Here’s a curious observation on the four teams remaining in these playoffs: Five weeks in, they’re all remarkably healthy.
So much for a war of attrition -- so far anyway.
In terms of significant absences due to recent injuries, there’s really only one: New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky, who has traded crutches for a walking boot lately but hasn’t played due to a likely broken foot suffered in Game 7 of the first round.
The only other players hurt during the playoffs that remain out for the Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Adrian Aucoin (questionable for Game 2 with undisclosed injury).
It appeared that the Devils may lose a key player early on in Game 1 when Patrik Elias took a puck right to the face, but he had what’s believed to be a broken nose repaired on the bench and didn’t miss a shift.
All this good health is quite a departure from previous years, when major injuries significantly hindered teams by this point in the postseason.
Then there’s the Vancouver Canucks, who by Game 7 of the finals last year had three defencemen with major injuries, Ryan Kesler needing surgery and Mason Raymond out for months with a fractured vertebrae.
It’s not as if these playoffs have been particularly tame either. And with all of the shotblocking going on (nearly 35 a game, on average) one would think there’d be more broken bones for teams like the Rangers.
(New York can ill afford to lose a defenceman given they rely so heavily on their top four or five and rarely play their sixth.)
That said, there’s still plenty of time left. As several Rangers noted after Monday night’s win, they’re really only halfway to the end here, and the winning team has another 11 or 12 hard fought games to go.
At some point, injuries are going to be a factor. They always are.