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Quick Hits: The Return from Injuries Edition

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NHL: DEC 27 Sabres at Red Wings Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Red Wings Land

Detroit Red Wings’ Danny DeKeyser is a 2021 Masterton nominee. Here’s why - Freep

The veteran defenseman overcame the challenges of back surgery to appear in 47 games, and scored goals in back-to-back games the final weekend. DeKeyser’s resilience in the face of a career-threatening injury earned him the distinction of being the Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association nominee for the 2021 Masterton Trophy.

To add clarity to how this works, every city’s PHWA chapter nominates a player from that team for the Masterton, then one is chosen as the winner. Last season, Bobby Ryan won it. This season there are a lot of good candidates. I think DeKeyser is the obvious choice for Detroit, but isn’t likely to be named the leaguewide winner. In general, the award is given for players who come back from very serious adversity or who have just played a ton of years. Oskar Lindblom, who overcame bone cancer is a great example of the first while Patrick Marleau, who has more NHL games played than the Minnesota Wild franchise is an example of the other.

Around the League

Jack Eichel says there is ‘disconnect’ with Buffalo Sabres over how neck injury was handled - ESPN

Eichel said he struggled with a handful of injuries this season, from a cracked rib suffered in training camp to an abdominal injury from last year that still bothered him. But it was the way the Sabres handled his neck injury that caused the schism between the team and its franchise player. When asked why he didn’t simply get the surgery or treatment he felt he needed, Eichel responded, “It doesn’t work like that. I wish. I’m under contract with this team, and they hold a lot of cards on what I can and can’t do.”

I really want the whole story here because the stuff that came out yesterday is extremely concerning. I can only speculate why the team would overrule what the player wants in terms of having a procedure done that he feels is in his best interest. I know that the team’s right to apparently overrule this choice is limited solely to their ability to wash their hands of the problems that would arise if something were to go wrong, but that’s a lot of money at risk for both sides and it just makes me feel somewhat gross that “a lot of money” is a primary concern.

Alex Ovechkin to become investor in NWSL’s Washington Spirit - RMNB

“It was also important for me to support the DC community,” Ovechkin said. “I support everybody in this town. Me and my wife love to go watch a soccer game, watch football, and baseball. We all win. If I have this opportunity, I think it’s very important for me to do it because it also shows we care.”

I wanted to finish on something nicer than that Eichel story.