The 2018 National Hockey League preseason has seemingly featured an abnormal number of injuries, especially in the final few days of games on the schedule.
Unfortunately for several teams around the league Sunday was absolutely no exception as a number of players went down including one player getting nearly knocked out by a gigantic hit from Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and even one player leaving practice earlier today in a wheelchair. The latest injury however comes from one of the hottest teams in the preseason thus far, and no I'm not kidding, the Carolina Hurricanes. Making matters worse is that the injury comes at arguably the most important position in the game today.
According to multiple reports from around the National Hockey League veteran goaltender Scott Darling has been injured, something that many of us suspected when we saw the way in which he left tonight's game. Darling looked like one of the worst signings in recent memory last season when he routinely fell apart in the Hurricanes net but boy oh boy did he ever turn things around in training cap. Coming out of the preseason Darling looked like he could be one of the hottest goalies of the league entering the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season but now there are real concerns he may not even be ready for the start of the season.
Canes pre-game host Mike Maniscalco was able to get some information from head coach Rob Brind'Amour who informed him that the injury appears to be to Darling's upper hamstring. That would make this a lower body injury but that's all that we have to go on at this time. Brind'Amour would not comment on whether or not the injury is likely to be serious or how long Darling may be out for, likely waiting for answer from the Hurricanes medical staff before making any kind of public comment.
Update: Michael Smith of the Hurricanes official website did get a comment from Brind'Amour after all and although it doesn't reveal a great deal it does indicate to me that this may be a serious injury indeed. Speaking with Smith Brind'Amour admitted that he was worried about Darling's status moving forward.
"It’s a concern," began the Canes head coach. "I’m not 100 percent sure what it is yet. He tweaked something in the lower body."
The biggest issue here for the Hurricanes is likely the fact that they simply do not have a proper replacement waiting in the Wings to take Darling's spot, and that could make a hot looking team look real bad in a hurry. Right now the man behind Darling on the Hurricanes depth chart is former Detroit Red Wings' and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Peter Mrazek.
Mrazek is coming off an abysmal season in which he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers after a series of injuries in net effectively forced the hand of Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. Hextall would give up a pair of picks to the Red Wings just to have a goalie in net while his guys were out but they may have been better off just trying some equipment to the goal posts.
Mrazek's 17 game stretch in Philadelphia end with a 0.891 save percentage and a 3.22 goals against average. If he plays anywhere close to that level with the Hurricanes they may be in very serious trouble.