London, Ont. — The Val-d’Or Foreurs say they’re still uncertain whether star defenceman Guillaume Gelinas will be in the lineup on Tuesday night.
According to Foreurs assistant coach Marco Pietroniro, Gelinas suffered a contusion in the knee area and is questionable to play in tonight's game against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“He’s day-by-day or maybe hour-by-hour for us,” he told reporters after their morning skate on Tuesday morning. “We want him in the lineup but we’re not going to jeopardize his health for a hockey game. It’s not do or die for us right now. We’re certainly going to be putting his health first.”
Head coach Mario Durochers was not made available by the team.
Gelinas was injured on Monday night during Val-d’Or’s 6-3 loss to the Guelph Storm. He was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee hit from Guelph’s Chadd Bauman in the third period. After the collision, Gelinas hit the ice and eventually started crawling to the Foreurs bench in obvious pain as play continued in the opposite end of the ice.
“He left the game last night on crutches so he doesn’t put pressure on his leg,” said Pietroniro. “It’s a contusion right now and time will tell I guess. If we leave it up to him, he’ll want to play. He’s a 20-year-old and he wants to make sure he finishes all the games possible – but we’re not going to jeopardize his health.”
Bauman was assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and given a game misconduct. An NHL disciplinary committee is used by the league to review and mete out suspensions. Last year Saskatoon defenceman Dalton Thrower was suspended for the rest of the tournament for a hit to the head of Portland forward Taylor Leier.
Gelinas is one of the best defencemen in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s also the league’s top scoring blueliner in the regular season (23 goals and 69 assists in 67 games) and the playoffs (11 goals and 23 assists in 24 games).
“He’s a really great player,” said Foreurs captain Samuel Henley. “He’s the best D in the league, in the CHL and it would be a big loss for us, but we have other good (defencemen) and we can just hope that he is ready.”