Saturday was filled with shootout thrillers and statistic killers, those health-plagued gentlemen who were injured or placed on injured reserve, receiving the Red Mark of Death. So let's get pumped for a column that may or may not ruin your weekend. You're welcome.
Damien Brunner (Devils): The streaky sophomore will miss at least a month with a knee injury, after suffering a knee-on-knee hit from Mark Fistric. He was just starting to pick up the pace again, but at least he is not expected to need surgery.
Curtis Glencross (Flames): In his fifth game back after missing 15 with a knee injury, Curtis Glencross felt homesick and returned to the injured reserve list with another lower-body injury. He wasted no time, needing only his first shift to do so. After hitting Olli Maatta into the boards, he fell to the ice and twisted his knee, which he was then unable to put pressure on; he was seen using crutches after the game. It is unclear what specific injury he sustained, but it does not look good. Glencross has six goals and six assists. He will be replaced on the roster by Derek Smith, who has already played 11 games with the Flames this season.
Marian Gaborik (Blue Jackets): Both Santa Claus and the Fantasy Gods are not happy with Marian Gaborik, who broke his collarbone the night he returned after a 17-game absence due to a sprained left knee. He is out for the foreseeable future. Again. After Gaborik put a shot on goal at 10:43 into the first period, he was caught between Braydon Coburn and Zac Rinaldo and slow to get up. Ray Emery saved the shot and fed the puck into the corner, and then Nick Foligno passed to Ryan Johansen, who scored. As the worst consolation prize ever, Gaborik did get an assist on the play. He is expected to miss 6-12 weeks, which is of course an accurate assessment because I am an internet physician according to webMD.
Seth Jones (Predators): After eating an Andrei Markov slapshot with his face, Seth Jones left in the first period and did not return. Even wearing a visor, the impressive rookie needed stitches; consider him day-to-day for now. Since "f-ed up face" is not an ailment category, the Predators have deemed this an "upper-body injury." UPDATE, 2:45 p.m: Seth Jones practiced Sunday and appears to be fine. Whew.
Kris Letang (Penguins): Although no one knew what mystery ailment sidelined Kris Letang for the past week, after he was spotted sporting a cast above his wrist, we commissioned a full-scale investigation and deduced that it was probably an arm injury. Turns out, Letang had surgery to clean out an elbow infection; the cast prevents the incision from opening and prohibits movement to help with healing. We are like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys here at FHS.
Kris Russell (Flames): After logging over 20 minutes of ice time in his 400th career game, the pleasantly productive defenseman left midway through the third period and did not return. It was a freak injury, as Sean Monahan pushed Pittsburgh's Zach Sill, who proceeded to fall into Russell's leg. The severity of the injury is unknown, but he will be evaluated further today. He has four goals, 12 assists, +1 rating, six penalty minutes, 102 blocked shots, 65 shots on goal, and 23 hits this season.
Stephen Weiss (Red Wings): In the least shocking news of the day, Stephen Weiss will have surgery this week to repair his groin, a source of consistent displeasure for both women and fantasy owners alike. He is expected to return sometime in late February after the Olympics. Do not throw him a party if/when he returns. The woeful center has just four points this season, the first of a regrettable five-year $24.5 million contract with Detroit.
Steve Downie (Flyers): Suffering an ambiguous upper-body injury, Steve Downie is expected to miss the next 7-10 days. GM Paul Holmgren killed the rumors that he suffered another concussion and said that this ailment had bothered Downie for the past game or two. He is not expected to be out for long.
Josh Gorges (Canadiens): Josh Gorges 167-game streak sadly ended after the defenseman missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. He obtained the injury in Thursday's game while blocking a shot. Now he will hopefully concentrate on a point streak or something that fantasy owners care about
Erik Gustafsson (Flyers): After colliding in the third period with Corey Tropp, Gustafsson left the game and did not return.
Alexander Steen (Blues): In the midst of a remarkable season with 24 goals and 14 assists, Steen will miss Monday's game with an upper-body injury.
PLEASE DON'T CRY, HOPE IS HERE:
David Backes (Blues): After missing two games due to a concussion, the awesome Captain Backes returned to action on Saturday night with over 18 minutes on the ice, six penalty minutes, two shots on goal, and a hit. He was expected to miss at least another game or two, so this was an unexpected surprise. He has been absurd this season with 16 goals, 14 assists, and a +12 rating.
Danny DeKeyser (Red Wings): Sitting out for 15 games with a shoulder separation, DeKeyser returned to action on Saturday night, scoring an assist with two shots on goal and a hit. The defenseman has two goals and eights assists on the season.
Dougie Hamilton (Bruins): The sophomore defenseman skated on Saturday for the first time since getting injured two weeks ago. He was originally projected to miss 2-4 weeks and still looks to be track.
Jimmy Howard (Red Wings): Although expected to be out longer, Jimmy Howard is feeling much better and thinks he will return by the 2014 Winter Classic, scheduled for January 1st. Jonas Gustavsson has been a great replacement, but Howard's return is welcome news for the struggling Red Wings.
Vincent Lecavalier (Flyers): In unexpected good news, Vincent Lecavalier, who was not supposed to return until January, surprised fantasy owners by playing on Saturday afternoon. It was his first game since November 30th after suffering a non-displaced fracture and spasms in his back. He won seven faceoffs, losing only one, and had a helper on the day. In 23 games played, Lecavalier has scored 9 goals and six assists, so get him active.