking wounded on blue lines around the NHL.

You’ll be able to add Lubomir Visnovsky and Alex Goligoski to that list as well in the coming games as they’re both expected to miss the next month with broken hands, according to Sportsnet.

Remember, we’re not even at the quarter mark of the season yet and it’s already at the point where you could put together an all-star game full of defencemen that have missed at least three games.  

Who knows, by the time the weekend is over there might be a brand new set of injured top-tier defencemen that could fill out a third roster for an All-Star game.

Now I realize that some of these injuries have been less serious than others, and a few of those players are rather injury-prone. However, the overall inability of the league’s top d-men to stay healthy in the first month of the season is almost comical.

Then again, if you’ve paid close enough attention to the NHL over the last few years, you’d realize that defencemen are much more susceptible to injuries than forwards.

The Vancouver Canucks know this very well. They were forced to use 13 different d-men throughout the 2010-2011 season and only one of those 13 played in more than 66 regular season games.

As unlucky as the Canucks may have been with injuries on defence last season, their situation wasn’t much worse than several other teams. The Oilers, Wild and Canadiens are just a few of the other teams that were forced to use 12 different defensemen during the 2010-2011 campaign.

So why exactly do defencemen get injured more often?

The most obvious answer would be because they block more shots. Another reason might be because they’re constantly getting pounded by the opposing forwards on the forecheck while having their backs turned to the play.

Regardless of all the possible theories surrounding this epidemic of star defencemen, the element of bad luck has certainly factored prominently in the equation this season.

The only positive to possibly come out of this long list of injuries to top-tier defencemen is that perhaps we might see some first timers at the 2012 All-Star Game. I’m looking in your direction Aaron Rome.

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