First, let me point out that Brian Gionta and Bryce Salvador were not seriously injured – as far as we know.
Brian Gionta was skating in to the corner to get a puck when he was hit, legally so, by Detroit’s Derek Meech. The problem was Gionta lost his balance and fell awkwardly in to the boards. His right arm hit the boards, as did his head, as he collapsed in a heap on to the ice. The good news is he states he only had the wind knocked out of him, and he should return for Sunday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Gionta also stated that he did not play in the third for “precautionary reasons.”
From my perspective, he’s telling the truth. After reviewing his reaction after his fall, he did not favor his right arm or shoulder, or seem knocked out by the blow to the head. He just looked like someone who couldn’t breathe – the reaction of someone who just had the wind knocked out of him. I expect him to return Sunday with no problem.
As for Bryce Salvador, the report is he was hit in the back of his foot by a shot from John Madden. At first it looked as if his fall may have caused him to twist his ankle awkwardly. But in actuality, Salvador was hit in the back of his left foot. Unlike Gionta, Salvador finished the period and played several more shifts, but did not return for the third. After the game, Rich Chere questioned Salvador about his foot. “It feels good. I’m walking on it. I’ve got all of my weight on it. That’s a good sign.”
The lack of swelling of Salvador’s foot, as well as the fact that he continued to play for a little while afterwards is encouraging, and he should also be good to go Sunday against the Oilers.
As long as Gio and Salvador are okay, I can live with the loss of two points. Granted the Devils now find themselves two points away from the second place Penguins in the Division. But the Devils kept up pretty well against Detroit and even Devils coach Brent Sutter stated afterwards, “I know it’s a 3-1 hockey game but we did a lot of things well.” Sure, moral victories are still losses, but if they keep up this level of play tomorrow, they could see two points Sunday against Edmonton.
There has not been a decision on whether or not Scott Clemmensen may see his first NHL game of the season. Kevin Weekes may see two games in a row, but Sutter may not want to push him this much in consecutive games.
Also, there were rumors of the possible return of Paul Martin. Unless he felt great today back home in New Jersey, he will not be on the ice Sunday. I’m betting that route, and instead see him play on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.