It looks like, for now, Micheal Ferland’s return to the NHL is on indefinite hold.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Wednesday night the Vancouver Canucks forward “will be leaving the bubble due to injury.”
While not confirmed, Ferland has long struggled with the effects from a concussion and post-concussion syndrome and TSN’s Darren Dreger did tweet that, “Sources say he’s dealing with similar issues.” TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal is reporting that Ferland is returning to his home in Manitoba and not Vancouver.
Known for a gritty, physical style of play, the winger made his return to the lineup in the Canucks’ qualifying round Game 1 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Less than two minutes in, he dropped the gloves with Marcus Foligno and finished the game with 11:41 of ice time and five hits dished out. He was also involved in an incident by the Wild’s bench that resulted in him being fined $5,000 for spearing Ryan Hartman after the Minnesota player grabbed his stick from behind the boards.
In Game 2, though, Ferland played just four shifts in the first period, totaling two minutes and 36 seconds of ice time. He was missing from the bench from the start of the second period, and the broadcast speculated he might have been injured after blocking a shot. Nothing has been confirmed from the team. The Canucks did announce he is “unfit-to-play” and “will be re-evaluated following the series” on Wednesday.
Reached for comment, GM Jim Benning told Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma, “They (the NHLPA) did the verbiage and he (Ferland) has left the bubble, but I can’t comment. I’m always willing to share what I know, but as part of the agreement with this tournament, I can’t comment on injuries. And I think this goes through the postseason.”
After signing a four-year, $14 million deal over the summer, the 28-year-old played just 14 games for the Canucks during the 2019-20 regular season and netted one goal and five points. He suffered a concussion in a fight with then-Kings forward Kyle Clifford on Oct. 30 and missed the team’s next 17 games; it was not the first concussion of his career.
He returned against Buffalo on Dec. 7 but had to leave the next game against the Maple Leafs due to a return of his symptoms. Ferland tried to come back in February to play for the Canucks’ AHL team in Utica but could not complete his first game.
“Coming back against Toronto, I thought I was good and had a little bit of symptoms, and thought I was good to play,” he told reporters on Feb. 10, four days prior to that Utica Comets game. “I don’t think it was a step back, just a little bit of lingering stuff that was still there. We were cautious with it and just decided to take more time.”
Ferland dealt with headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light during his recovery.
If the Canucks can advance past the Wild and Ferland is able to return, he would have complete a quarantine before rejoining the team. Vancouver is currently tied with Minnesota at 1-1 in their best-of-5 series.
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