Just this Friday, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced injury updates on a number of players, including forward Jakub Voracek, who has been battling lingering effects of a concussion suffered early this season. With that announcement, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen clarified that Voracek did not necessarily have a timetable and that the team was going to give him time to see if his symptoms subsided before a return to the ice was considered. Today, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline published a more in-depth look at Voracek’s situation, speaking personally with Kekalainen on the expectations around the veteran winger, and things may look worse than they had seemed at first.
The executive acknowledged to Portzline that Voracek may very well be looking at an earlier retirement than expected. Kekalainen added “I’m more worried about him having a normal life.” Lingering concussion issues are always a serious concern for any player and team in whatever sport it may be, however the original news that the team was giving him time away appeared to be more of a long-term injury concern. With today’s report though, it seems a return to the ice might not even be a guarantee. Voracek, 33, is a veteran of 15 NHL seasons including this one, five as a Blue Jacket and 11 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
- The Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, announced this afternoon that they’ve signed goaltender Justin Kapelmaster to a PTO ahead of their game today. Normally, we’d put this news in a Minor Transactions piece, however NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti makes an interesting observation with impact on the Capitals. As Gulitti writes, the PTO could mean that one of Hershey’s goaltenders is headed to Edmonton to meet the Capitals after starting netminder Darcy Kuemper left last night’s game with an upper-body injury. Washington currently has Zachary Fucale and Hunter Shepard under contract and playing for the Bears, along with Charlie Lindgren already on the NHL roster.
- The Vegas Golden Knights announced, via head coach Bruce Cassidy, that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will miss tomorrow night’s game in Boston against the Bruins, while forward Jack Eichel will be a game-time decision. Pietrangelo has missed the last three games for Vegas for undisclosed personal reasons, last playing November 26th. While the reason for the absence isn’t any clearer than that, Vegas does return home after Monday’s game, which may be a preferred time for the defenseman to rejoin the team, as opposed to meeting them on the opposite coast for the one game. As to Eichel, the nature of his absence is still unclear.