Mon Mar 21 11:31am EDT
There is some gallows irony with the Ottawa 67's these days. For one, for all the attention the check to the head that star forward Shane Prince absorbed on March 11, he is a safer bet to suit up for the playoff opener than several of his injured teammates.
Secondly, being the last team to start its first-round series — the Sudbury Wolves-67's matchup does not start until Saturday since the Ottawa Civic Centre is booked, requiring a move to Scotiabank Place — might seem inconvenient. It buys some time to try and patch together something of a lineup, for what that is worth. Overage defenceman Travis Gibbons (pictured) is out after he, quoth Don Campbell of the Ottawa Citizen, "took a slapshot square in the mouth and fell awkwardly, breaking his ankle in the process," on Sunday against Sudbury.
Pretty grisly, especially when so many of Gibbons' teammates had a view from the suite level. Ottawa dressed only 15 skaters for the contest against the Wolves (who, on their end, were operating with just five defencemen for a recent stretch). That includes Gibbons and rookie Remy Giftopoulos, who can only play when his Junior A team is idle. They are getting one forward back. Steven Janes, 17, who last played in November before needing shoulder surgery, is "likely" for the playoff opener.
Longtime 67’s statistician Wayne Smith can’t remember another stretch of injuries and he’s been around almost since the discovery of the stethoscope.
The crowd of 67’s in skysuite A-11 numbered six, and sometimes seven players, and assistant coach Bobby Brooks was the only healthy one among them.
Captain Thomas Nesbitt ... was front-row centre with a knee injury. Fellow fifth-year 67, Cody Lindsay (broken jaw) was in the second row with his 112 career goals and 234 points. Not in the box, but in the general area, was Shane Prince, who had 25 goals and 88 points before being levelled by a hit from Niagara’s Tim Billingsley that resulted in a 10-game suspension for the IceDogs defenceman.
Nesbitt's "guests" in the box included Steven Janes, his regular season in his NHL draft year reduced to 17 games due to shoulder surgery back in November. Janes will try and get the OK from his surgeon today to return.
There was also Jon Carnevale and Cosimo Fontana, both out with concussions. And defenceman Julian Luciani (also concussion) was sent home last week.
So add it all up ... and there isn’t a whole lot to add up. (Ottawa Citizen)
Man, if that's not a case for hockey being too fast to be safe ... let's just say 67's athletic therapist Neil Hoch will probably be adding a few more Twitter followers as people wonder what else can go wrong for Ottawa. (Hoch was the first to inform people that centre Tyler Graovac will miss at least a month due to a broken wrist that requires surgery.) It sounds as if the 67's will have a daunting task of trying to get through its first series quickly with a skeleton crew.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. (Photo: OHL Images.)