The Tommies finally picked up their first win of the season, but the injury bug has arrived, and it has left some serious damage.
With only two games to go until the Christmas break, and the midway point of the season, the Tommies are looking at dressing a much shorter bench, with a possible five regulars out of the lineup.
Forwards Randy Cameron, John MacDonald, Alex Leduc, and defensemen Christian Morin and Jordan Thomas are all out indefinitely with upper body injuries.
Third year forward, and assistant captain Cameron was one of last year’s leading point producers, and has only been able to play in four games this season.
For a team that is already very offensively challenged, watching the team struggle from the sidelines has been a tough pill to swallow.
“It’s a helpless feeling; knowing I can’t really do anything about it. I am trying to stay positive about everything even though it is tough at times, and trying to stay in shape so I am ready to go when I am healthy,” he said.
What makes the list of injuries even more devastating for an already fragile team is that they have nobody on the roster who can jump in and play in the injured players’ spots. With just 21 players, including goalies, on the Tommies roster, they have the fewest number of players in the AUS.
The Tommies have had a tough first half of the season as their 1-13 record indicates, and now they are facing a long list of injuries. It remains to be seen how they will be able to respond. But, if you’re expecting them to throw in the towel and give up, you will be sadly mistaken.
“We know we are in a really tough spot,” says assistant captain Steven Sanza. ”Injuries are a part of the game and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I know the guys that are in the lineup will do whatever they can to win hockey games.”
Injuries are a funny thing. Sometimes they bring teams closer together, and other times they can pull teams apart. Graduating player Mike Reich believes that in the Tommies case, the former rings most true.
“With so many players out right now, other players will need to step up and produce. With have a close-knit group of
guys in our locker room and despite all the losses and adversity we have been through, we have always stuck together.
I believe in this group and know we will find away to turn this season around,” he said.
There is currently no timetable for the return of the five players, but head coach Troy Ryan was able to provide some updates after Saturday night’s game. He said that MacDonald and Thomas, who were involved in a car crash last week, were still suffering from concussion like symptoms.
“I’m not a doctor but I know there are some concussion like symptoms… I don’t mess around with that. It makes no sense. We would completely need medical clearance from a couple of doctors [for them to play].”
MacDonald returned to practice Monday, but Thomas won’t be back until the end of the week at the earliest according to Ryan. Morin is on a similar timetable to Thomas. Cameron, however, will not be back until the New Year.
Through 11 games, Thomas and Morin have one assist each. Leduc has one goal in 10 games, while MacDonald has two assists in 12 games. Cameron is pointless in five games.
With such a depleted bench, and a team that’s only averaging 1.43 goals a game, the Tommies will need their key players back in the lineup.
‘We’re in a tough situation,” Ryan said.
Files from Matt Tidcombe