The Hawks’ Nest


Injuries piling up
December 9, 2009, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Winterhawks | Tags:

Tough break for Luke Walker last night, who was on the business end of a clearing attempt gone bad. An Everett player turned and fired the puck to get it down the ice, and Walker found himself in the line of fire. The puck hit him in the mouth area and was severe enough that he required surgery this morning at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. We’ll keep you posted on his status as we get updates.

Meanwhile, Spencer Bennett is out indefinitely with an ankle injury, and Jacob Berglund is also nursing a sore leg.

While Berglund’s injury isn’t expected to cause him to miss much time, if any at all, Bennett’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The WHL released the list of players set to leave their teams for international competition over the next few weeks, and Portland is one of just two teams, along with Spokane, set to lose five players:

-Even before his injury, the Hawks were set to lose Walker to the U.S. world junior tryout camp before Christmas, and if he made the team, for a few games after Christmas.

-Like Walker, Nino Niedderreiter has been invited to his country’s world junior tryout camp, and he’ll miss games next weekend to head to camp. Niederreiter has an excellent chance at cracking the roster, which would keep him away from the team until January 9 at the earliest.

Ty Rattie and Tyler Wotherspoon will be heading to the World U-17 tournament in Timmins, Ontario after Christmas, and like Niederreiter and possibly Walker they’ll be gone until the Jan. 9 game.

Gasper Kopitar has already left the Winterhawks to play for Slovenia in the Div. I portion of the World Junior tournament as he hopes to help Slovenia qualify for the A pool next year.

The Winterhawks catch a bit of a break with Kopitar’s absence not overlapping with the others, but now with Bennett possibly out for that time period with his ankle injury, the Winterhawks could be missing up to five regulars for the stretch of games immediately after Christmas. The five games between Christmas and Jan. 9 include four divisional matchups, and a game against the East Division-leading Saskatoon Blades. Of course, most teams lose players at that time of year, but Bennett’s injury just exacerbates the issue for Portland.

One could argue it was bound to happen; the Winterhawks have been relatively fortunate on the injury front this year. Only Oliver Gabriel and Ian Curtis have missed significant time, while Ty Rattie and Riley Boychuk missed a few weeks each, so the law of averages was bound to catch up. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow though.

The Winterhawks will have to find a way to fill those roster spots for a few weeks. Kopitar is certainly a good bet, and the Hawks would love to have Oliver Gabriel back, but whether he’s cleared by the doctors in time is another matter. At any rate, Mike Johnston and his staff had already been preparing for filling the roster, they might just need to widen the search now.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

bring peters up!

Comment by bonghit1

My question is this: what happens if Ian Curtis continues to be bothered by his shoulder injury? The Hawks will be left with Carruth (untested)and ??? Is there another goalie in the wings the Hawks can bring in just in case Curtis’ shoulder keeps him out for any length of time?

Comment by Buck Daniels

Curtis has been given a clean bill of health by the team doctors, and is 100%. Should he or Carruth get injured, the team does have goalies on its protected list that could be recalled if need be.

Comment by portlandwinterhawks




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