Report: Mikael Backlund injured, out for remainder of World Cup

If you felt a shiver go down your spine and a disturbance in the force yesterday, it was because Calgary Flames centre Mikael Backlund got clobbered with a high hit from Finland’s Sami Lepisto during Sweden’s 2-0 victory over Finland yesterday at the World Cup of Hockey.

While Backlund finished the game, a report from our friends at the Swedish publication Expressen indicate that Backlund will be absent from today’s game against North America and will likely miss the remainder of the tournament due to a concussion.

It’s troubling news if you’re not a big fan of the tournament. It’s even more troubling news when you factor in that Backlund is easily the Flames’ best 200-foot centre (and arguably their best 200-foot player, period). He’s also had probably the worst luck a human being can have with weird injuries.

  • He broke his finger in the final practice prior to the 2011-12 season.
  • He had his 2011-12 season ended with an arm injury.
  • He missed a month with a knee injury in 2012-13.
  • He missed the end of the 2013-14 season with a hand injury.
  • He missed a bunch of time in 2014-15 with an abdominal wall injury.

Given how crucial Backlund is to the Flames’ success and the unpredictability of injuries to (or around) the human brain, the hope likely is that everyone involved is being incredibly careful with his injury and that it doesn’t end up being anything long-term or serious. It’d be an absolute shame for Backlund to have another long-term injury.

    • everton fc

      Stajan centres the 3rd line, and one of Vey or Bouma centre the 4th, if Backlund’s out long term. Stajan might work well with Frolik, “in the interim”….

      I’d prefer to see Jankowski, or Freddie H, if they’ve sign him, get this opportunity. Overall, crappy news…

    • Scary Gary

      This is why I was happy to see Giordano and Monahan weren’t playing in the WC (which I’m not sold on to begin with).

      Jankowski is nowhere near Backlund’s level right now, we currently do not have an adequate replacement for him; hopefully this is precautionary.

  • piscera.infada

    It might be similar to the Ekblad concussion, in that “it might be something, but regardless there’s no point in risking it”. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

    More to the point though, keep your head up Mickis.

  • Greatsave

    Son of a *****. Nothing like having your team’s best two-way center and possession driver knocked out by someone who couldn’t stick and hasn’t been in the league for 4 seasons, in a sham of a tournament.

    Rant over.

    Hope it’s not as serious as it sounds and he recovers quickly. Otherwise, nothing to do but look on the bright side and hope Bennett and Jankowski can take the bull by the horn.

  • MontanaMan

    Best 200 foot center? Really? I would agree that he is very responsible defensively but his production offensively is very limited. I would take both Monahan and Bennett over him hands down as the best 200 foot center on the team. As a footnote, the hit was clean – Backlund needs to get his head up.

    • OKG

      200 foot play is not measured by defense alone. nor offense alone.

      it is measured by goal differentials. At 5v5 no one on our team drives goal differentials nor expected goal dfferentials better than Mikael Backlund. Not even Gaudreau.

          • MontanaMan

            To be fair, OKG stated something about “expected goal differentials” and hinted that Backlund played the best 200 foot game. I found it interesting that a spare part on the Swedish team was the #1 center on the Flames. Just confirming.

          • KiLLKiND

            Well Claude Giroux is a healthy scratch for Canada, and is the best player on the Flyers. That’s what happens in a best on best tournament, best players on a 30 team league suddenly become 3rd and 4th liners in 8 team tournament. Our best player Giordano didn’t even make the tournament and Backlund was a late addition because of an injury.

          • MontanaMan

            Don’t be sorry. Reality is Backlund is a good defensive center – I’ve said it many times. The other reality is that he is expendable and is clearly not the most valuable center on the squad. You can disagree and even throw out juvenile comments, but that’s my take. Doesn’t need to be yours and quit taking it so personally.

          • Greatsave

            Actually, what you said was:

            I would take both Monahan and Bennett over him hands down as the best 200 foot center on the team.

            Which is clearly a different take than:

            The other reality is that he is expendable and is clearly not the most valuable center on the squad.

            So please don’t try to confuse the two. Saying “Backlund is the Flames’ best 200-foot center” does not equal saying “I’d rather keep Backlund over Monahan and Bennett”. Nobody is saying the latter, so don’t invent straw-men.

          • DoubleDIon

            How do you figure he’s a spare part? He played the 4th most minutes for forwards last game on the second best team on the planet.

            Brodie, Giordano and Hamilton never even made their rosters. The first two are great players and the third has his moments.

        • OKG

          Things your weak little argument is erasing from the picture:

          1) You’re a dummy if you’re ignoring the experience gap. Backlund is five and a half years older than Monahan and seven years older than Bennett.

          2) By extension, upside. Backlund is what he is, Bennett and Monahan (and Jankowski) are still developing.

          3) Power Play ability. Two-way play for a forward doesn’t matter on the power play at all, because you’re only playing one way. It also doesn’t matter much on the PK either (unless you’re generating shorthanded chances, and in Backlund’s case he generates a crap ton of shorthanded chances.)

    • DoubleDIon

      Maybe the most ridiculous comment I’ve read on this site. Backlund is a top 10 defensive center in the NHL. Monahan was bottom 40 last year. How anyone could hold an opinion like that is beyond me.

      Backlund had more points and is better defensively than Bennett despite tougher competition and starts. Backlund is by far the best 200 foot center on this team.

  • Slowmo

    I doubt he will miss the start of the season but will sit most of the prelims. Those games are for the kids any ways and getting ready for the reg season. We will see Janko and Freddie a few others out there the first few games then you will see the team they will use the rest of the season last few games. Hoping to see Janko and Chuky perhaps Mangi first 9 for Chuky maybe he shows he belongs but really has to settle his attitude a bit he causes way to many penalties. I know it is his way of play and fun to watch but we are not that great at the penalty kill. Cool ur jets Chuky and I bet you stay.

  • Derzie

    As usual Backlund is undervalued out of market and over valued here on the nation. He’s our #2 center now unless Sam has taken a leap and key to our PK. Ideally a #3. Having him injured stinks but be rational about his value.

  • beloch

    Hopefully it’s not a bad concussion and this is just precautionary. Unlike the Stanley Cup playoffs, players are probably going to be yanked from the WCoH if there’s even an iota of concern.

  • redwhiteblack

    Shoulder to the head. He saw it last minute which prevents it being worse. Head did not hit the ice and he finished the game. All good signs, there is a strong chance it is not bad. Hoping for best.