High up on every junior hockey fan's list of favourite things is seeing a cornerstone of their team — who might be more likely than not to come back from the pros eventually — get hurt in a NHL preseason game.
Vancouver Canucks hopeful Bo Horvat and St. Louis Blues current first-round pick Robby Fabbri, the OHL's past two playoff MVPs who faced each other in Memorial Cup, each suffered potentially significant injuries during games on Thursday. Horvat, a 19-year-old considered a "favourite" to at least start the NHL season with the Canucks, was injured after taking a heavy bodycheck from the Edmonton Oilers' Tyler Pitlick. Fabbri, who was a longshot to stick with St Louis, left the Blues game with an "arm/shoulder related" ailment that might have been caused after being involved in several collisions during a chippy game between division rivals.
Horvat was "sore" after the game and will be assessed Friday.
From an OHL standpoint, the obvious question is how this affects the ETA for either star centre's return.
Understandably, it is best not to extrapolate too much when neither NHL team has confirmed the diagnosis. Both Horvat and Fabbri are prized assets to the Canucks and Blues, respectively, and if either is out for an extended stretch, they might remain with the big club for their rehab.
One possibility to keep in mind, likely much more so with Horvat, is the prospect of an AHL conditioning stint. It has been used in the past with teenagers who were on the cusp of sticking in the NHL. The league blocked the Buffalo Sabres from using that option last season with 19-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko, who had to go back to the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts. The rationale for the block was that Grigorenko was not really injured. That does not apply to either player. It's highly unlikely that would come into play with Fabbri.
Fabbri, meantime, had performed admirably to stretch out his stay in St. Louis. The undersized centre was banged up early in the OHL playoffs last March and again at Hockey Canada's summer development camp. Ideally for him, that's more random chance than a continual problem staying healthy. Meantime, the Storm do have their other top centre back since 19-year-old Jason Dickinson has returned from the Dallas Stars.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.