New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, out since February 6 with a sprained MCL, was activated from injured reserve Friday. Brodeur admitted that he might need some practice time before getting back into game shape, so don’t expect him to resume his regular role right away. Johan Hedberg will start for the Devils on Friday, but there is a chance Brodeur could be back between the pipes Saturday night.
Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin dislocated his kneecap last Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the season. Poulin suffered a similar injury at the junior level, so hopefully this does not develop into a long-term concern. Patellar dislocations are not common in male athletes, but goaltenders are at greater risk because constantly bending the knee in all directions puts greater pressure on the ligaments. Physical therapy will mobilize the lateral structures to decrease the lateral tension and improve muscular balance. Poulin had an impressive start to his NHL career; so hopefully he can get back to full strength and potentially compete for the Islanders’ starting goalie spot next season.
Calgary’s Alex Tanguay missed a week with a strained neck, but he returned to the ice Monday and scored a goal in Colorado’s 9-1 victory. Tanguay played in Wednesday’s game as well, so there should not be much concern about his neck stiffening up going forward. Make sure Tanguay and his 43 points are back in your lineup.
Colorado’s Kyle Cumiskey of Colorado was diagnosed with whiplash, essentially a cervical or neck strain/sprain, after leaving last Wednesday’s game. In cases like this, the head is jerked quickly forward and backward, so both the structures in the front and the back of the neck can be damaged. Cumiskey’s latest injury is even more of a concern considering he already missed 34 games this season with a concussion. Given the increased attention paid to head injuries, don’t expect Cumiskey to be rushed back.
Fellow Avalanche TJ Galiardi will miss 6-to-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his forearm, so his chances of helping your fantasy team any more this season are minimal. Rehab for most forearm injuries involves the elbow, wrist and hand since any immobilization will affect elbow/wrist motion. The muscles that affect the hand and wrist extend into the forearm, so grip strength will be affected as well. I would not expect Galiardi to play at all again this season, even if Colorado sneaks into the playoffs.
Detroit’s Mike Modano of Detroit seems to be making even further progress with his rehab from wrist surgery. He has been allowed to absorb more contact in practice of late and is now planning on returning to the ice February 26 – three months from the day he suffered the injury. If Modano returns as planned, he will have plenty of time to work on his shooting and passing in advance of the playoffs.
Washington’s Tom Poti has not played since January 12 due to a groin injury, an injury that has caused him problems since October. This is an example of how groin injuries can be so difficult to completely overcome. The injury may feel minor to the player, but returning early can limit the amount of recovery time and leave the muscle vulnerable to re-injury. No player wants to be off the ice, but sometimes patience can prevent a long-term layoff. Expect the Capitals to continue being cautious with Poti in an effort to get him back to full strength by the playoffs.
Tampa Bay teammates Ryan Malone and Mike Lundin were both placed on injured reserve this week with abdominal injuries. Recovery time from this injury varies, because even if the muscle is not torn, muscle strains can be easily aggravated if pushed too hard, too early. Thus, predicting how long it will take for the muscle to heal is difficult. Rest is very important early on so the muscle has sufficient time to heal. Then, the abdominal muscle will need to be stretched and strengthened so that the trunk is both strong and flexible. Hopefully these players are able to return in about 3-to-4 weeks.
Florida’s Byron Bitz of Florida knows about the difficulty of rehabilitating an abdominal injury. He underwent sports hernia repair in October, and thanks to a few setbacks, is still nowhere near returning. From the look of things, I don’t believe he will be back this season. With just a few weeks left, and Florida needing a big run to make the playoffs, don’t be surprised if Bitz turns his focus to next season.
Columbus’ Ethan Moreau over a month with cracked ribs, but he was activated from injured reserve Wednesday. He will have to wear protective gear on his ribs for a while, but the good news he is feeling good enough to play again. Moreau will resume his role as a reserve wing for the Blue Jackets.