Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nielsen Out 2-3 Months

When I heard that Frans Nielsen was walking around in good spirits last night, I was optimistic that the injuries he suffered as a result of the Mike Mottau hit weren't too severe. Unfortunately, the limp accompanying his walk was symptomatic of significant injuries. Oh, the dreaded high ankle sprain.

This is a tremendously unfortunate loss for the Isles. Nielsen was progressing so well in his second season of NHL action. And from a team perspective, the Islanders simply do not have enough offensive depth to absorb the losses of the creative players they do have. Josh Bailey, Jeff Tambellini, and Kyle Okposo (when he returns) really have to turn it on now.

I wonder how Scott Gordon reconfigures the power play. Does he move Doug Weight off the point to center Guerin and Hunter? Or does Bailey get the plum spot on the first unit? We'll see shortly. According to Greg Logan, Bailey will replace Nielsen between Hunter and Tambellini at regular strength. Looking forward, this injury opens the door wider for Bailey to stick around past nine games.

As for the suspension to Mottau, my previous post should have been titled, "Here's Why Mottau Won't Be Suspended for As Long As You Think He Will."

Me, earlier: "Can't you just hear the explanation that this hit, while deliberate and illegal, was not actually a blow to the head?"

Botta, tonight: "Howie Rose reports that Colin Campbell told Garth Snow that Mottau's hit was not to Nielsen's head."

We have you figured out, Mr. Campbell.

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