The holiday roster freeze ensured that trades would not dominate the week’s headlines. Instead, injuries to key players would again be the theme. Here are five key stories from the week ending on Christmas Eve.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to manage without starting goaltender Ben Bishop for the next 3 – 4 weeks. Bishop injured his right leg in Tampa’s 4 – 1 win over Detroit and is set to miss the next nine games as a result. The 30-year-old netminder is slated to become a free agent next summer and is in the midst of a mediocre platform campaign with a GAA of 2.79 and a Save % of 0.907.
Bishop’s counterpart Tuesday night, Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, was also injured and is expected to miss anywhere from 4 – 6 weeks with a MCL sprain. Howard has adapted quite well to a reserve role with the Wings and has posted a GAA of 1.96 and a Save % of 0.934 through 17 appearances this season. His absence leaves the Red Wings with the inexperienced Jared Coreau as Petr Mrazek’s backup between the pipes.
Six years after being selected in the second-round by the Edmonton Oilers, Tyler Pitlick appeared to finally find his footing as NHL regular. The 6-foot, 202-pound forward had chipped in eight goals and 11 points in 31 games while playing mostly fourth-line minutes for the Oilers. Unfortunately, what was shaping up as a breakout season for Pitlick is now over, with the 25-year-old winger set to miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL last Monday.
David Legwand will forever be remembered as the answer to a trivia question: Who was the first ever draft pick of the Nashville Predators franchise? Legwand was the second overall selection in the 1998 draft and after spending the first 14+ seasons with the Predators, the pivot was traded to Detroit at the 2014 trade deadline. He would wrap up his 17-year career spending a season each with Ottawa and Buffalo. He retires after nearly 1,200 regular season and postseason games.
Shane Doan became just the 17th NHL player to reach the 1,500 game mark when he suited up Friday night in the Arizona Coyotes 4 – 1 loss to Toronto Friday night. Doan, who has spent his entire 21-year career as a member of the Coyotes franchise, also tallied his 400th NHL goal in the contest.