The forecast for Johnny Boychuk's injury is in, and the prognosis is solidly in the middle on the "how disastrous?" meter. The New York Islanders announced they expect the defenseman to miss between four to six weeks with an "upper body" injury, which looked to everyone who saw the incident along the boards as an injury to his left shoulder.
How Did it Happen?
Boychuk and Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel were each battling for position while skating fast toward the end boards to retrieve the puck. Eichel spun off Boychuk very late, removing the counterweight to Boychuk's balance and sending him awkwardly into the boards, where his arm (and probably, his shoulder joint) bore the brunt of the impact.
Boychuk fell to the ice immediately holding his left shoulder, and skated to the dressing room favoring that shoulder.
Should I be relieved, or devastated?
How about neither, Goldilocks.
The 4-6 weeks prognosis is about along the lines of what was expected (hoped, even?) when he left last week's game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Isles put him on IR immediately after, and they said a prognosis would be delivered this week after a visit with doctors.
The tea leaves over the weekend made it look like worse than just an impact "he's banged up" kind of injury, but better than a break that often gets "6-8 weeks" or, Bossy forbid, a collarbone break or the kind of "3-4 months" major shoulder injury that has torched seasons and created fan nightmares for Islanders like Kyle Okposo, Calvin de Haan and Mark Streit in the past.
Basically, it's not "Wow, we dodged a bullet" territory, but it's not the devastating kind of surgery-necessitating injury that would put him on the shelf until summer.
(This, of course, is all speculated without having any of the details beyond "upper body, 4-6 weeks.")
So, is healing and rehab goes as hoped for an injury that happened on Dec. 31, expect Boychuk back sometime in the first half of February, after which he'll have missed about 10 to 18 games.