Kasperi Kapanen to be out of Marlies lineup for “lengthy” period of time

Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com

While the Toronto Marlies have struggled of late, there have been a few bright spots. One of those is Kasperi Kapanen, who has been scoring at a torrid pace this season, leading the team with 16 goals and adding 17 more assists in 33 games. Unfortunately, he’s also run into some injury trouble, and it appears that’s happened yet again.

The hit in question actually happened in Saturday’s game against the Syracuse Crunch. Jake Dotchin ran him hard into the boards with a low hit, one that’s difficult to conclusively tell whether it was with intent or the result of a loss of balance. The timing of it, being seconds following leaving the box after a roughing minor for a gloved uppercut to Andrew Nielsen’s face as a third-man-in on a scrum, has left many removing the benefit of the doubt, however.

There’s been no word of supplemental discipline for Dotchin, and none is expected at this time. Tonight, though, I did ask Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe if there was an update on Kapanen’s status.

“No real update,” Keefe said. “He’s just getting a chance to see our team doctors here today, and I haven’t gotten that update. We’re expecting it to be a lengthy recovery, though.”

The Marlies will surely be hoping that further examination will prove that expectation to be wrong, but in the meantime, it’s a shame to lose one of the team’s top offensive threats at a time where they’re lacking production at even strength. Kapanen also missed handful of games in mid-late December with an unknown injury.

The biggest fear here, beyond the Marlies continuing to drop points, would be Kapanen’s long term health. His strongest asset is his explosive speed, and the injury appears to be to something in his right leg. Losing that edge would be unfortunate, especially at a time where he’s been starting to show NHL readiness.