It is with extreme luck, elite conditioning, and perhaps some good medicine that Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm survived 82 regular-season games and 16 playoff appearances. Both of the Swedes also dressed for seven World Cup of Hockey matches. All told, that is 105 games worth of matches that Forsberg and Ekholm have burned without having to spend a single one out of uniform. They are the exceptions heading into a Stanley Cup Final that will be diminished through attrition. It is simply not reasonable for anyone to expect good health to continue in a violent sport stretched too thin. For Nashville, Ryan Johansen will not play another game this season, which is far better than the possible fate he could have faced. Following Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Johansen was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome, which is a serious and possibly life-altering condition. The Predators were already without Kevin Fiala, who broke his left leg in Game 1 of the second round. They might get Mike Fisher and Craig Smith back from their respective ailments, which are, of course, shrouded in secrecy. The Penguins are just as battered following their seven-game slugfest against the Senators. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s best all-around defenseman, is unavailable following neck surgery in April. The Penguins won Game 7 in double overtime without Patric Hornqvist, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Chad Ruhwedel. Matt Murray did not man the crease until the Eastern Conference finals following a first-round exit. Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary missed time with concussions. If Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin are healthy, they are not playing like they are.
Should NHL teams adopt the NBA’s practice of resting players?
Boston Globe | May 29