Ottawa Senators prospect Stefan Noesen (Getty Images)
On the bright side, Stefan Noesen is not expected to miss more than a handful of games with the reported high ankle sprain that cost him a chance to play in his NHL organization's home rink Sunday.
As an Ottawa Senators first-rounder who stars for the Plymouth Whalers, the 19-year-old centre only makes one visit per season to Canada's capital. Senators brass, including club president Cyril Leeder, turned out Sunday to see two of their prized prospects, Noesen and the 67's Cody Ceci, go head-to-head. That was scuppered after Noesen tweaked an ankle Saturday in Belleville in a scrum with Brendan Gaunce.
"It's a tough thing but it's the nature of the beast," Noesen, who got tangled up in the said of ending up watching the game with Senators executives from a suite at Scotiabank Place. "I just kept pushing and it [his leg] came up as I got pushed down. It was just one of those awkward moments. Tough break. It was one of those things — taking precautionary steps, maybe a couple games, hopefully be back by Friday."
The Whalers definitely exhaled in relief that Noesen was not hurt more seriously. He has a team-high 22 points for a club which has had some dry periods offensively. Plymouth (11-7-3-1, .591) is currently leading the OHL's congested West Division, but it's a very slim margin between being in the No. 2 playoff seed and the sixth or seventh. Four Midwest clubs are playing .600 or better hockey.
"It's little ankle sprain, he should be all right," coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. "Hopefully next week. He could have played [Sunday] and we just wanted to make sure it wasn't re-aggravated."
Noesen should merit consideration for Team USA for next month's world junior championship in Ufa, Russia. The Plano, Texas, native had a strong summer evaluation camp. Vellucci, who will also likely see Rickard Rakell off to Team Sweden in a few weeks, notes Noesen has sharpened up his two-way game, which could be a boon to his Team USA chances.
"He struggled early on, actually, but defensively he has got a lot better. He sees the ice better than anyone I've had. He's a very smart hockey player."
Noesen noted he's just trying to block out the world junior talk.
"It's always in my mind but it's not in my hands. I play my game. If they like me they take me."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Plymouth Whalers
- Stefan Noesen
- Ottawa Senators