We’ll start with Zack Smith. Smith left the game last night due to injury, and we’ve been told today it’s an abdominal strain. He’ll miss at least the next two games because of it. That puts him into the new five day break each team gets, which hopefully gives him the time to come back at full strength on the 7th.
Smith’s absence has created a hole, and it’s Casey Bailey getting the call-up. He didn’t stand out significantly during his two game call-up for Hoffman’s suspension, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re on the fourth line. He is still third in points and first in goals in Bingo though, and obviously did enough to get the call this time around too. In today’s practice he was slotted back in the fourth line with Neil and Kelly, as he was last time.
Craig Anderson isn’t expected to rejoin the team until mid-January at the earliest, possibly longer. It’ll be longer before he’s put in to start too - Guy Boucher has said that once Andy is back with the team he’ll still need to get back into game shape before that happens.
There was no update on Andrew Hammond, so he’s still expected to be out until at least late January at the earliest. That means Matt O’Connor will be riding backup for the foreseeable future. There’s a back to back when the team comes back from holiday too, so he may pick up his second career NHL start in the next week and a half.
Last, an update on Clarke MacArthur. While he’s still not fully participating in practice yet, the hope is that he’ll be able to do that in mid-January with the possibility of making it into games by the end of January. That’s pretty close to the “best case” in the last update we got, but concussions and post-concussion syndrome don’t have the most predictable recovery periods and this has slipped back a few times so maybe take this with a grain of salt.