The Checkers received news on the players injured during their most recent game in Norfolk, and it was not what they had hoped for.
Coach Jeff Daniels announced Sunday that Andreas Nodl is done for the year, while Zac Dalpe will also miss a significant amount of time. Both players left Friday’s game against the Admirals with lower-body injuries and did not return.
Rounding out the morning’s news, forward Brett Sutter has joined the Carolina Hurricanes on recall and will play in their game at Florida tonight, while Tommi Kivisto also heads to Florida to join the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
Daniels did not rule out the possibility that Nodl, injured during his first game back in Charlotte following a stint with the Carolina Hurricanes, could return for the playoffs should the team make a deep run. However, that seemed unlikely at best, with the player needing assistance to leave the ice following an awkward hit along the boards in the third period.
Daniels said that Dalpe, who had two points against Norfolk prior to colliding with another play at center ice in the second period, did not have a specific timetable on his return. However, he seemed much more optimistic about the possibility that he may return prior to the end of the regular season on April 20.
On one hand, the loss of Dalpe and Nodl is significant, in that they were both top scorers at the AHL level. Dalpe has 10 points (6g, 4a) in his last eight games, while Nodl recorded five points (1g, 4a) in six games with the Checkers this season. On the other, the Checkers were prepared to live without both players as recently as last week when both were in the NHL.
Sutter, who was set to return from a one-game suspension tonight, will instead play his first NHL game of the season. By all accounts, the Checkers’ captain has been playing his best hockey of the season over the last several weeks, twice tying the franchise record for most points in a single game (four) in his last four outings.
“He’s played well, and with the injuries they have they were looking for a center to restructure their lines,” said Daniels.
The result of the injuries and transactions is that the Checkers will have the bare minimum of 18 skaters at their disposal when they face Oklahoma City tonight.