Fantasy Hockey: Detailed Injury Report - Central Division

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Well, the Habs-Leafs game has depressed me enough to turn my attention back to our division-by-division, team-by-team injury round up.

We started off with the Northwest Division, a division in which four of the five teams, at one point or another, have been plagued by injuries, to the point where you can correlate slow starts from those teams to their injuries.

Next, we visited the Northeast Division, where the Habs were by far the team most affected by injuries in the first two months of the season. The Bruins were a close second, but the Leafs, Sens and Sabres have been mostly immune for the injury bug making its way around the league.

Tonight, we take a look at the Central Division, where the most important injuries seem to be in the Motor City:

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NOTES

Major Injuries include long term injuries that have been confirmed to be over a month long, to players of great importance to their specific teams. Usually one or two players will be included in this category, if any.
Key Injuries include significant players who are due to be out for at least a week, or major injuries who are on the verge or returning.
Minor Injuries are less significant players, day-to-day injuries, that sort of thing.
Earlier injuries: are players who have already returned from injuries earlier in the season. Only players who have missed more than a game will be included here. Finally, Affect is a short analysis on how injuries have affected this team over the first few months of the season.
Data was compiled using lists and player reports from ESPN, Yahoo, TSN, Rotoworld, and other major news and fantasy sources.
Here is today’s division, the Central division:

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CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Major Injuries David Bolland, back, 12 to 16 weeks and Adam Burish, torn ACL/knee surgery, March.
While not major parts of Chicago’s young roster, the losses of Bolland and Burish still hurt. Chicago has a lot of depth and will keep on rolling, but considering Chicago’s otherwise healthy roster, this is as close to a major injury as you’re going to get, especially considering the seasons of both players are almost complete. Both Burish and Bolland were roleplayers for the Hawks, but very good roleplayers who will help them come playoff time if healthy.

Key Injuries: NONE

Minor Injuries: NONE

Earlier injuries: Marian Hossa (22 games, shoulder surgery), Jonathan Toews (6 games, concussion), Brent Seabrook (2 games, concussion), Ben Eager (13 games, upper body)

Affect: The Blackhawks are as deep a team as you’re going to find in the league. They’ve managed to stay atop a competitive Central division the entire season despite missing the above players. Now that they’re as healthy as they’re going to get until March, it’s scary how good this team is going to be down the stretch and in the playoffs. Many have said that this is their year, and this team is going to make the most of it as salary cap issues settle in this coming summer. With a young, refreshed line-up, expect the Hawks to stay relatively healthy and atop the Western conference throughout the rest of the season.

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COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: Fred Modin (knee) skated recently, but suffered a setback and shut it back down. There is no timetable for his return and he is out indefinitely.

Minor Injuries: Dorsett (concussion, day-to-day), Andrew Muray (shoulder, day-to-day)

Earlier injuries: Huselius (4 games, upper body), Torres (2 games, face), Pahlsson (3 games, elbow), Commodore, (12 games, groin, charley horse, and fatigue), Russell (2 games, illness), Boll (5 games, head), Hedja (8 games, knee).

Affect: The Jackets have been lucky not to have any major injuries this season, however, they have had a lot of significant shorter term injuries to several key defensemen. Hedja, Commodore, and Russell have all missed time, and the Jackets have struggled, allowing 90 goals in 25 games. Thankfully, a strong powerplay and only a couple of significant injuries to their forwards have allowed them to stay afloat in the West, currently in 10th place behind the Red Wings. A healthy roster and a few trade acquisitions down the stretch should keep them competitive and in the hunt for that elusive playoff spot come the spring.

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ST. LOUIS BLUES

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: Eric Brewer (back, day-to-day) doesn’t have much fantasy value, but is an important part of the Blues roster on defense. D.J. King (Fractured/dislocated hand) is out until late December.

Minor Injuries: NONE.

