In the 2021 calendar year, Nikita Kucherov has played three regular season games. His team, the Lightning, has played 63. And now, there’s a good chance he won’t add to his total before New Year’s Day 2022.
After missing the entire 2021 regular season due to hip surgery in the offseason, Kucherov returned for the postseason and held a clinic. He scored 32 points in 23 games (eight goals, 24 assists) and the Lightning won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. This season, Kucherov accumulated four points from three games, scoring one goal and three assists in the Lightning’s 7-6 overtime victory over the Red Wings on Oct. 14.
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On Wednesday, Tampa Bay announced that the star winger underwent surgery and will miss at least two months.
UPDATE: Nikita Kucherov underwent a successful procedure on Tuesday and will miss approximately 8-10 weeks with a lower body injury.
– Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 27, 2021
What is Nikita Kucherov’s injury?
For now, the Lightning are coining it as a lower body injury.
Kucherov last played on October 16 against the Capitals. He left that game in the third period after an awkward collision with Garnet Hathaway near the boards in the Washington area. Video of the collision shows Kucherov’s right leg coming out to a stop; he immediately stops and appears to grasp his left groin area and is shown to be in considerable pain. The video even shows the Capitals bank trying to help him and push him to the Lightning bank.
“It didn’t look good,” said captain Steven Stamkos. said after the game. “We are praying that he is well.”
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As mentioned, Kucherov did not play during the 2021 regular season. Bryan burns, Lightning reporter for NHL.com, reported that Kucherov in the spring revealed that he tore a groin muscle during a Game 1 five-time overtime win over the Blue Jackets in the 2020 bubble playoffs. He played the rest. out of the way (scoring 34 points in 25 games), but the impact affected his hips. He had to surgically repair it after other methods during the offseason failed. He underwent surgery on December 29, 2020, and did not return to the lineup until the postseason.
How long will Nikita Kucherov be out?
The Lightning announced that Kucherov will be missing for 8-10 weeks, putting him back after the Christmas holidays or after the New Year.
Three seasons ago, Kucherov won the Hart and Art Ross trophies after scoring 128 points in 82 games. In the 2019-20 season shortened by COVID, he registered 85 points in 68 games.
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The Lightning have played a lot of hockey in the past two seasons after reaching the Stanley Cup final. Already in their third line of Yanni Gourde (Kraken via expansion draft), Barclay Goodrow (Rangers via trade) and Blake Coleman (Flames via free agency), the team has struggled to find its offense. Losing Kucherov only adds another hole that will need to be filled.
Coach John Cooper’s team is also a team currently struggling to score points. As of Wednesday morning, the team is out of the playoff picture with a 3-3-1 record. The Lightning have been outscored 21-26 in their first seven games, with a negligible power play efficiency of 13.6 percent.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.