A New Epidemic in New York


Written on 10/16/2010 by Jim Cerny

You heard about the bedbug epidemic in New York? I'm sure you must have. You know, nasty little critters sabotaging hotels and closing down retail stores in and around Manhattan? Yeah, those bedbugs have become quite the story, so much so that my aunt in Iowa brought it up to me the second my plane landed out her way during a visit this past summer.

But I digress.

There is another epidemic sweeping through the New York area---one that has infiltrated Long Island and into New Jersey, as well. And it affects only hockey players.

It is called the injury epidemic.

It actually began on the Island, taking strong hold and wiping out numerous key members of the New York Islanders. Then the New York Rangers took a few hits in Manhattan as did New Jersey Devils in Newark. And last night the full force of this epidemic came crashing down on the Rangers during their home opener at Madison Square Garden when superstar sniper Marian Gaborik suffered a separated shoulder and team captain Chris Drury suffered the second fracture to his left index finger in the span of a month.

There is no end in sight to this vicious epidemic.

Here's a detailed look:

New York Rangers:

Drury broke his finger blocking a shot during the first scrimmage of training camp. He missed the entire pre-season, and first two games of the regular season, before returning last night. He lasted into the second period when he collided with teammate Michal Rozsival and fractured the finger in a new spot. He is out six weeks. "I am worried about him," said head coach John Tortorella. "He is fit to be tied." Gaborik was boarded by Toronto's Colby Armstrong, suffered a separated shoulder, and the 42-goal scorer from a year ago is out 2-4 weeks. The team's alternate captain Vinny Prospal missed all of training camp with a sore knee. He will undergo surgery Tuesday and is lost for an indefinite period without having played a single shift yet this year. So gone from the equation are three key veterans, including two of the Rangers top scorers from a year ago.

New York Islanders:

All-Star defenseman Mark Streit was forced to undergo major shoulder surgery after being hit during an intrasquad scrimmage that was opened up to the fans in mid-September. He is out six months. Gone is the club's minutes-muncher and power play quarterback. Winger Kyle Okposo---a 52-point scorer a year ago at the age of 22---also injured his shoulder before the season's first game. He is out indefinitely. Center Rob Schremp suffered a back injury, and the Isles lose another key power play performer. He's gone on a week-to-week basis. And just when it doesn't look like it can get any worse, John Tavares---the focal point of the Islanders and last year's first overall draft pick---suffered a concussion on opening night against the Dallas Stars. He likely will return tonight against Colorado, but still....this is The Franchise we are talking about...never good to put the word "concussion" next to John Tavares' name.

New Jersey Devils:

Now in the Devils case, one could argue that their injuries have been extremely timely because some of them have offered salary cap relief via the long term injured reserve list, of course made necessary by the Ilya Kovalchuk contract signing. But again, I digress. Defenseman Bryce Salvador suffered a concussion during the pre-season and is out indefinitely, placed on long term IR. Veteran forward Brian Rolston joined him on IR, and provided signifciant salary cap relief in the process, by undergoing a sports hernia operation earlier this week. He'll be out at least 4 weeks. Rugged defenseman Anton Volchenkov broke his nose on opening night and hasn't played since. Meanwhile the Devils skirt questions about whether or not Volchenkov, too, suffered a concussion. And another defenseman went down this past week when Mark Fraser fractured his hand.


We are a little more than a week into the 2010-11 season and that is a total of 11 key players injured on three teams loacted within a 30-mile or so radius of one another.

It's an injury epidemic.

Don't go drinking the water.

Follow Me On Twitter at: @jimcerny and @thenyrangers

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  1. Henrik Lundqvist Blog |

    These injuries are terrifying.

    Where at in Iowa? I grew up in Sioux City. Went to school in Ames.

  2. Anonymous |

    Small world...and Henrik Lundqvist brings us all together! LOL

    I was just outside Cedar Rapids visiting family on my dad's side this summer.

    Where are you now?


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