DETROIT – At some point the injuries have to stop, right?
But the way the Red Wings are stockpiling their wounded that might not occur until the last man is standing in their locker room.
Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs was the sixth straight game that a Red Wings’ player fell to injury when defenseman Jonathan Ericsson suffered a broken finger on his left hand late in the second period.
“We get someone hurt every day and they never come back,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I guess he’s out for a bit. The hand specialist is looking at him. He’s got a broken finger. In the old days you just taped that to another one and you just keep playing.”
It’s possible that Ericsson will see a hand specialist on Wednesday, and may have a pin surgically inserted to stabilize the finger while helping the healing process faster.
According to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, the Red Wings will be without Ericsson for the next 10 days to two weeks.
“Dr. (Doug) Plagens is talking to a hand specialist,” Holland said. “We’ll make a decision tomorrow but I think there’s a chance tomorrow afternoon he’ll have it pinned.”
Ericsson, who missed 10 days with a separated shoulder and another 10 games with broken ribs this season, is just the latest to be added to the injury list since March 6 when Jonas Gustavsson suffered a reoccurrence to a sore groin that has plagued the backup goalie for much of this season. Since then, Joakim Andersson fractured an ankle bone against the New York Rangers (March 9); Tomas Jurco fractured a rib at Columbus (March 11); Todd Bertuzzi acquired a lower-body ailment against Edmonton (March 14); and Justin Abdelkader suffered a leg laceration at Chicago (March 16).
That’s just the latest rash of injuries that have decimated the Red Wings lineup all season. Captain Henrik Zetterberg is out of the remainder of the regular season following back surgery and center Pavel Datsyuk (knee) still has a few more days before he’s re-evaluated and learns whether or not he’ll be back before the end of the current campaign. Darren Helm (concussion), Stephen Weiss (hernia), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samulesson (shoulder) are also unavailable.
There are 11 regulars currently out of the Red Wings’ lineup, plus Jurco, who was recalled in mid-January.
Fortunately for the Red Wings, they didn’t have to finish Tuesday’s game with five defensemen as Brendan Smith was moved up to left wing, replacing rookie Teemu Pulkkinen who was a healthy scratch for the first time since making his league debut last Friday.
Smith didn’t get much of an opportunity at left wing before moving back to the blue line once Ericsson went down late in the second period.
“He never got much of a chance to play up front,” Babcock said of Smith. “He was effective, drew a penalty for us. If E’s not going to play he’s going to have to play on the back.”
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