The injury wagon has officially arrived in Hockeytown.
Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart had his jaw broken by Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos during last night's 5-4 shootout victory in Calgary. Stuart will miss 6-8 weeks of time, putting him out until at least mid-March.
Kostopoulos delivered a high hit that made contact with Stuart's jaw in the third period, drawing a two minute penalty and a possible suspension. Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock was not enthralled by Kostopoulos' play, obviously.
"I would assume they’d look at it and I would assume he’ll be suspended,'' Babcock said. "You’re supposed to look after good players in the league. I have no problem if the guy buries him ... but you don’t hit him in the head, there’s no reason to do that. It’s disappointing.’’
Part of the good news however is that Stuart won't need surgery or his jaw wired shut, a concern initially reported on MLive after the injury. The Red Wings are expecting a suspension for Kostopoulos, who is a repeat offender, having served three game for boarding Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn in 2008. Last month Kostopoulos sidelined Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz with a concussion after delivering an elbow to the head.
Detroit is already missing forwards Dan Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Modano. Rookie defenseman Jakub Kindl has been clinging with the big league team as the seventh defenseman and should be in line to take Stuart's roster spot.
For Stuart, it's been an absolutely crappy week. He need stitches and staples to close a gash in the back of his head from a Jeff Carter shot on Sunday against the Flyers. After being one of the few Red Wings to play all 82 games last season and one of the more consistent defensemen, his absence will be a big time loss for this already injury-riddled team.