I’m not going to lie. This week’s Monday Mail Day is a bit depressing. Not because of the card I received, but because of who is on it. From the world’s marketplace, by way of Canada, I acquired a shiny new jersey card of Vincent Lecavalier.
A single, decent sized piece of his jersey adorns the front of the card. The back has it’s serial number, 215 out of 250. The significance of the number 215? Last week, Vincent picked up the 215th nagging injury of his career.
No that’s not right, it just seems like it. Lecavalier did suffer an injury to his hand as he batted a puck out of the air. A play that happens 3 or 4 times a game led to him suffering an “unstable fracture” in his right hand. He had surgery Monday, having a plate inserted, and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks.
It comes at a particularly inconvenient time for a team that has suffered a plague of injuries of a biblical proportions over the past month. First it was Dominic Moore and Matt Smaby. Then it was Simon Gagne and Steve Downie. Moore, Smaby and Downie returned to the ice just in time for Lecavalier to get knocked out.
Downie is back on the ice, but not 100% and Gagne is out indefinitely. With Lecavalier out that means half of the top six forwards are out or less than their best. So it’s probably not a wonder why their goal output for November looks like:
November 3rd - 2
November 4th - 0
November 6th - 2
November 9th - 4 (but it was against the Leafs)
November 11th - 3
November 12th - 1
November 14th - 1
Seven games and 13 goals. Oh by the way, they’ve lost 6 of those 7 games.
Losing Lecavalier isn’t going to help reverse those numbers. While he isn’t the 50 goal scorer anymore, he is still a valuable offensive threat on the ice. He anchors the power play and centers the second best line on the team. Now who is the number two center? Dominic Moore? Nate Thompson? The ghost of Brian Bradley?
The next 4 weeks are going to be the first really big test for the team. The shine of the new season has worn off. The non-stop praise about Guy Boucher’s innovative system has simmered down a bit. The team has dipped to a 8-7-2 record. They were 2 points behind the Capitals and are now 9.
If they are able to tread water until Lecavalier and Gagne return then things might be alright for the season. Should the tailspin continue, GM Steve Yzerman will have to see what kind of magical moves he can pull off during the season. Can he shore up the blueline, find a scoring threat and maybe find a goaltender that’s a little more consistent?
But hey I got a nice card to add to the collection.