While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how the Devils’ season has ended up so far south this year, there’s no question that the team’s lineup is suffering from a myriad of injured scratches.
From Cory Schneider’s unsuccessful return from hip displacement surgery to Taylor Hall’s mysteriously unspecified “lower body injury”, it’s not looking good for a hockey club who’s struggling to maintain a consistent win streak this year.
Corey Schneider has in fact fully recovered from surgery. The problem now is that he is suffering from a severe abdominal strain that he unfortunately received on his return to the net, post recovery. While he has been working with goalie coach Roland Melanson on technical aspects of his game, it’s still too soon to determine whether Corey is ready to take the lead start in net again. At this time, a reconditioning assignment with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL is also being considered, but not definite.
To add insult to injury to the Devils’ goaltending issues, Mackenzie Blackwood has also been absent since his superb initial appearances as a first-time starting NHL goaltender, also due to a lower body injury sustained last month. The good news is that he has returned to practice and feels that he is ready to be placed back in the lineup as soon as this week. Blackwood went 3-1 in his first four NHL games as a starting goaltender, 2 of which were back-to-back shutout victories for the Devils.
Marcus Johansson is another substantial missing factor for the Devils’ lineup. He has missed the last nine games for the Devils due to a crippling body check from last month’s game against the Blue Jackets. This isn’t the first time Marcus Johansson has been out following a significant open-ice hit, as he missed the remaining 3 months of the season last year after a controversial hit from Boston Bruins’ forward Brad Marchand.
Above all else, Devils’ superstar Taylor Hall has also been out due to what is being called an “unspecified lower body injury” and fatigue. Perhaps even more disappointing for fans is that Taylor may miss the NHL All Star game for the second year in a row due to injury. “He’s going through an off-ice progression right now to see if he can get to an on-ice progression,” Devils’ Coach John Hynes said about Hall. “Obviously, if there’s no on-ice progression there probably wouldn’t be (an All-Star appearance), but I can’t say that right now because there probably will be an on-ice progression. I just have to wait a few days to see where he’s going.”
Featured Photo: Ed Mulholland / USA TODAY Sports Photo Credit: Julio Cortez / AP