Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall may not be ready to start the regular season as his knee is not recovering as quickly as originally anticipated, reports Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. Unfortunately for both him and the team, this won’t be an issue that will completely go away, even when he does return to the lineup as the damage is permanent. As a result, he’ll be dealing with pain management throughout the season:
“We have somewhat of a plan in place. But in saying that, you feel how you feel every day. If something doesn’t feel right, then you have to take a step back. But so far, we’ve been able to move along.”
If Kronwall isn’t ready to start the season, he could potentially be placed on injured reserve which could buy the team a bit more time to sort out the rest of their blueline. Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, and Nick Jensen are all waiver eligible and if all of Detroit’s defensemen are healthy, at least one of them will be heading for the waiver wire.
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Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg is also recovering a bit slower than expected from his knee issue but St. James adds that he is more optimistic about being ready to start the season. Zetterberg is also expected to spend more time on the wing this year which should be a little less stressful in terms of skating.
Other injury notes:
- Although Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom was pulled out of the lineup by a concussion spotter last week, he didn’t actually suffer one and passed all of the baseline tests, notes the Edmonton Sun’s Robert Tychkowski. The 23 year old missed 52 games last season due to injuries and will be counted on to play a key role for the Oilers this season.
- Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel admitted that his hand is not yet 100 percent but he is expected to make his preseason debut tonight, writes Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The right winger had surgery in the summer to correct a lingering issue in his hand and is at the point in his recovery that playing is the next step in the rehab process. Assuming no issues come up, he should be ready to start the season to keep his consecutive games streak intact.
- Boston defenseman Kevan Miller left Tuesday’s preseason game against Montreal with a lower body injury after getting hit with puck and CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty notes that Miller was also absent from practice today. However, it appears the Bruins are exercising caution more than anything at this point and head coach Claude Julien doesn’t expect it to be more than a day-to-day thing.