The Hershey Bears’ season ended on Wednesday in a Game 7 loss to the Providence Bruins, but starting goalie Pheonix Copley’s season ended earlier than that with a lower-body injury. Now we know more about the injury.
According to Hershey head coach Troy Mann, Copley had a groin muscle pulled off the bone. Right now, you all should be shifting in your seats uncomfortably at the very thought. The severity of the injury is unknown, however, as both the player and coach had differing opinions on just how long it would have kept him out of the lineup.
Pheonix Copley said it would have been up in the air if he could have played in the third round. Felt better and better every day— Kyle Mace (@kyle_mace) May 19, 2017
On the other hand, Troy Mann said Copley was done for the year. The injury was a muscle (groin) pull off of the bone.— Kyle Mace (@kyle_mace) May 19, 2017
Copley suffered the injury in Game 4 against the Bruins as he stretched the right leg in an attempt to make a save. He immediately collapsed to the ice and threw off his blocker and mask. Unfortunately for Hershey, Providence scored what proved to be the game-winning goal on the play.
You can watch the replay here:
The long-term prognosis for Copley remains positive and he is expected to be ready for next season.
Doctors did not have a full diagnosis yet on Copley, but he will rehab over the summer and be fine to go for next season.— Kyle Mace (@kyle_mace) May 19, 2017
That’s good news for both Copley and the Caps.
Copley, 25, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. A lingering groin injury would obviously hinder his ability to earn a new contract. Even though he is set to be a UFA, Washington is also likely to have interest in the young netminder’s health considering the uncertain status of Philipp Grubauer.
Grubauer is expected to be exposed in the upcoming expansion draft. As a budding starter and because he was drafted by Vegas general manager George McPhee, he could be a very tempting target for the Golden Knights. That would leave the Caps in need of a backup goalie. Copley could very much be in play for that spot.
Washington not only signed Copley to his first pro-contract in 2014, they traded to reacquire him this season after he was traded to St. Louis as part of the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie. Copley posted a .933 save percentage and 2.13 in nine playoff games for the Bears this season and certainly played like he was ready for a chance to take the next step in his career.
The question now is whether he will take that next step in Washington.
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