Injuries are relatively common in the National Hockey League (NHL) and play a big role in sportsbooks determining NHL odds and picks. Hockey is a physical and competitive sport played at a fast pace, so it’s to be expected that players miss time with injury.
Players have to wear a considerable amount of equipment, including protective pants, shoulder and elbow pads, and helmets. Goalies, meanwhile, wear even bulkier gear, including thick pads on their legs, but injuries still occur frequently.
Common player injuries include ACL and MCL strains or tears, shoulder dislocations, broken fingers, and broken collarbones. Teams usually list these as upper- or lower-body injuries, mainly to avoid giving opposing teams an opportunity to target specific player injuries.
Concussions have always been a risk in the NHL (especially before players wore helmets). Still, players missing time due to the injury has become more prevalent in recent years, with teams more aware of CTE and other long-term negative health impacts.
Understanding NHL Injuries
As mentioned, the NHL normally lists injuries as upper- or lower-body. The league doesn’t have any specific rules for teams when announcing injuries, unlike the NFL, which makes teams file a daily injury report.
Injured players that are expected to miss more than seven days of the season can be placed on the Injured Reserve List, following which teams can recall players from their minor league affiliate. The team’s medical staff must determine that the player is unable to compete.
However, players on the injured list can still attend team meetings, travel with the team, and participate in practices. However, they can’t play in league games.
NHL players are more willing to take time off to rest and recuperate during the regular season than they are during the playoffs. Hockey players are among the toughest athletes on the planet and typically play through injuries in the postseason; Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins famously played through broken ribs and torn rib cartilage during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.