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NHL injury roundup: Eichel cleared for contact; Rask will not practice this week

NHL Injuries

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 08: Newly acquired Vegas Golden Knights player Jack Eichel participates in a youth clinic at a ball hockey rink at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada on November 8, 2021 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights traded for Eichel and a conditional draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and two conditional draft picks on November 4. Eichel is expected to be available four months after undergoing an artificial disc replacement surgery in his neck. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Checking in on some NHL injury news.

Jack Eichel cleared for contact

Jack Eichel is one step closer to making his Vegas Golden Knights debut.

Head coach Peter DeBoer announced on Monday that Eichel has been cleared for contact and is getting closer and closer to making his debut. There is still no timetable for his return because as DeBoer noted on Monday, it is the first time he has participated in a full contact practice “in 17 or 18 months.”

It is still a noteworthy step in his rehab after undergoing surgery shortly after the trade from the Buffalo Sabres earlier this season.

It is encouraging news for the Golden Knights because Eichel’s debut will give them the kind of player they have been lacking in their quest for a Stanley Cup: An elite top-line center. The Golden Knights have had top-tier players on the wing, on defense, and in goal during their first five years in the NHL but they have never really had a player like Eichel to center the top line. That could be a game-changer assuming Eichel is healthy and able to play like he did in Buffalo.

The question is going to be how the Golden Knights juggle the salary cap situation when he is able to return. A trade, or moving somebody to the long-term injured list seems like it will be a requirement.

Tuukka Rask will not practice this week

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy announced on Monday that goalie Tuukka Rask will not participate in practice this week and that he will be evaluated again next week due to a lower-body injury.

Rask remained unsigned for the most of the first half of the season before returning to the Bruins on a bargain one-year contract.

He has appeared in just four games since returning, allowing 14 goals on 90 shots to go with a 2-2-0 record.

In his absence the Bruins will continue to rely on the duo that started the season, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. Swayman will start Tuesday’s game at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jake Muzzin getting closer

Jake Muzzin has been out of the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup since the middle of January due to a concussion, and while he is getting closer to making his return he has been ruled out for Monday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Muzzin is one of Toronto’s top defenders. In 35 games this season prior to the injury he scored one goal to go with 10 assists.

Teuvo Teravainen game-time decision for Hurricanes

On the other side of that Toronto-Carolina game on Monday, Teuvo Teravainen will be a game-time decision for the Hurricanes.

He has missed three of the past five games due to a lower-body injury that he suffered three weeks ago against the New York Rangers.

He is one of the Hurricanes’ top forwards (and players overall) and will immediately upgrade their forward depth when he is able to return.