Fantasy Hockey: Detailed Injury Report - Northwest Division

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We've all heard of the insane amount of injuries in the league so far this season. From Ovechkin, to Kovalchuk, and many others, a lot of very high profile players have missed time with their respective teams due to injuries, to a degree that has driven fantasy hockey players and NHL fans to near insanity. Many teams have lost important players for significant amounts of time, to the point where it has affected team depth and game results.

Anyone will tell you that injuries are no excuse, but there is a limit, even to that argument, when teams have trouble icing complete teams this early in the season, and require emergency call-ups, moving defensemen to forward positions, and icing teams consisting mostly of American Hockey League players.

But as we said, it isn't only fans of specific teams that are pulling their hair out, but fantasy hockey players who have more injured players than IR positions on their teams.

That being said, I will be compiling as complete a list of injuries teams have had this season as I can. We will start today with the Northwest division, and work our way forward with a new division just about every day in the coming week.

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NOTES

The scale I'm going to use is pretty simple. Three categories detailing the degree and importance of an injury.

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.

Key Injuries include significant players who are due to be out for at least a week.

Minor Injuries: Less significant players, day-to-day injuries, that sort of stuff.

Earlier injuries are players who have already returned from injuries earlier in the season, and Affect is a short analysis on how injuries have affected this team.

Data was compiled using lists from ESPN, Yahoo, TSN, Rotoworld, and other major news and fantasy sources.

So without further adieu, here we go!

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COLORADO AVALANCHE

Major Injuries: David Jones , out for season, torn left ACL.

At a glance, one would say "David who?". But Jones was one of many young players on the Avs that was breaking out this season. He was second in team scoring with 10 goals in 23 games (16 points total), and only Stastny, Hedjuk, and Wolski were ahead of him in ice time per game amongst forwards on the team. He's a big part of this surprising young Avs team that will be missed as the season gets tougher, and will need to be replaced before the deadline through a trade.

Key Injuries: Two key injuries to the Avs defense, as both Kyle Cuminsky (foot) and Ruslan Salei (back) are on the Avs' IR. Cuminsky was just placed on IR and Salei, who's missed most of the season, should be returning soon, despite suffering a recent setback , but both are important parts of the Avs defense.

Minor Injuries: Milan Hedjuk (knee) did not play Saturday night but will accompany the Avs on their upcoming road trip

Earlier injuries: Adam Foote (5 games, Jaw), John-Michael Liles (12 games, shoulder), TJ Galiardi (9 games, ankle), Cody Mcleod (6 games, eye), Darcy Tucker (8 games, concussion), Tom Preissing (16 games, knee injury, 1 game, fatigue, recently placed on waivers)

Affect: As you can see, the Avs have been heavily affected by injuries. While there are a lot of young players on this team, there are also a lot of veterans who have been affected by Colorado's new system. The Avs started off strong and lead the Northwest for a long period of time, but in their last ten, they're 2-5-3 and they've fallen to 5th place in the West. They've been most impacted on defense, where they've lost most of their top defensemen for significant amounts of time, and have fallen to the depths of the west in goals against with 83.

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VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Major Injuries: Pavol Demitra, offseason shoulder surgery, no timetable for return.

Demitra was supposed to be a major part of Vancouver's offense this year. With 20 goals and 53 points in 69 games last year, Demitra would have certainly improved on those numbers this year... had he not required surgery in the off-season. While the Canucks are starting to get healthy, Demitra's absense is still an important one for the Canucks, who currently find themselves outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.

Key Injuries: Michael Grabner has been out the entire month of November and is expected to miss a few more weeks with a broken ankle. The rookie winger was off to a good start with 5 points in 9 games since being called up from the moose.

Minor Injuries: Rick Rypien (upper body, day-to-day), Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder, IR)

Earlier Injuries Sammi Salo (7 games, sprained MCL), Jannik Hansen (19 games, broken hand), Ryan Johnson (4 games, concussion), Mathieu Schneider (10 games, shoulder surgery), Kyle Wellwood (4 games, foot), Daniel Sedin (18 games, broken foot), Roberto Luongo (6 games, ribs)

Affect: The Canucks have been just as affected by injuries as most other teams. They've certainly felt the injury bug in every position. The prolonged absences of Daniel Sedin and Pavol Demitra have hurt the team offensively, althoug Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson have certainly worked hard to make up the difference. Schneider and Salo's absences hurt the team defensively, but Ehrhoff, Edler, Bieksa and Mitchell certainly made up for them. And finally, Luongo's fractured ribs gave the team a scare, but Cory Schneider and Andre Raycroft held the team together while he was good. With a lot of injuries players already back, this team should start rolling and get back into a playoff position sooner rather than later.

