Fantasy Hockey: Detailed Injury Report - Southeast Division

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Today, we take a look at the injuries that have plagued the teams in the Southeast Division.

I apologize for the delay in getting this up, but naturally, there was a lot to cover around the league this week, so the 4th instalment of our look at injuries around the league was pushed back.

Last Tuesday, we looked at the Central Division, where Detroit is the team that’s hurting the most from its injuries.

The day before, we visited with the Northeast Division, where the Montreal Canadiens were reduced to a glorified AHL team before some of their injured players returned this week, leading up to Friday’s centennial game.

Sunday night was the first injury report, where we detailed the injuries around the Northwest Division. In their neck of the woods, injuries were fairly spread out amongst each team, with every team suffering at least a couple major injuries.

With that being said, we move on the Southeast Division, where three Russian Superstars have missed substantial time, and another team with little offensive depth as it is has missed two major top six forwards for over a month. Will the correlations between performance and amount of injuries continue? Only way to find out is to continue reading!

Here is the Southeast division, preceded by notes concerning the scale used:

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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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CAROLINA HURRICANES

Major Injuries Joe Corvo, leg laceration, mid-February.
Anyone will tell you that the Canes season is basically a write-off this year, after a ridiculously bad start. Sitting in last place in the league, with a measly 17 points (6 less than the Leafs, 8 less than the Ducks), any chance of a comeback is all but dead. What kills their chances is a high number of injuries that have plagued the Canes since the start of the season. And while Joe Corvo may not be that big of a loss on other teams, he is one of the Canes top defensemen, their highest scoring defensemen and one of the keys to their powerplay. He was on the receiving end of an accidental skate injury last Monday, which will keep him out for at least 10 weeks. Not good news for the Canes and their powerplay.

Cam Ward, leg laceration, December

I struggled with Ward’s position on the injury list. Most sources are reporting that Ward is close to being game ready after he suffered the same injury as Joe Corvo a month ago (less severe, of course), but any game the Canes have to go with Manny Legace and Michael Leighton as their goaltending tandem is a game they miss Cam Ward. While Ward’s stats speak for themselves, and as we said, the season is a write-off anyway, Legace and Leighton are far from being good. The Hurricanes are missing Ward, and are anxious to get him back in the line-up with a tough schedule ahead.

Key Injuries: NONE

Minor Injuries: Jussi Jokinen (lower body, day-to-day), Michael Ryan (concussion, out indefinitely), Casey Borer (broken neck, out indefinitely)

Earlier injuries: Whitney (2 games, upper body), Staal (8 games, upper body), Gleason (5 games, upper body), Cole (10 games, leg), Pitkanen (9 games, various), LaRose (3 games, lower body), Walker (9 games, upper body).

Affect: As we’ve mentioned several times so far, the Canes simply bombed the early part of the season. Injuries cannot be blamed for their early slide, after going to the Eastern Conference final last year. However, you have to feel some sympathy for them, considering they were without three of their top defensemen, two of their top forwards and their star goalie for considerable amounts of time. Could they at least have remained competitive if they had a healthy roster? It’s certainly a possibility. There is a positive side to all these injuries though, as it’s allowed for a few younger players to break out, specifically Brandon Sutter, who’s proving to be a good draft pick.

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TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: Paul Ranger (personal reasons, indefinitely). Not an injury, but definitely a hit to the Lightning’s blue line. No word on why Ranger requested the leave of absence, as the team has remained totally secretive about the situation.

Minor Injuries: Paul Szczechura (upper body, day-to-day)

Earlier injuries: Ohlund (7 games, lower body), Foster (5 games, lower body), Hale (3 games, flu).

Affect: As we’ve seen with several teams so far, it’s no coincidence that the Lightning are sitting in 8th place in the East tonight, and that they haven’t had many major injuries since the start of the season. The only position where they may have felt the crunch is on defense, where they’ve lost Hale, Ohlund, Foster and Ranger for considerable periods of time, but not at the same time, and have managed to stay the course thanks to strong goaltending. The defining stat – the Bolts have played 28 games. Out of 25 skaters that have suited up for the Lightning, 11 have played every game, with 2 more only missing one game. The Lightning have been very lucky this season, and you can be almost certain that they wouldn’t be in 8th place in the east today if they had suffered a few more major injuries.

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FLORIDA PANTHERS

Major Injuries David Booth, concussion, out indefinitely.

