February 9, 2014
TORONTO– The injuries are continuing to add up for the Toronto Marlies.
Already without regulars Sam Carrick and Wade MacLeod, Tyler Biggs and Spencer Abbott left Friday’s game against the Grand Rapids Griffins and did not return. While both played two full periods, neither came back to start the third and it was unclear what exactly happened to either guy.
“(Spencer Abbott) and Tyler Biggs sustained injuries in the second period,” said Marlies head coach Steve Spott. “We had to find a way to gut one out in the third.”
While Biggs injury wasn’t disclosed, Spott listed Abbott’s as a lower-body and both would be re-evaluated on Saturday before determining a time line for a return.
If Abbott, the club’s leading scorer, isn’t ready to return for Sunday’s tilt with the Hamilton Bulldogs, it’s expected that winger Brandon Kozun will take his place on the top line.
“We can slot him right up there,” said Spott. “He’s a versatile guy, he’s very reliable five-on-five….For Brandon, we’re going to need scoring and we welcome that.”
Carrick was injured in Wednesday’s victory against the San Antonio Rampage and is the only player confirmed to be out Sunday.
“(He will be) a little longer than expected, he’s upper-body,” said Spott “It’s not severe but he won’t be in.”
MacLeod’s injury also wasn’t disclosed. Like Carrick, it happened against the Rampage.
On top of injuries, call-ups are affecting the Marlies and they currently only have one healthy centremen, Greg McKegg. To make due, Spott has interchanged various players into the middle, most often Kenny Ryan, and the club also brought Kory Nagy up from the ECHL again on a Pro Try-Out contract.
“It’s been tough,” Spott said of trying to fill the centre role. “You’re playing Biggs out of position. I played Brad Ross a little bit at centre (against Grand Rapids).
With the Olympic break playing a factor into how the NHL can use its AHL affiliates– as explained here by the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle— the Marlies are restricted to who they can bring down. Factor in injuries and Jerred Smithson is the only available centre that can come down, and he would still need to clear waivers.
“We have until Sunday Feb. 9 at 5 pm to finalize those decisions, and it will go right down to the wire,” said Marlies GM Dave Poulin.
After Sunday’s game against the Bulldogs, the Marlies won’t practice again until Friday as the AHL All-Star break takes place from Monday to Thursday. The game is set for Wednesday in St. John’s and Abbott is questionable for that as well.