When William Carrier was first ruled out of the final game of the second round for the Golden Knights, a Game Six win over the San Jose Sharks, head coach Gerard Gallant simply said that he was “day-to-day” and did not disclose the nature of the injury. Carrier had left Game Five with just four minutes of ice time to show for his participation, but there was no specific incident in the game to cite for his exit. Instead, it seemed that perhaps this was just a minor nagging injury. Carrier then traveled with Vegas to Winnipeg for the start of the Western Conference Finals only to be ruled out of Game One. Now, beat writer Steve Carp reports that Carrier did not skate today at Knights practice and feels that the energy forward is unlikely to suit up in the series at all. If the Jets’ Game One domination continues, Carrier’s season may already be over.
Although no details have emerged about Carrier’s condition this time around, the physical winger has dealt with upper-body issues all year long. Carrier spent two separate stints on the injured reserve this season and was sidelined for 43 regular season games total. Yet, prior to each stint his injuries were downplayed and never considered serious, much like his latest problem. It could be that this is one injury that has been nagging Carrier all year or it could be bad luck and Carrier has suffered multiple injuries, but is too tough of a player for Gallant and company to realized just how serious his condition is initially.
When healthy this year, Carrier has been a physical force on the Knights’ fourth line. While his offense has been meager at best – three points in 37 regular games and scoreless so far in nine playoff games – look no further than Vegas’ first round series against the Los Angeles Kings to see Carrier’s true impact. The young forward racked up 25 hits in a four-game sweep during which time he saw just over 36 minutes of total ice time. That is checking efficiency at it’s finest, as Carrier was noticeably bothersome against the frustrated Kings, especially early in the series. In a match-up against the Jets where the Knights are clearly outmatched defensively, Carrier is much more of a loss than it may seem on paper. His hard-nosed style will be missed if Carp is right and he really cannot return during the Western Conference Final.