The one thing the Florida Panthers could use when they’re healthy is a deeper pool or forwards. So when they lose a great young winger who has scored more than 30 goals in the past, it’s bound to hurt them. Booth was a bright spot on a bleak looking Panthers team, and a promising young career may have been suffered a major setback after Booth was on the receiving end of a devastating dirty hit from Mike Richards towards the end of October. And according to George Richards of the Miami Herarld, Booth isn’t even working out. We’ve seen devastating concussion injuries that have ended careers in the past, and we can only hope that David Booth won’t be the next player who’s career will end prematurely.

Key Injuries: Cory Stillman (knee, late December). If the loss of Booth wasn’t enough, the Panthers have been without another of their top forwards, as Cory Stillman has been ailing with a strained ligament in his knee for two weeks. He should be back around Christmas

Minor Injuries: McArdle (shoulder, week-to-week), Tarnasky (orbital bone, out indefinitely)

Earlier injuries: Dvorak (6 games, torn knee ligament), Moore (5 games, nasal surgery), Kreps (2 games, foot), Campbell (8 games, hip flexor/upper body), Vokoun (2 games, lol Ballard beheading attempting).

Affect: The Panthers are no strangers to the cellar of the Eastern Conference. And while losing Stillman for a lot of games, and Booth for potentially the rest of the season, their presence wouldn’t have changed much in the grand scheme of things. They have still managed to remain competitive though, sitting 3 points out of a playoff spot (despite being in 13th place), and if they can get healthy, they’ll at least be in the mix going into the home stretch of the season.

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ATLANTA THRASHERS

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: Kari Lehtonen (back surgery, late December). Almost put this one in minor injuries, considering how good Pavelec and Hedberg have been as a tandem for the Thrashers. Lehtonen should provide for an interesting situation when he returns later this month.

Minor Injuries: Valabik (ankle surgery, set to return any game now)

Earlier injuries: Kovalchuk (6 games, broken foot), Little (2 games, groin), Hainsey (2 games, undisclosed).

Affect: Once again, the correlation between injuries and performance continue. The Thrashers have 10 players who have played all 26 games, 2 more who have played 25, and 4 more who have played 24. The only major injury they’ve had is the six games that Kovalchuk missed with a broken foot, but they even played well during his absence. And with the emergence of Pavelec as a number one goaltender, and Hedberg’s more than capable back-up work, Kari Lehtonen is almost a forgotten name in Atlanta. People were very scared when Kovalchuk went down, but with quality forwards such as Antropov, Peverley, Afinogenov, Kozlov and others amongst the ranks, the Thrashers have managed to stay within a playoff position almost all season. They currently sit in 6th place, and unless there is a major breakdown, expect them to make the playoffs.

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WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Major Injuries NONE

Key Injuries: Alexander Ovechkin was suspended on December 1st for two games, but there might be also be an injury issue after the knee-on-knee collision with Tim Gleason last week. Either way, any game Ovechkin misses is a key injury for the caps.

Minor Injuries: Knuble (broken pinky, returning next week), Laing (broken Jaw, late December), Boyd Gordon (back, IR), Bradley (upper body, day-to-day).

Earlier injuries: Ovechking (6 games, shoulder), Semin (9 games, wrist/flu), Fleischmann (10 games, blood clot in leg), Fehr (9 games, shoulder/rib), Poti (6 games, upper body), Schultz (3 games, lower body), Jurcina (6 games, lower body), Morrisonn (9 games, concussion), Erskine (8 games, hand), Theodore (3 games, various)

Affect: As usual, the Washington Capitals are amongst the class of the East, currently sitting atop the standings, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s almost surprising, considering the fact that the Caps have had some major injuries, that they’ve managed to stay so competitive. It’s obviously a testament to their depth. While players such as Ovechkin, Semin, and Fleischmann, players who obviously rank amongst the Caps top scorers, have missed considerable amounts of games, Backstrom, Green, Brooks Laich and others have manned the offensive fort in their absence.

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The Southeast teams have been on the receiving end of some bad injury news. While The Thrashers and Capitals have managed to stay on their respective games while their Russian superstars have fallen to injury, the Panthers and Hurricanes have suffered as a result to their own injury woes. Although, most who follow those respective teams will tell you that healthy teams may not have impacted their records very much. Tampa Bay is the one team that has stayed relatively healthy, and once again, the injury-to-performance correlation continued to hold water.

Next up, the Pacific division, before we cover the Atlantic division to finish things off!

Prax
www.thecheckingline.com
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