Ask any hockey fan what the best time of year is and they will undoubtedly answer before you can finish asking the question; the Stanley Cup playoffs. The second season and the quest for the holy grail begins tonight. With the start of the playoffs brings forth the lack of disclosure surrounding injuries, if it’s revealed at all. With that, let’s get caught up on the latest injuries from around the league that will have an impact on the playoffs.
Starting in the self proclaimed “center of the hockey universe” where the Toronto Maple Leafs limped into the playoffs. Their inconsistent play down the stretch has many worried about their chances in round one but some reassuring news out of Maple Leafs country is that center Tyler Bozak will be ready to go for the Leafs opener in Boston on Wednesday.
Bozak is said to be recovering from a suspected shoulder injury and according to a report on TSN.ca, Leafs’ GM Dave Nonis told the media on Monday that he expects Bozak to be ready to go for game one. TSN noted that Bozak left the Leafs practice on Monday after just ten minutes of skating with the club.
News out of Minnesota is that Wild forward Jason Pominville will return to the lineup when they open their series in Chicago tonight according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Pominville has been out since taking a vicious elbow from Kings’ captain Dustin Brown last Tuesday. While head coach Mike Yeo hasn’t confirmed Pominville’s availability, teammate Kyle Brodziak may have let the cat out of the bag, courtesy of ESPN.com.
“A guy like Pommer, he can play all over the ice, D-zone, O-zone,” Brodziak said. “He’s pretty much the complete package. We’re very happy to have him back in the lineup.”
The former Sabres forward did skate on his regular line during the Wild practice on Monday and traveled with the team to Chicago.
The other series that kicks off tonight will feature the defending champion Los Angeles Kings travelling to St. Louis to take on the Blues. This is a St. Louis team that has battled the injury bug all year and appear to be healing up at the perfect time.
Forward T.J. Oshie is said to be ready to return to the lineup after suffering an ankle injury that at first thought was serious enough to end his season. The 26-year old told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “he’s ready to go” although head coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn’t confirm that statement.