Jordan Leopold's broken hand has sidelined the Buffalo Sabres' defenseman for the rest of the regular season. According to Darcy Regier, Leopold will see a specialist on Monday to determine the severity of the injury and the course of treatment. The timetable is "weeks," which means Leopold may miss potential playoff games.
With Buffalo's latest victory, a 2-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils, coupled with the Carolina Hurricanes' loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sabres are now five points ahead of Carolina for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. Nevertheless, the loss of Leopold could loom large in the Sabres' quest to qualify for the playoffs.
Leopold is currently tied for fifth on the team in points with 35. His 13 goals from the blue line lead all defensemen. Not only will his offense be missed, but his veteran defensive presence-2nd on the team in blocked shots with 123-will be missed that much more. True he carries a team worst -11 plus/minus rating, but he logs a team most 23:19 of ice time per game.
Thankfully Steve Montador returned to the lineup this evening, though, he is certainly not the offensive weapon that Leopold is. Time will tell if the Sabres will be able to weather Leopold's loss, but an injury to such an integral part of the team could not have come a more inopportune time.