August 16, 2022

D Aaron Ekblad damage update: ‘Way far better than we thought’


Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) is served off the ice soon after an injury throughout the to start with period of an NHL hockey sport towards the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 18, 2022. (AP Image/Ashley Landis)


Andrew Brunette, Jonathan Huberdeau and just about every person else involved with the Florida Panthers could not enable but get flashbacks to final 12 months when they saw Aaron Ekblad crawling around on the ice in the initially intervals of the Panthers’ 3- earn versus the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

The very good news for the Panthers is their deepest problems only lasted a several several hours. By the conclude of the video game, Brunette acquired “positive news” on the outlook for his star defenseman.

“We’re really hopeful,” the interim coach explained Friday. “It was way improved than we assumed it was going to be. We’ll get a improved thought tomorrow, but excellent news.”

The precise incident was frightening: With 18:55 remaining in the very first period of time, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler collided with Ekblad versus the boards and star heart Aleksander Barkov, who dropped his footing near the participate in, slid ft initially into the two skaters. Ekblad’s ideal knee buckled in the 3-participant pile up, a skirmish broke out and Ekblad was remaining crawling all over on the ice, not able to get back again up to his toes.

At some point, trainers came out and aided Ekblad get up. Even then, he could not put any body weight on his right leg. At the initially intermission, Florida ruled out the 26-12 months-outdated Canadian with a reduce-system injury.

Brunette mentioned Ekblad had assessments completed just before the stop of the activity, even though, and they showed “nothing structural” with Ekblad’s personal injury. Florida (42-14-6) planned to reevaluate him Saturday and the hope is he will only be out “short phrase.”

“It’ll be a clearer photo tomorrow of exactly what it is,” Brunette mentioned.

Even if the harm keeps Ekblad out for some time period of time, the prognosis is way far better than past yr, when Ekblad fractured his left ankle and skipped the last two months of the year, such as the entirety of the Panthers’ brief operate in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It’s not final year,” Brunette claimed. “He’s likely to be Okay.”

This injuries scare came pretty much exactly a year following his final a person. Previous year, Ekblad’s skate acquired caught in the corner amongst the boards and the ice in a road earn in opposition to the Dallas Stars and his left ankle snapped, forcing Florida’s training staff to stretcher him off the ice with an air forged around his leg.

Even though he was equipped to hop off the Honda Center ice devoid of a stretcher Friday, the incident felt similar with the Panthers when all over again contending for a Stanley Cup and Ekblad actively playing at a James Norris Memorial Trophy degree, with 57 details and the fourth most defensive gain shares in the NHL.

“When you see that,” Brunette explained, “you just imagine, specifically: previous 12 months.”

Explained Huberdeau: “You see him go down and you think it’s like previous calendar year, and he’s going to be out for the rest and then the playoffs.”

The details of how very long he’ll be out are not distinct but, but the timetable breaks properly for Florida. The Panthers really don’t enjoy yet again till Thursday when they go again on the street to experience the Montreal Canadiens. They have time to allow Ekblad, star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, rookie centre Anton Lundell and ideal wing Patric Hornqvist get nutritious just after all ended up sidelined by accidents or disease by the close of the 4-game West Coastline swing.

Florida also has the luxury of a two-place direct on the Carolina Hurricanes for initially location in the Jap Meeting and a 6-level lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning for initially position in the Atlantic Division. With 20 video games to go, the Panthers have all but locked up their postseason spot and will be equipped to shift their concentrate to the Cup playoffs before long.

For now, they still want to make a operate at the Presidents’ Trophy and the major seed in the East.

“It’ll give us a couple of days to reset and go,” Brunette explained of the 5-working day split. “Hopefully, they are back again in the lineup.”

David Wilson, a Maryland native, is the Miami Herald’s utility guy for athletics coverage.