Since Kent Huskins suffered an ankle injury blocking a shot back on October 28th in Calgary, the prognosis has been difficult to determine. First considered fractured and requiring a stint on IR, then not. On Tuesday this week the media reported that there is in deed a fracture.
Huskins bravery will cost him up to two months of the season and a trip to the surgeon.
The duration could be reduced if he heals like TJ Oshie…
The Blues announced via Twitter Wednesday that the surgery was performed successfully and reevaluation will come in roughly eight weeks.
In 9 games this season Huskins has tallied 2 goals, 4 points with a Plus-6 rating while averaging 16:55 ATOI. He was utilized as Alex Pietrangelo’s primary even strength pairing partner.
Impacts on the Blues Blueline
With Taylor Chorney already shipped back to Edmonton after his rental via waivers, Ian Cole’s time in St. Louis has been extended. His assumption of the seventh defenseman role says that the Blues believe he’s hit NHL readiness and sticking with the big club is more important than icet in Peoria. The move could be taken as an odd change of direction following Doug Armstrong’s comments this summer regarding first and second year pros playing in Peoria rather than sitting in the Scottrade press box, but is likely more indicitive of Cole’s improved level of play and the need to have quality options given situation and performance.
On a related side note, the absence of Cole from the Rivermen lineup has increased the workload on Mark Cundari, Cade Fairchild and Brett Poinch. Three young defensemen jostling for position in the organization who will take all of the playtime they can earn. Danny Syvert, a “forogtten” depth addition this summer, has stepped up his play. For example, he logged over 30 minutes in last Friday’s epic 7-6 comeback win over Rockford when Jake Gannon, an AHL contract defensemen playing very well for Peoria, left the game due to injury.
Cundari is having sophomore struggles while Fairchild is pleasantly surprising in his first pro campaign. I will have more on these two, Ponich and others in my AHL Road Trip wrapup post coming later this week.
For those clamoring for the benching (or trading) of Carlo Colaiacovo in favor of Cole following the Kris Russel trade, don’t expect it anytime soon. In the four games under Ken Hitchcock Colaiacovo has three assists with a Plus-1 rating paired up Pietrangelo.
Russell will remain in the lineup, at least through Thursday’s game against Florida, but he could easily sit for Cole is the situation warrants going forward. Russell has averaged just 14:24 ATOI in the two games since the trade and his role on the power play is already being filled by Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Colaiacovo.
Translation: Since Cole fills a different role being a “left handed Roman Polak” the two could easily be interchangeable.
A final thought. Is it a coincidence that Barret Jackman’s ATOI is down over a minute and a half compared to last season and he is playing some of his best hockey since late in 2009? I don’t think so. There is a lot of tread on Jackman and decreasing his workload maximizes output. It is also worth noting that the exceptional play of Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk are allowing old number 5 to do more with less.