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CALGARY FLAMES

Major Injuries: NONE

Key Injuries: Rene Bourque has missed 5 games with an undisclosed injury, but will likely play this week. Cory Sarich is also day-to-day and likely to play soon.

Minor Injuries: NONE

Earlier Injuries David Moss (4 games, upper body), Brian McGrattan (5 games, shoulder).

Affect: By the looks of it, the Calgary Flames aren't too keen on disclosing injuries. Lucky for them, they haven't had many of them this season, and it shows in the standing. It's no coincidence, and it's definitely a positive correlation between the two variables. The only question is whether the injury bug will leave them alone, or whether it's going to catch up with them as well.

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EDMONTON OILERS

Major Injuries: Ales Hemsky, torn labrun in left shoulder, out for season.

Arguably the Oilers best player was dealt a severe blow this week when he was informed that he would miss the entire season. He can't even have surgery yet due to inflammation around the injured area. This is a big blow to the Oilers, who lose a point per game player and a major leader, but also to the Czech Republic Olympic team, who lose a first liner. The Oilers will need to replace him, and fantasy players will need to drop him.

Key Injuries: Nikolai Khabibulin (back, day-to-day) is questionable for this week's games, and while he is listed as day-to-day, back injuries are always dangerous. His status could quickly be upgrated to "Major injury" if it's not as "day-to-day" as the oilers are making it sound. Mike Comrie (mono) is also out indefinitely with a bad flu. His numbers suffered as a result in the weeks leading up to his removal from the line-up. Fernando Pisani (ulcer) is also out indefinitely, as is Denis Grebeshkov (torn MCL), expected to miss another few weeks.

Minor Injuries: Taylor Chorney (ankle, IR), Robert Nilsson (IR, concussion), Ryan Stone (IR, knee surgery), Marc Poulio (IR, sports hernia)

Earlier Injuries: Brule (4 games, flu), Horcoff (4 games, shoulder), Staios (4 games, concussion), Souray (16 games, concussion), Jacques (7 games, back)

Affect: You gotta feel for the Oilers. First, they lose their top defenseman early in the season to a concussion. Then, they lose their best leader in Staios, also to a concussion. If that wasn't enough, young JF Jacques, who was breaking out at forward, misses 7 games. He's followed by Comrie, Grebeshkov, and most recently, starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who have all missed significant time. If that wasn't enough, Hemsky is out for the season. While it's certain that the Oilers will try to pull off a move to help their injury-riddled team, you have to look at this group and wonder if there's even a point, if they can even make the playoffs.

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MINNESOTA WILD

Major Injuries: Brent Burns, out indefinitely with concussion.

The status of all-star defenseman Brent Burns is unclear, however he was played on the injury reserve on Friday with concussion symptoms and you have to think that any absense from Burns will hurt the team. Burns started the year with Olympic aspirations for team Canada, but you have to think that those aspirations are but a pipe dream at this point with his injury and the dismal year Minnesota has had.

Pierre Marc Bouchard, out indefintely, concussion.

Can you believe how many players from the Wild are out with concussions? They're comparing Bouchard's injury to Patrice Bergeron's concussion from 2007, that caused him to miss an entire season and struggle for another season. They're hoping Bouchard's injury isn't as bad, but from the look of things, it doesn't sound too great, and it's pretty scary for the young player.

Key Injuries: Marek Zidlicky (lower body, day-to-day) is arguably Minnesota's most important defenseman outside Burns, but his uncertain injury status bumps him down to key injury. Same deal for Martin Havlat (hamstring, day-to-day), although it looks like he's keeping Marian Gaborik's seat on Minnesota's injured reserve nice and warm. Petr Sykora (concussion/head) is out indefinitely after complications, but could resume working out this week)

Minor Injuries: Anti Miettinen (flu, day-to-day)

Earlier Injuries Clutterbuck (5 games, sprained ankle), Kobasew (5 games, upper body), Johnsson (7 games, upper body), Boogaard (2 games, illness)

Affect: Anyone will tell you that the Minnesota Wild's struggles are not due to injuries. In fact, they've played BETTER since some of their key players went on IR, going 5-2-3 in their last ten after bombing the first month + of the season. However, if the injuries to Bouchard, Burns, Zidlicky, Havlat and Sykora are as significant as they sound or worse, things could actually get worse for the Wild, who are bringing up the rear in 15th place in the western conference.

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Well, that took longer than expected! Nevertheless, I will be back in the coming days, assuming people find this useful and interesting, with the Northeast Conference injury round-up, and judging by the injuries to the Montreal Canadiens, it's going to take me just as long, in all likelihood.

Hope this injury is useful to poolers and team fans, so enjoy it and use it wisely.

Back tomorrow,

Prax
www.thecheckingline.com
www.twitter.com/thecheckingline

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