Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter got the lowdown on Adam Musil’s lower body injury Tuesday.
The good news? The second-year forward isn’t necessarily done for the season.
The bad news? He won’t be available for the Rebels’ first-round playoff series, a best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final starting Saturday versus the host Medicine Hat Tigers.
“It’s a significant injury and he’ll be week to week with it,” said Sutter, hesitant to count Musil out for the rest of the season, particularly if the Rebels enjoy a reasonably lengthy post-season run.
Musil suffered an ankle injury in the late stages of Saturday’s final regular-season game for both the Rebels and the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, who were 3-2 victors.
“It was a freak thing. He turned to get the puck in the corner, got tangled up and fell backward on (his ankle),” said Sutter.
The Rebels boss insisted his team is capable of surviving and even thriving without one of his top-six forwards, pointing to the team’s ability to perform at a high level over the final four to six weeks of the regular season without the services of three key injured players.
“Injuries are part of the game and you can’t do anything about that,” he said.
“We went a long time without Evan (Polei), (Colton) Bobyk and (Conner) Bleackley and we weathered through it.
“What this does is create an opportunity for someone else. It’s playoff time and you need players to step up. There are always unsung heroes in the playoffs.”
Ryan Pouliot rejoined the Rebels Tuesday after practising with the club last week. The 16-year-old North Vancouver product, who will likely sign a WHL education contract in short order, will serve as the Rebels’ eighth defenceman and won’t dress for a playoff game unless the team is stricken with an injury or two.
Goaltender Trevor Martin, whose SJHL season ended during the weekend when the Melville Millionaires were eliminated from the playoffs, will be in Red Deer Thursday and will stay with the Rebels through the duration of their post-season run.
Sutter didn’t rule out using Martin at some point in the playoffs, although Rylan Toth and Taz Burman will dress for the time being.
“You never know. It depends on how our goaltenders play,” said Sutter. “These (Toth and Burman) are young goalies and we’re going to see how they handle this.
“Hopefully they handle it well, but I’m not afraid to use any of the three.”
l The Tigers will be minus one of their key players for Game 1 of the series as defenceman Tyler Lewington was dealt a one-game suspension Monday after being assessed a game misconduct in Saturday’s 6-2 home-ice win over the Saskatoon Blades.
Lewington was penalized after engaging in altercations with Kolton Dixon and then Amil Krupic after officials had broken up the original set-to. He received a minor for instigating, two fighting majors, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct on the play.
“Obviously it’s a big loss. He’s our captain and a really important player,” Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News. “He plays lots of minutes, he’s on the power play and the penalty kill, so it’s a challenge.”
The second game of the series is set for 6 p.m. Sunday in Medicine Hat, with Games 3 and 4 to be played April 1 and 2 at the Centrium.