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Injury update on Nikita Kucherov

Things aren’t looking great for the superstar forward

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 14: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning handles the puck during warmups before an NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Nikita Kucherov suffered a groin injury in Saturday night’s Tampa Bay Lightning’s win over the Washington Capitals while trying to deflect a Capitals player away from the puck on a breakout. He immediately felt something was wrong and left the game.

Today during the first team practice since the game, the initial word on the injury is that it’s not positive and surgery could be involved. Kucherov had hip surgery last season and missed all of the 56-game regular season. At the moment it’s unclear how long Kucherov will be out; he is reportedly trying to see a specialist to determine whether surgery is needed or not.

Kucherov’s health has obviously been a hot spot in the hockey sphere after he missed all of last season with his hip injury. Lots of conspiracy theories got flown out about whether he was really injured, if the Lightning were dragging out his rehab, or whatnot. He was actually hurt (the NHL even checked!), other players with the same injury were out for similar amounts of time, so if you gave even a moment’s attention to that nonsense give your head a shake. And now with this next injury, the jokes are back. The Lightning aren’t the mafia, JBB isn’t the Godfather.

The Lightning were in a division last season where they almost missed the playoffs. They have a less-deep team on paper this year and are in an even harder division. It’s very possible now that Kucherov is out that they’re going to be fighting for a wild card spot. The sooner the Lightning can get Kucherov back the better, and that’s a fact.

In terms of moving forward, here’s what the Lightning are doing on the power play and Geo has some ideas about what to do with the first line. Corey Perry took line rushes with Point and Palat during practice.

The first week of the season has given the Lightning a hard dose of reality. In terms of their offense, this is a one-line team with Stamkos and maybe a few other depth guys pitching in. They aren’t three lines deep anymore. With this Kucherov injury, that’s half the driving force for the first line gone. Despite a hot start Stamkos might not be what he used to be, and while he is likely as good of a replacement as you could get right now, it means the following three lines are more exposed.

Players are going to need to step up big. That includes Cirelli, Joseph, Colton, Perry, and hopefully a rookie too. Alex Barre-Boulet isn’t here anymore so we can’t harp on that, but it does suck that the offensive depth on this team has taken another hit.

Editor’s Note - Hi. It’s your friendly neighborhood managing editor, Justin. I just want to say, if the only reason you’re stopping by is to make a comment about cap circumvention, go ahead and assume we’ve already heard all versions of the joke and save yourself some time by not posting it. Thanks!

Editor’s Note #2 - If you think, like I do, that having to go a lengthy time without one of the best players in the game is some royal Number One B.S., well there is a shirt that can help you express your anger. Buy it here. Use the promo code “RAWCHARGE” and save a few bucks.