When Elias Pettersson fell with a Montreal injury, Canucks Nation held his breath.
That's exactly how you'd expect fans to react when your 20-year-old super-rookie gets hurt, especially if it's a serious one.
As Pettersson squirmed with ice pain at the Bell Center, he was able to skate under his own power. There were signs that the injury was not as bad as some feared, even though we had been cheated earlier.
Two nights later in Toronto, coach Travis Green provided an update. That was good news.
"[Pettersson has a] slight sprain in your MCL, not so bad " said Green.. "Probably as good news as we might have expected."
Pettersson will miss the next game against the Arizona Coyotes, something that was officialized when the Canucks put Pettersson in the injured reserve.
As the Canucks can step back into the injured reserve designation, Pettersson will be eligible to return before the next game on Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
With Pettersson placed on IR – it's important to remember the NHL rules (in the image below)
– Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) January 8, 2019
Of course, there is no guarantee that he will be able to play soon as well.
"We will not rush you back" Green told reporters after training on Monday. "He'll be back when he's fine and ready."
Fortunately, the Canucks have time on their side. They have just started their lighter round of games in the season, as they must play only six times before February 2. All six games will be played at the Rogers Arena, and only one (Jan. 18 vs. Buffalo) is against a team currently above the playoff bar.
With Pettersson off schedule, he presents an opportunity for Adam Gaudette, who was called by the Canucks. Pettersson leaves a hole in the top six places, one in which the Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle centers are not suitable. Markus Granlund has been used in the center a few times this year, but he is more suitable for the ward, and probably more on a check paper.
Between Gaudette, who has seven points in seven AHL games this season, including two goals and an assist in all three games during his last period with Utica Comets. He has not received the same offensive opportunities in the NHL so far, scoring just six points (2-4-6) in 31 games, but that may change with Pettersson out of the team.