Earlier injuries: McDonald (2 games, head), Oshie (4 games, appendectomy), Colaiacovo (4 games, upper body/flu), Jackman (11 games, ankle), Steen (14 games, broken wrist)

Affect: While the Blues are now mostly healthy, they had a few significant injuries earlier in the season that allowed them to drop to 12th in the Western standings. They are a low scoring team that also doesn’t allow many goals, and a healthy line-up should help them going into December. They will also remain competitive going into the home stretch, but with a few older players in the line-up, be careful in selecting players from this team, as they can be streaky.

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NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: NONE

Minor Injuries: Colin Wilson (groin, day-to-day)

Earlier injuries: Belak (3 games, groin), Dumont (7 games, upper body/head), Weber (2 games, foot), Arnott (7 games, arm), Erat (3 games, upper body), Hamhuis (4 games, upper body), Tootoo (13 games, groin).

Affect: You may decide to look at the standings today. You may be surprised to see the Predators in 6th place in the West, ahead of teams such as the Red Wings, the Canucks, even Columbus and St. Louis. They’re 8-2 in their last ten, and although having only scored 62 goals in 25 games, they’ve only given up 64. How are they good enough to be the sixth best statistical team in the west, especially after a slow start? Easy. Look at their roster now, and their roster from a month ago. They were missing a lot of players for significant time, including key forwards such as Dumont and Arnott. Now that they’re healthy, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re playing better. Especially with great goaltending in Pekka Rinne and great coaching. Keep an eye out on this team.

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DETROIT RED WINGS

Major Injuries Johan Franzen, knee surgery, February

To say that the Mule is an important part of Detroit’s line-up is a great understatement. But when he went down with a knee injury in early October, Mike Babcock and the Wings probably knew better than anyone else how much they’d miss them, and they certainly do, especially the goals he scores. He will begin skating in late December, and he had surgery on October 16th.

Niklas Kronwall, sprained MCL 1-2 months.

You would hope Georges Laraque learned his lesson. Following a knee-on-knee collision last week, Kronwall has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain between grade 2 and grade 3. So while the minimum is a month out of action, it could very well be longer than that. Kronwall, an underrated player, was 5th in team scoring (1st amongst defensemen… yes, including Lidstrom) for the struggling Wings and was on pace for a career year. With Rafalski and Lidstrom aging rapidly, this will hurt the Red Wings more than it shows.

Key Injuries: Andreas Lilja pas been suffering from post-consussion syndrome since last February. There is still no timetable for his return, but he has been skating and practicing for a month and improving, so keep an eye out for his return. Jason Williams (broken fibula) and Valtteri Filppula (broken wrist) will most likely miss the rest of 2009.

Minor Injuries: NONE.

Earlier injuries: Brad May (2 games, eye), Datsyuk (2 games, upper body), Ericsson (2 games, flu), Helm (4 games, arm), Maltby (5 games, flu/thigh).

Affect: These are your Detroit Red Wings. Stanley Cup champs from 2 years ago, runners up last year. What the Hell happened? How can they be sitting in 9th place in the West? Have they EVER been on the outside looking in, at ANY point in the last decade? It’s almost uncalled for. Truth is, the Wings are simply missing way too many goals. They’re even at the moment, with 72 goals for and 72 goals against, but with Hossa gone to the Blackhawks and Samuelsson to the Canucks, not to mention Mule, Lilja, Vilppula, and Williams on the shelf, the depth of even the best organization is put to the test. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are going to cary as much of the load as they can, and Holmstrom, Cleary, Ericsson and Bertuzzi will step up as much as they’re expected to, but the truth is, this isn’t the same team from the past two years. There is no excuse for Rafalski and Lidstrom to be under performing outside of age, but this team is hurting offensively and simply getting older. If I were a betting man, I’d say that when it was all said and done, they’d be comfortably sitting in a playoff position in the spring. But gone are the days of the Red Wings’ powerhouse teams. Gome are even the days of the red wings having home-ice advantage.

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Thanks for making these worth writing. I’ll be back tomorrow with the Southeast division, and I'm glad I waited, after last night's silliness between Ovechkin and the Ballard incident.

See you all tomorrow,

Prax

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