Andy McDonald’s Injury a Costly Blow
Andy McDonald is “week to week” after suffering a deep bruise in his right shoulder during the team’s loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. The injury occurred when McDonald was checked, lost his balance and fell into the boards with his right shoulder absorbing all of the impact. Coach Ken Hitchock was uncertain of when McDonald would be able to return but was confident he would be ready for the playoffs.
It’s encouraging to hear that McDonald should be able to return for the playoffs. However, it’s pretty discouraging to hear McDonald, the driving force behind the team’s offense, will be out for a week or two and then be reevaluated.
Andy McDonald’s injury is a costly one. Since returning from a concussion, McDonald has scored nine goals and eight assists (17 points) in just 18 games. He has been the catalyst, using his speed and experience to generate numerous scoring chances for the Blues each and every game. McDonald’s speed will be sorely missed. When the club has both McDonald and Chris Porter dressed the Blues have a lethal dose of speed sprinkled throughout their ranks. Now the Blues will find their offensive depth tested – a position they have been in nearly all year long.
As one veteran (McDonald) prepares to miss time, one youngster is set to start his NHL career. Jaden Schwartz will play in his first NHL game on Saturday when the Blues take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s worth noting that these two events aren’t linked as Schwartz was already going to get the call on Saturday before McDonald injured his shoulder. However, Schwartz has the opportunity to audition for a more permanent role in the lineup while McDonald is absent.
For the Blues, regardless of how well Schwartz performs, McDonald’s missed time will hurt. McDonald is arguably the team’s most complete forward, mixing a wealth of speed and natural ability with priceless veteran experience. The Blues will now have to press on without McDonald as they try to finish off the 2011-12 season and prepare to enter the playoffs as one of the most complete squads in the NHL.