A wave of late-season illness and injuries has washed over the Vancouver Canucks, leaving the team without one of its stars.
The Canucks announced Tuesday that Brock Boeser is out with an upper-body injury.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s not sure whether the right-winger has been shut down for the season but knows he won’t play Wednesday when the Canucks (32-28-10) face the Golden Knights in Vegas.
“He’s still being evaluated at this time,” Boudreau said after practice Tuesday. “He’s not making the trip. We’ll know more when we get back.”
The injury comes after Boeser left late in the second period of Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime loss to Vegas on Sunday.
He got caught up in teammate Elias Pettersson’s hit on Ben Hutton and fell to the ice in pain, then skated off holding his arm. Boeser went directly to the locker room, but returned to play in the third period.
The 25-year-old native of Burnsville, Minn., has 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) in 64 games this season.
Set to become a restricted free agent this summer, Boeser had a career-high 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) in his sophomore campaign in 2018-19.
The injury is just one of several absences Vancouver is dealing with.
The Canucks cancelled practice Monday after some players fell sick with a non-COVID illness.
“We just tried to take pre-emptive precautions,” Boudreau said.
Quinn Hughes missed practice again on Tuesday with an illness, but Boudreau said he hopes the defenceman will travel with the team for the game in Vegas and a matchup Thursday with the Coyotes in Arizona.
The coach was less optimistic about Tucker Poolman.
The defenceman returned to the lineup Sunday after missing 26 games due to migraines. He played just four minutes, 25 seconds in the first period, though, and did not return for the second.
Boudreau said after the game that Poolman left due to a recurrence of the migraine issue. The coach added Tuesday that he does not expect the blue liner to return this year.
Poolman, 28, signed a four-year, US$10-million contract with the Canucks in free agency last summer.
Forward Nils Hoglander could also be out for the rest of the season. The 21-year-old Swedish winger has already missed nine games with a groin injury.
“He’s still not practising, so I’ve got to believe with 12 games to go (in the regular season), if we make the playoffs there’s a certain situation that he could play,” Boudreau said. “I don’t see him practising this week either so it’s up in the air, but I don’t think so.”
Hoglander has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in 60 games this season, a dip from the 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) he registered in his rookie outing last year.
Vancouver recalled defenceman Jack Rathbone from the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.
The Canadian Press