NHL Injury Role Call—December 28, 2015


Caps Join the Player Injury Roster

We are about mid-way through the 2015/16 season and we are starting to see the player injury count rise around the NHL. The Washington Capitals, with the exception of Brooks Orpik, have had their bumps and bruises and until last night none of our players had missed a game for an injury.

John Carlson’s consecutive game streak (412) ended after warmups and he concluded that he just couldn’t come back and play. He is out with an ‘upper-body injury’ which we hope won’t leave him sidelined for long.

And then there was the Michael Latta fight. Stepping up to defend a bruising to teammate Justin Williams, Sparky took on Nicolas Deslauriers, who issued a strong beatdown in return. Latts left the ice and is reported to have an arm injury. Still waiting for more details.  injury_latta

Braden Holtby even had a close call when Tyler Ennis gave him a shove in the net towards the end of the third period. Holts looked dazed and the trainers gave him a once-over to make sure he could return to the net. We all held our breath on that one. Braden was visibly upset with that one.

By the end the game the team seemed banged up enough that coach gave them the day off from practice.

Around the NHL

Looking around the NHL we can see the numbers on injuries growing—some that are providing holes for teams that may change their winning posture. Let’s take a look at some of those injuries, especially the injured reserve (IR) or long-term injury (LTIR) list.

Injured Reserve: A team can place a player on injured reserve if that player is hurt, sick or unable to play after seven days. Once a player is placed on the list, the Club may replace said player on its NHL roster with another player.

Long-term Injured Reserve: A player is placed on LTIR if he is expected to miss 10 games and 24 days. There is a complicated formula used to bring relief for the team against its salary cap.

Every team, with the exception of the NY Rangers, has players on the injury list. In all there are 113 players (NHL/AHL) with injuries ranging from sprains to severe concussions. Teams typically will not provide specific details about a player’s injury. Part of it is to protect their privacy and part of it is to protect them from opponents when they return to play so that teams can’t take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Here is a look at some of the injuries around the league, starting with goalies who are out as well as a list of players out with disclosed concussions.


There are 10 goalies out with injuries. For many of the players it is unclear how severe their injuries are or when they are likely to return. The loss of a goalie and change a team’s playing strategy and alter their winning confidence—as seen in Montreal with the loss of star goalie Carey Price.

Arizona Coyotes:              Goalie Mike Smith has been out since December 10 with a groin injury. He underwent surgery on the 15th and is expected to be out for up to 10 weeks.

Blue Jackets:                     Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been out with a groin-strain since 9 December is considered day-to-day, despite expectations of a return on Saturday.

Buffalo Sabres:                 Robin Leher is out with an ankle sprain and could return soon. He has been out since late-November.

Colorado Avalanche:        Goalie Reto Berra sustained an ankle injury during pregame warmups on December 22. He could miss 10 days and is on the IR list.

Minnesota Wild:               Darcy Kuemper was out December 28 with an unspecified upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. He could be back on Thursday.

Montreal Canadiens:      Goalie Carey Price has been side-lined since November 25 with a right-leg injury. This is an irritation of an injury he sustained earlier in the season. It is expected that he will be out at least six weeks to heal.

NY Islanders:                      Goalie Jaraslov Halak was placed on injured reserve 26 December, retroactive to 21 December for an undisclosed upper-body injury. He could be back this weekend but no details are known.

Pittsburgh Penguins:      Goalie Marc- Andre-Fleury is out with a concussion and reported to be “progressing” toward his return. No details on how he was injured other than he reported that he did not feel well following the Pens loss to the Caps on December 15. No timetable for his return.

Toronto Maple Leafs:     Goalie Garret Sparks left the game on December 17 with a lower-body injury—potentially to his leg. The team reports he will be out for the ‘long term.’

Winnipeg Jets:                  Goalie Ondrej Pavelec left the game November 21 and was later seen sporting a leg cast. He was placed on IR and there is no timetable for his return.


One of the more destabilizing injuries a player can sustain is a concussion. The recovery period is much harder to predict because it is different for each person. Quite frequently a team will list “upper-body injury” as code for a concussion. The following list includes only those for which the team has listed “concussion” as the injury.

Anaheim Ducks:               Defenseman Simon Depres, who signed a five-year contract with the team in October 9, was injured on October 17 (upper body). The team revealed on November 14 that the injury had resulted in a concussion and as of December 22 was still feeling the effects. No timetable for his return.

Arizona Coyotes:              Defenseman Chris Pronger (former Flyers) has been suffering with concussion symptoms for over two years. He is on the long-term-IR list and is not expected to return to play. He was traded to the Coyotes earlier this year and currently works with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Colorado Avalanche:      Defenseman Nate Guenin left the game December 21 with a “head injury.” It is thought that he is suffering with concussion symptoms although the team has yet to confirm. He will be out for at least a week.

Center Jesse Winchester has been out with concussion symptoms since the end of the 2014/15 season. He is on the IR list because on reoccurring symptoms.

Detroit Red Wings:          Left Wing Johan Franzen was placed on LTIR November 20 after suffering reoccurring concussion symptoms. He was originally injured during the 2014/15 season. It is unclear if he will return during the 2015/16 season.

Florida Panthers:              Center Marc Savard suffered a concussion in 2012 when playing with the Boston Bruins. He was placed on LTIR in July 2013 and his contract was acquired by Florida earlier this year. He is not expected to return to play.

Minnesota Wild:               Defenseman Keith Ballard has been out with a concussion since December 2015 (2014 season) and announced his retirement December 15. Ballard reportedly suffered five concussions over his 600-game career.

Pittsburg Penguins:         Goalie Marc-Andre Fluery – see above.

Winnipeg Jets:                  Center Mark Scheifele sustained an apparent head injury in practice on December 26 and was placed on IR the next day.

Tune in next week for an update on league injuries.

Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

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