DETROIT – Ian White found out Tuesday how sharp a goaltender’s skate can be.
The Red Wings’ defenseman needed surgery to repair the quadriceps muscle in his left leg after he had a chunk of flesh gouged by the heel of Jimmy Howard’s skate midway through the third period of a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said White, who is expected to be out of the lineup for 2-3 weeks. “You have a tendon going right over your knee cap. It just missed it. I guess if I would have cut that I might have been (out) the season.”
Unfortunately for the Wings, they’ve stockpiled injuries in the first week of the season like a yuong fan collects hockey cards. White is eight regular to miss games from either injury or illness. Forward Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Jan Mursak (shoulder), defensemen Jonathan Ericsson (hip) and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), and backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) remain sidelined.
“It’s kind of depressing that something like this happens so early in the season when you start getting your legs under you and have a setback for a couple of weeks,” said White, who scored at Columbus on Monday. “It doesn't make you feel very good. But other than I'm in good spirits.”
The play occurred with 9:40 left in the game when Stars forward Reilly Smith – the younger brother of Red Wings’ Brendan Smith – made a pretty play to cruise in from the left wing and split a pair of defenders.
“I was the third man back, it was a two-on-two,” White said. “I think one of our guys got beat and they were taking the puck to the net and I kind of started crashing the net. Howie made a great save and I took the heel of his skate right at the top of the knee.”
The blade caught White between the bottom of his pant leg and the top of his shin guard. Team trainers and doctors treated the wound before sending White to the Detroit Medical Center where he spent the night.
With the compressed 48-game schedule, health this season is so important for everyone. Unfortunately, the Wings have already had more than their share, especially along the blue line, where four defensemen have missed time in the first week.
White is hopeful that he can return in 2-3 weeks, but that means he’ll likely miss between 6-10 games.
“Unfortunate part is that two or three weeks in this season is quite a few games,” White said. “It feels pretty good. I could see it being close to two than three.”
It’s unclear when White will be able to begin skating again, though it won’t be this weekend.
“Just from what I feel, getting up and walking around,” he said, “I would think I can skate in a week.”
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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