Injuries happen in the playoffs, just like in the regular season. The difference is that teams are more cagey about the health status of their players than they usually are.
Both the Leafs and the Capitals have AHL teams about to start the first round of the playoffs, so neither have called up many players, nothing like the 12 extra bodies the Columbus Blue Jackets added recently. The Leafs called up Kasperi Kapanen on a regular, non-emergency recall, and they have two of those left to use if they want to. The Capitals actually sent players back to Hershey as the NHL playoffs started.
Of the players currently on the Leafs, Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov are eligible to play in the AHL playoffs, but don’t expect either player to go anywhere until the Leafs’ season is over.
Injured in game 2 in an awkward fall after an accidental knee hit, Polak was reported to have had surgery on his leg yesterday. As we already knew, he is out for the remainder of the season.
Babcock said Polak's surgery on right leg "went well." Recovery a "long time" though and he's expected to be in hospital a couple days.— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) April 19, 2017
Listed on Hockey Reference as being out with “general soreness”, he returned to the ice yesterday for the optional skate, the first time he’s been out there not alone since late March.
On March 23, Fehr had surgery on his broken hand after blocking a shot in his first game for the Leafs. At a recent press scrum, the question was asked if he was close to returning, and Mike Babcock said yes. Returning to what exactly went unsaid, and there was some consternation by nervous fans that this would inevitably mean Kasperi Kapanen would come out of the lineup.
That worry seems to have faded. I think a couple of goals might have cemented Kapanen’s place in the lineup in everyone’s mind. His play before those goals had already done that, and Babcock has always shown that when a player comes back from injury, they have to be better in his mind than who he’s got playing before a change is made.
Hockey Reference is listing Leivo as injured, which hasn’t had much publicity. I guess when Kapanen arrived the worry over Leivo not being in the lineup faded away for most people who don’t really hate that Matt Martin is on the team. Hockey Reference lists the date of the injury as March 25, and that the nature is undisclosed.
In the first home game of the playoff series on Monday, Leivo was on the ice for warmups, which is often a treat for a local player who is stapled to a seat in the pressbox, and has no hope of getting in the lineup without some kind of serious injury to a current roster player.
If he’s hurt, it’s not serious, as he’s been participating in practice as well as that warmup. He filled in as a practice defender when Nikita Zaitsev was out of action.
Marincin missed some time in game three late in the game in two stretches with some shifts in between. He was not on the ice for the very short (yay!) overtime.
Word is he’s good to play in game four.
The Capitals had some players on the injury list heading into the playoffs, but they rested everyone, and are showing a clean slate with everyone healthy, barring one playoff game injury.
Alzner is officially out for game four with an upper body injury.
The Forgotten Man
One player for the Leafs is not on the injury list or getting in any games. He’s so forgotten, I forgot about him, and so did the Toronto Sun:
No that’s not Milan Michalek who wore jersey number 18 back in the fall for five games. That’s Ben Smith, who has worn the number since he was taken off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche and has appeared in 36 games, which along with his four in Colorado makes exactly 40, an interesting round number.
So, stand down, Leafs fans, Michalek, who hasn’t played for the Marlies in a long time and has been listed as injured by them, isn’t going to suddenly make a playoff appearance. Neither is Ben Smith.
Now, for fun, count the other errors in that photo caption. The person who gets the most correct wins a year’s subscription to the Toronto Sun! (Offer void in Canada. Must be at least 18 years of age. Must be a resident of Canada to qualify.)